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Read Elephants Can Remember (1984)

Elephants Can Remember (1984)

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3.16 of 5 Votes: 7
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0425067823 (ISBN13: 9780425067826)

Elephants Can Remember (1984) - Plot & Excerpts

This is one of Dame Agatha's weakest mysteries. At least I think so now (I don't have a record of how I rated it the first time I read it). And I say that because Christie is one of the few mystery writers who can fool me almost every time. It doesn't matter how many times I've read her stories--there's usually a plot twist that get me. Or I may have a vague feeling who did it....but I'm never sure. Not this time. I had it all figured out long before the ending on the cliff. And it's been at least 30 years since I read this one--so we can't say it's stuck in my memory. I also find it weak because everything is so vague--all the interviews with those involved in the mystery are just vague. Each one remembers things a little bit differently and there seem to be no real facts. Nothing one can really get hold's the scoop: Hercule Poirot's friend Ariadne Oliver, a mystery writer, attends a literary luncheon. It's the first she's ever attended because she always dreads the standard questions: "Where do you get your plot ideas from?" "Are your characters base on real people?" and she doesn't know how to respond to the gushing "Oh, I just loved your last book! How do you do it?" But she is pleasantly surprised at how much she enjoys herself....until a Mrs. Burton-Cox corners her and insists that Ariadne (who must know all about murders and whatnot since she writes about) find out whether her (Ariadne's) god-daughter's mother shot her father--and then herself--or if her father shot her mother--and then himself. It's ultra-important, you know, because Mrs. Burton-Cox's son Desmond is thinking about marrying the god-daughter, Celia Ravenscroft, and we want to know what's what with these murderous tendencies. And if Mrs. Oliver doesn't know the answer, then she should ask the god-daughter.Which Ariadne says she absolutely will not do. And she won't try to figure anything out. No way, no how. But then she has a good think about it and decides to visit Poirot and tell him all about it. Needless to say, she ignores his advice to leave it all alone, and soon she and Poirot are digging up all sorts of ancient history (well...13 years ago, anyway). She goes off to find the "elephants" who will remember--because there are always people who remember things. And Poirot makes contact with the officials who were involved at the time. Everyone they talk to seems to believe that it was a sort of suicide pact. But the more they investigate the more hints the find that there may be more to it. There are stories of children who died or were hurt, identical twins, madness or illness in the family, and a dog whose attitude changed. It all leads Poirot to one conclusion--and he reveals all on the very cliff where Celia's parents were found.I generally like the stories with Mrs. Oliver--but this one, at least this time, has not impressed me as much as, say, Hallowe'en Party or Dead Man's Folly. It seemed obvious and not nearly as mystifying as Dame Agatha's usual efforts.First posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting. Thanks.

"Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety."It's very easy - almost too-easy, in fact - to be overly-critical about the last novels written by Agatha Christie, or condescending, or even outright dismissive - reviews of these novels at the time of publication often expressed all three. The last Christie novel that was an unqualified triumph was ENDLESS NIGHT (1967), a novel of psychological suspense almost completely unlike anything she'd written up until then, and a startling departure for her at that point. But after that point, returning to characters such as Tommy and Tuppence Beresford and Hercule Poirot, there was a marked decline in her books. A stand-alone thriller, 1970's PASSENGER TO FRANKFURT, was a big success because it was cleverly marketed as Christie's 80th book, published to coincide with her 80th birthday, but that took some fancy figuring, and the spy thriller was never her most comfortable genre. Ironically, I distance 1971's NEMESIS - the final Miss Marple novel Christie wrote - from this batch; I seem to retain an affection for it that I lack for the others. Sadly, it's doubtful that such dismal efforts as BY THE PRICKING OF MY THUMBS, HALLOWEEN PARTY, ELEPHANTS CAN REMEMBER and Christie's final novel, the dreadful POSTERN OF FATE, would even have remained in print more than a few years were they not by Christie.Re-reading this 1972 Christie for the first time since then - the last Poirot novel (and penultimate novel) she actually wrote - one is aware, of course, of all the shortcomings of latter-day Christie. This is a 'murder in retrospect' novel, in which the past is hashed and rehashed by a number of people who don't seem to remember whether the event in question occurred ten, twelve or fifteen years ago; the phrase "a long time ago" appears many times throughout this novel - seems like every character, in fact, gets to say it at least once. Strong copy-editing might have reduced the number of repetitions and inaccuracies, but this begs the question of whether Collins would have dared suggest any kind of help or rewrites of their most profitable author (they could, and did, request them of Ngaio Marsh in her later years).

What do You think about Elephants Can Remember (1984)?

Hercule Poirot is one of my favorite characters who wins bonus points because he is Belgian and I am one fourth Belgian! This particular story also includes another personal favorite, author Ariadne Oliver who collaborates with Hercule every so often. The only problem I have with this mystery is the fact that it hinges on promises made to dying people. If it's a positive promise, I have no problem with that but if it's something that goes against what you believe, I definitely have a problem with that. Also I don't believe in agreeing to such a thing just because the dying is trying to guilt you with their imminent death. I was stunned by reader John Moffatt. His portrayal of Hercule Poirot's voice was a dead ringer for David Suchet's who in my opinion, IS Hercule Poirot!
—Nathalie S

Se eu tivesse alguma dúvida que este livro é um dos meus preferidos da autora, essa releitura teria solucionado sem sombras de dúvidas: esse livro é simplesmente espetacular. A escrita fácil combinada com o mistério e claro, a personalidade maravilhosa de Poirot são, pra mim, a receita do sucesso. É difícil não se apegar aos personagens da Agatha Christie, porque eles são simplesmente cativantes: além de Poirot, adoro a sra. Oliver e me identifico bastante com ela. Mais um enredo que a autora além de nos presentear com um mistério policial aparentemente insolúvel nos cativa com a natureza dos personagens. Adorei!

- Review contains spoilers-A very enjoyable read I must say however it was somewhat predictable. A while ago I had read 'A Murder is Announced' also by Agatha Christie, which also involved twins who turned out to be replacing each other in a way. Therefore when 'Elephants can remember' had twins involved in it, I had already pictured the whole story in my mind halfway through the book, and that does kill the pleasure of reading a whodunnit does it not? However it was a pleasure to read this book and therefore I give it a well deserved four stars.

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