Hi dear readers, this is The Bibulous Bibliobibuli and today I am going to review Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie. And, you know what; this is one of my favorite Christie novels. In fact, I love this book so much that I can’t even wait to tell you all about this. So without further ado, let’s get started.
Cards on the Table was first published in the UK on 2 November 1936. It is a Hercule Poirot mystery. However, he is not the only sleuth in this novel. There are three more. Yes, you heard me right. There are four sleuths. The other three include Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard, Colonel Race of Secret Service and Mrs. Ariadne Oliver, the famed writer of detective stories. If you are a regular Christie reader, you must have encountered these characters in other Christie books too.
The story revolves around a Mr. Shaitana, a man having a high opinion of him. Mr. Shaitana invites Poirot, Battle, Race, and Oliver to a dinner party along with four other people. These people are Dr. Roberts (a well-known doctor), Mrs. Lorrimer (a middle-aged lady), Major Despard (an army man) and Anne Meredith (a pretty young woman). Mr. Shaitana believed that these four people are murderers who have gotten away with their crimes. So, we have four sleuths and four murderers under the same roof. After the dinner, the four suspected murderers settle down at a table to play bridge. The group of sleuths settles down in another room to play bridge. Mr. Shaitana settles into an armchair near a fireplace in the same room where suspected murderers were playing bridge. After playing the game, Hercule Poirot and Colonel Race decide to leave. They go to Mr. Shaitana to bid good night. However, to their shock, they find him dead. Somebody had murdered him.
I don’t know whether you know about bridge or not. Well! The bridge is a card game and is played by four players. The game involves various deals. In the course of any deal, one of the four players become “the dummy’’ and this person cannot take any further part in the ongoing deal. During the evening of the game, each of the four suspected murderers becomes dummies one by one. In other words, all four of them had a chance to leave the table at one or the other time in the game. Thus, there are four people, any one of whom could have committed the murder of Mr. Shaitana. And, now, it is up to the group of four sleuths to solve this murder mystery.
This book is quite different than the other Christie mysteries. It has a unique plot and provides ample chance to readers to play as a detective. In the book, four sleuths try to solve the murder mystery in their own way. Poirot uses his grey cells. Mrs. Ariadne Oliver uses her intuition. Battle uses his conventional skills of investigation and Colonel Race uses his observational skill. It was really fun reading these four trying to solve the case. I really enjoyed the humour injected into the plot. While it is a Poirot mystery, Mrs. Oliver steals the show at a number of times.
Readers will definitely get intrigued by the story-line. A must read for Christie lovers.