8. Five Little Pigs - an Hercule Poirot mystery
by Agatha Christie
Kindle book, 6
Carla Lemarchant comes to Hercule Poirot asking that he investigate a sixteen year old murder case. When she was five years old, her mother was arrested for murdering her father. She has lived with relatives in Montreal since, and when she turned twenty-one was given a letter her mother wrote to her from jail just before she died, saying that she did not do it. It is neither here nor there to Carla. She believes her, and that's that. But she is engaged, and has fears that if she and her fiancé have an argument, he might look at her askance, wondering if she might have inherited her mother's propensity for killing her husband. He denies this, and says he doesn't care, but she still wants Poirot to look into the events of all those years ago, and she hopes he will find her mother innocent.
This may be the most unique of all Agatha's books, for it takes place almost entirely in the memories of the five people who were involved. The title comes from the old nursery rhyme.
Philip Blake is the little pig who 'went to market.' He left his family estate and became a successful stockbroker. His brother Meredith is the little pig who stayed home. He is a quiet man who dabbles in herbal concoctions. Lady Dittisham, Elsa Greer as she was then, is the little pig who had roast beef, having married rich husbands and lived in luxury. Cecelia Williams is the little pig who had none, a governess who watches her pennies in her retirement years. And the last little pig, the one who cried 'wee, wee, wee all the way home' is Angela Warren with the disfigured face.
As usual, I didn't guess the culprit. I was sure a couple of times that I knew what the solution was, but I didn't. Five Little Pigs is one of the more complex, psychological mysteries, and in my opinion, one of Agatha Christie's very best.
I found two other reviews of this book from Kerrie, and Jo.
My copy of Agatha Christie A Reader's Companion
offered the original covers - the one on the left shows the American title, and the right is the English version.
From Agatha Christie At Home,
I learned that Alderbury, Carla's childhood home and the scene of the crime was based on Agatha's beloved Greenway. The name of Carla's artist father was based on a real person from Agatha's past, from her days of amateur theatricals.
Also performing was one Amyas Boston, whose first name Agatha pillaged for the strong-willed artist and murder victim in Five Little Pigs. In her autobiography, she recalls a romantic moonlight picnic with him at Anstey's Cove, where they sat holding hands and not speaking.How I love thinking of this woman as a young girl much like any other of her day.
And I was thrilled to see this picture of the battery, where Carla's father breathed his last.
... known as the Battery garden... It was situated at about four minutes' walk from the house.