Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie

There are many things I like about Five Little Pigs, a Poirot mystery first published in 1943. I like the plot and the way it’s structured, the characterisation, the dialogue, and Agatha Christie’s fluent style of writing. In addition the solution is convincing and satisfying.

Caroline Crale was convicted of the murder of her husband, Amyas and died in prison. Sixteen years later, her daughter, a child of five at the time of the murder, asks Poirot to clear her mother’s name, convinced that she was innocent.

Poirot checks the police records, talks to the lawyers who conducted the trial and to the five eyewitnesses, persuading them to write down their versions of events. He finds that she had ample motive for the crime, at no time had she protested her innocence, although she contended that he had committed suicide, and all the eyewitnesses thought she was guilty.

Inevitably there are different versions of the events and conflicting views of Caroline’s character, all very clearly set out. So what did actually happen? Was Caroline innocent or guilty?

Poirot, in his usual methodical manner, goes through the sequence of events, and having gathered together all the people involved, using logic and psychology to detect the incongruous he makes his dénouement.

The description of Amyas Crale’s house, Alderbury appears to have been modelled on Agatha Christie’s own house, Greenway, complete with a Battery overlooking the river, just as at Greenway. The book was written in 1943, making it 16 years after 1926, the year of her disappearance before her divorce from her first husband, Archie Christie, so I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that Amyas Crale, a womaniser who was proposing to leave his wife for another woman has the same initials as Archie Christie!

I think the nursery rhyme theme of the title and the chapter headings is rather forced, as it doesn’t really throw any light on the mystery. It seems that Agatha Christie was a bit carried away with her €˜crimes of rhymes’, just as Poirot was obsessed with the jingle:

€˜A jingle ran through Poirot’s head. He repressed it. He must not always be thinking of nursery rhymes. It seemed an obsession with him lately. And yet the jingle persisted.

This little pig went to market, this little pig stayed at home…’ (page 33)

This is the first Agatha Christie book I’ve read this year and I’m pleased it was such a good one!

Five Little Pigs is my 8th TBR book I’ve read this year in the Mount TBR Challenge, and the TBR Triple Dog Dare, the 2nd for the My Kind of Mystery Challenge and the 2nd for the What’s in a Name 7 Challenge (in the category, a book with a number written in letters in the title). And last, but by no means least, it’s the 56th Agatha Christie book I’ve read in the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge.

10 thoughts on “Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie”

  1. Glad to see your blog is now fixed.

    I think I’ve seen this one on TV but have never read it. In fact I have a feeling that I’ve not read any Poirot books at all, ever. How odd!

    You beat me at reading books for multiple challenges. LOL. Well done!

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    1. I don’t think I saw this on TV, but that could be because they often change the stories so much that I don’t recognise them!

      I like it when one book fits so many challenges!! 🙂 Agatha Christie’s books would be great for the Vintage Mystery challenges – I haven’t joined because I haven’t got enough VM books to qualify!

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  2. Margaret – I”m very glad you enjoyed this one as much as you did. It’s always been one of my favourite Christies actually. I agree that she did a terrific job of developing the characters and I do like the past/present link. I think all round it’s a very effective story.

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  3. I’m yet to read any of Christie’s books, and whilst I’d start at the beginning, this is one to look forward to. It’s always interesting to see an author’s life subtly referenced. Well done on another book read for What’s In A Name!

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  4. Hopping over from the What’s In a Name Challenge. This is the second Agatha Christie novel in a row — I guess she liked numbers in her titles! I’ve seen the Poirot mysteries on television, but never read one, although I’ve read some other Christie novels. This sounds like a fun one — I like that the mystery is so old.

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