Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie

Cards_on_the_Table_How do you solve a crime where there are no witnesses, no evidence and almost no skeletons tumbling out of the closet? Between the innocent and murderer stands the famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. He solves the case but I have to say this one is a bit farfetched. This book is a psychological thriller in which the only way to know the murderer is by letting him accept that he did the crime.

Mr. Shaitana, the party host, is the flamboyant, glamorous and gracious host around. He is respected and feared by all. An invitation to his party cannot be overlooked and hence, destiny makes Mr. Roberts, Mrs. Lorrimer, Ms Anne Meredith &  Mr. John Despard meet on that ill-fated night. Mr. Shaitana is bumped off and they become the main suspects as these four are playing a game of bridge when he is murdered. Mr. Shaitana seems to know a little too much about everyone and when he gives a subtle hint at the start of the party, one of the four suspects has made up his mind to murder him.

Fascinating portrayal of each and every suspect – this makes sure that accusation can be uniformly leveled against all of them or none of them. This makes the case appealing and keeps the reader occupied right through.

Mr. Roberts is a doctor by profession and the easiest to point the finger at – It is the way Mr. Shaitana has been murdered that makes him a scapegoat. Incidentally, he is involved in couple of murders of his own patients but to accuse him of those murders is out of the question.

2nd suspect – Mrs. Lorrimer, aged 63, is a widow from last 20 years is no nonsense temperament women and keeps her responses limited and terse. She has some secrets of her own which are long buried in the past – any hint of them to police and she would spending her old age in a cell worst than old age home.

Anne Meredith is an innocent looking 25 year old girl who everyone likes and adores. She is the least suspected of the murder. However, in all crime novels we have the least suspected person emerging as a killer in the end. Anne has been working as a maid servant in various houses before she ended up on invitation of Mr. Shaitana to his place. Anne is an introvert, keeping-to-herself kind of girl and her connection in the death of one of her masters makes her a suspect in this murder.

Finally, the 4th suspect, John Despard is a major in the army and he is always equipped with a backup plan of his own. Meticulous and expeditious – he hires a lawyer sensing trouble. He advises Anne to hire a lawyer too. Supposedly, everyone has a soft corner for Anne – is it because she is very appealing or is she above suspicion is for the readers to decide. No clues 🙂 dropped here. Killer is still at large!!

Crime novel “Cards on the table” is adjudicated as one of the best narratives of Agatha Christie but I am not convinced. All 4 persons mentioned above are accused of murder at some point or other and you go like ” oh!…he/she is the murderer” and then the murderer changes again and again. Book is very skillfully written as is the case with all Agatha Christie novels. However, the when and hows of the murder are still unanswered – they can be put across as sketchy at best.

I enjoy reading the book and hoping that everyone who reads gives it thumbs up. I give it a 3.75/5

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4 thoughts on “Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie

    1. Hi…thanks for your comment. I would certainly think it is good book because of its inconclusive evidence. But, when you try to rank Agatha Christie (read God of crime fiction !) books, it becomes almost impossible 🙂

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