Agatha Christie: Cards On the Table

From the very first sentence in the Foreward to this book, I felt drawn into this story. Christie seemed to be offering us, “her faithful readers”, a simple invitation: step in as one of the sleuths and solve this case.

“There are only four [suspects] and any one of them, given the right circumstances, might have committed the crime . . . each of whom has, [allegedly, already] committed murder and is capable of committing further murders. They are four widely divergent types, the motive that drives each one of them to crime is peculiar to that person, and each one would employ a different method. . . . When all is said and done it is the mind of the murderer that is of supreme interest.”

In Cards On the Table, an evil but rich man, Mr. Shaitana, teases Hercule Poirot with the information that he can put on display, people he knows have committed murder and gotten away with it. He invites Poirot to a dinner party in which these people will be present.

At Mr. Shaitana’s dinner party there are four “sleuths”, and four other people that Mr. Shaitana implies are murderers. After dinner the four sleuths play bridge in one room and the other four people play bridge in another room. Mr. Shaitana sits in an easy chair in the room with the four alleged killers. And, at the end of the evening – you guessed it – Mr. Shaitana has been murdered.ย The four sleuths set about to gather information and to analyze it all. No detail was spared, including the bridge scores.

It truly was a captivating story with lots of twists and turns. It was definitely a head game – a game of taking apart the lives of each of the four suspects. I liked each of the four sleuths but loved the character of Ariadne Oliver. It was easy to see that Agatha Christie was having fun with this character and was also pointing fun at herself as a writer. I look forward to meeting Ms. Oliver again in future stories.

My only disappointment in this story was at the end. I thought it could have ended about a chapter earlier. The details in the last chapter could have been slipped into the previous chapter or left out completely. It made the story drag at the end. That disappointment didn’t spoil my overall appreciation for Cards On the Table. This was the author’s twenty-fifth novel. I could feel the author’s confidence in her storytelling abilities. This is Agatha Christie at the top of her game.

As most of you know, I’ve been working my way through all of Agatha Christie’s novels in publication order. If you’re interested in the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge, visit Mysteries In Paradise.

Check your local library or your local bookstore for copies of this book. Cards on the Table is also available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)

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11 Responses to Agatha Christie: Cards On the Table

  1. I remain amazed and impressed that you have stuck with this challenge!

  2. Kay says:

    This is one of my very favorite Agatha Christie books. Something about it just speaks to me. And I don’t even play bridge! I’ve read it several times and also seen the movie adaptation, which was good enough (with changes to the storyline though).

  3. I need to try one of her Poirot books and this sounds like a good one to start with.

  4. Kaye,the sister, Cogdill says:

    Hey sweet sister…..I finished the book last week and so enjoyed this gem! I agree with you that it was an intriguing way to start one of her novels and then continually bait us through out the book. I played sleuth along with Hercule and almost had it won…oh well….thanks for keeping me challenged! Bunches of love…kaye the sister

  5. Staci says:

    I was just looking at my AG titles the other day. I’m changing up my reading game next year and will definitely be reading them. This one sounds great to me!!

  6. I so admire that you are reading her books in order of publication! That takes dedication, but I can see what I’m missing in my hit-and-miss method.

  7. Barbara says:

    I saw this one on PBS Masterpiece Mysteries. (Dave loves the intro with the lady in the red dress on the roof, dramatically moaning with hand on head. Then he goes to sleep. ๐Ÿ˜€ ) Anyway it was one of the best of the series.

  8. Erin says:

    My husband is a huge Agatha Christie fan and has made it his mission to collect every book she’s written, mostly from used bookstores. (He also loves Gardner’s Perry Mason books.) I read some of Christie’s plays back in high school, but I’d love to try one of her novels now. Luckily, my apartment already contains a sizable collection!

  9. Somehow I missed that you’re reading all of Christie’s books (in order of publication, no less!) … aren’t there over 100 of them?! Wow, Margot ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Mystica says:

    Agatha Christie is for me a real comfort read. love them

  11. Pingback: Review: Cards on the Table, 1936 (Hercule Poirot #13) by Agatha Christie | A Crime is Afoot

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