Title: Five Little Pigs
Author: Agatha Christie
Age Rating: Adult
Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
This little piggy went to market. This little piggy stayed at home. This little piggy had roast beef. This little piggy had none. And this little piggy cried ‘Wee-Wee-Wee-Wee’ all the way home. The amusing and entertaining context in which Christie describes the suspects of this story. But this is a Murder-Mystery like no other. In this book, the crime happened sixteen years ago, and that is why it is such an interesting read. The story is based upon the death of Amyas Crale, an artist, who was believed to have been poisoned by his jealous wife, having expressed his feelings towards another woman. The fact that Caroline Crale murdered her husband was undisputed until her daughter, who was only six at the time of the murder, receives a letter. The letter had been arranged to be given to young Carla when she reached the age of twenty-one. Shocked by it’s contents, and desperate to know the truth, Carla alerted Poirot at once and he agreed to reassess the crime. Because, you see, in her letter to her daughter, Caroline Crale demanded innocence. Sadly, Caroline had passed away in Prison before her daughter had time to receive this letter.
But nevertheless, Poirot sets out the solve the murder with interest and curiosity. The suspects or the witnesses (this time, not referring to them as little piggies!) are as follows: Philip Blake, Amyas’s best friend, who was staying at the Crale’s house at the time. Meredith Blake, the next door neighbour. Miss Greer, who was the girl Amyas had fallen in love with (twenty at the time). Miss Williams, the governess and Angela Warren, Caroline Crale’s sister and Miss Williams’ pupil.
It was fascinating how Poirot questioned these people and uncovered the truth. He started off by going to see the Solicitor of Caroline Crale and the Judge’s relations/ etc who were involved in the outcome of the crime. Here he noted the structure of the murder. Basicly, Carloline Crale had been outraged when her husband decided he was going to marry Elsa Greer, who he was currently painting a picture of. As well as being furious, Mrs Crale had also been deeply upset but refused to show any emotion whatsoever (also in Court, after the death of her husband). And so life had carried on as usual until the household were invited next door to Meredith Blake’s house. Here he shows them his chemistry set including a poison called coniine, half of which was missing the next morning. It was also the poison which killed Amyas. Caroline admitted to stealing it and also to the crime and so it was an undisputed outcome.
Despite being so sure about the murderer, one of these jury people give the contacts of the witnesses to Poirot and so he visits them all and gets quite a lot of perspectives on the matter. Some are confident that Caroline was to blame, but others are sympathetic – mostly the women excluding Elsa Greer, of course.
Throughout challenging the witnesses, Poirot discovers many other perplexing unsolved aspects of the crime – the subject which the Crales were discussing on the morning of the crime: apparently considering if Angela (13) should go to boarding school. “I’ll send her packing,” Mr Crale demanded. Also a quote overheard by Elsa Greer: “I’ll kill you some day,” Caroline Crale demanded.
Anyway, the story is engaging from start the finish. The amusing discussions, the fascinating discoveries and the interesting recollections. And of course Poirot’s ingenious knack of reading between the lines and discovering the dreadful truths. I think the fact that the murder took place in the past makes the outcomes even more satisfactory. The accused was proved innocent and the guilty was brought to justice. It was a guessing game from page 1 until the end. (I did actually get it right, though).
My favourite chapter had to be ‘Poirot asks five questions’. This chapter made me feel even more curious and entertained.
Definitely a five star book. I highly recommend you pick it up for an excellent read and to find out who actually murdered Amyas Crale…
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Next week, I’ll be reviewing ‘The Adventurous Four’ by Enid Blyton. Underestimated in my point of view. Enid should be recognized more for this wonderful adventure-novel.