Book Review: Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie

Cards on the Table 2Title: Cards on the Table
Author: Agatha Christie
Date: 2016 (1936)
Genre: Crime & Mystery / Classics
Summary: A flamboyant party host is murdered in full view of a roomful of bridge players… Mr Shaitana was famous as a flamboyant party host. Nevertheless, he was a man of whom everybody was a little afraid. So, when he boasted to Poirot that he considered murder an art form, the detective had some reservations about accepting a party invitation to view Shaitana’s private collection. Indeed, what began as an absorbing evening of bridge was to turn into a more dangerous game altogether…

Cards on the Table is a Poirot novel with a twist. It features four sleuths (Poirot, Colonel Race, Ariadne Oliver, and Superintendent Battle) and four criminals who have been brought together by Mr Shaitana, an intriguing but sinister gentleman. When Mr Shaitana is murdered at his own dinner party, the four sleuths must attempt to work out which former criminal has committed a new crime.

I found the plot very intriguing because it has multiple layers to it. The sleuths are attempting to solve multiple crimes in order to solve the crime that they witnessed and it’s a rather intricate process. I thought that the start of this book was rather slow, even after the crime had been committed, and but the action started to pick up after the ‘tea break’ chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed the second half of the book and I think Cards on the Table is one of Christie’s more unique novels. The ending was great too!

Christie’s writing was excellent. The hints are very subtle and there’s a good dose of humour in the book too. It’s an oddly pleasant read for a murder mystery. I also enjoyed how the point of view shifted between chapters because it showcased how each sleuth approached the crime and suspects. It’s a clever piece of writing. As always, I loved the characters. Christie’s women are always brilliant, in my opinion, because they’re varied and lively and the women in this novel are well-written and well-developed. They feel like real women rather than caricatures and stereotypes and I always find myself drawn to their stories. Ariadne, a mystery novelist, was an absolute delight to read even if she contributed very little to the investigation itself.

Overall, I enjoyed this book! It was unique and clever and I would recommend it.

The StoryGraph | UK*

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