The Big Four is a story about a gang of four super-villains who want to dominate the world. At the beginning of the novel, Poirot is the only one who is after the Big Four with officials thinking Poirot is following a mirage. So Captain Hastings, whose steadfast loyalty has been proven before, joins Poirot to help him stop this menace. By solving a series of crimes, Poirot unmasks the identity of the first three members, a Chinese mastermind, a French scientist, and an American billionaire. But Number Four, who is ‘the destroyer,’ remains elusive, and Poirot has to put his gray cells to good use to catch that conniving criminal.
The Big Four was a let down for me, but I think it is to be expected, for The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is not an easy act to follow. And apparently, I’m not alone in this. Even Christie had never been satisfied by it, referring to it as “that rotten book” later on. The Big Four which was not intended to be a novel at first is the outcome of Agatha Christie needing to make a quick buck. Christie had put some of her short stories together to create The Big Four and sadly it shows the book was written in a haste. I also felt the story lacked originality because I saw stark similarities to Sherlock Holmes stories (The Final Problem specifically comes to mind).
Adaptations that differ from the original story usually annoy me, but it was not the case for me with The Big Four TV episode. I thought the book was messy (and perhaps the producers of Agatha Christie’s Poirot had the same view because they left it till the last season!), so I was glad to see the TV episode straying from the book. TV episode retained all the main characters, but the story line and the ending were very different to the book, and even though it was not perfect, I found it enjoyable.
This is going to be a first! The TV adaptation wins this time. 😀