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العودة   شبكة روايتي الثقافية > مكتبات روايتي > English Library > Fiction > Crime - Suspense - Action > Agatha Christie

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قديم 21-02-11, 10:22 PM   #1

soul-of-life

نجم روايتي وعضوة في فريق الترجمة

 
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Cool Agatha Christie - Five Little Pigs





Agatha Christie


Five Little Pigs


or


Murder in Retrospect





Plot introduction


Sixteen years after Caroline Crale has been convicted of the murder of her husband, Amyas Crale, her daughter, Carla Lemarchant, approaches Poirot to investigate the case. Poirot embarks optimistically upon an unprecedented challenge, but soon fears that the case may be as cut and dried as it had first appeared.

Plot summary



Carla is engaged to be married but she is afraid that the fact that her mother killed her father will poison her husband's love for her, as he may fear that she has inherited a husband-killing tendency. Moreover, Carla remembers that her mother would never lie to her to hide an unpleasant truth and her mother told her she was innocent through a letter. That is enough for Carla but she wants Poirot to prove her mother's innocence to her husband to be.

Carla's father,
painter Amyas Crale, was murdered with a poison, coniine, which had been extracted from poison hemlock by Meredith Blake but subsequently apparently stolen from him by Carla's mother, Caroline Crale. Caroline confessed to having stolen the poison, claiming that she had intended to use it to commit suicide. This poison ended up, however, in a glass from which Amyas had drunk cold beer, after complaining that 'everything tastes foul today'. Both the glass and the bottle of cold beer had been brought to him by Caroline. Her motive was clear: Amyas’s young model, and latest mistress Elsa Greer, had revealed that he was planning to divorce Caroline and marry her instead. This was a new development; though Amyas had frequently had mistresses and affairs, he had never before shown any sign of wanting to leave Caroline.
Poirot labels the five alternative suspects “the five little pigs”: they comprise Phillip Blake ("went to the market"); Philip’s brother, Meredith Blake ("stayed at home"); Elsa Greer (now Lady Dittisham, "had roast beef"); Cecilia Williams, the governess ("had none"); and Angela Warren, Caroline’s younger half-sister ("went 'Wee! Wee! Wee!' all the way home"). As Poirot learns from speaking to them during the first half of the novel, none of the quintet has an obvious motive, and while their views of the original case differ in some respects there is no immediate reason to suppose that the verdict in the case was wrong.

The differences are subtle. Phillip Blake’s hostility to Caroline is overt enough to draw suspicion. Meredith Blake mistrusts him, and has a very much more sympathetic view of her. Elsa seems emotionally stunted, as though her original passion for Amyas has left her prematurely devoid of emotion, except for hatred for Caroline Crale. Cecilia, the governess, gives some insight into both Caroline and Angela, but claims to have definite reason for believing Caroline guilty. Finally, Angela believes her sister to be innocent, but a letter that Caroline wrote to her after the murder contains no protestation of innocence, and makes Poirot doubt Caroline's innocence for perhaps the first time.

In the second half of the novel, Poirot considers five accounts of the case that he has asked the suspects to write for him. These establish the succession of events on the day of the murder, and establish a small number of facts that are important to the solution of the puzzle. In the first place, there is a degree of circumstantial evidence incriminating Angela. Secondly, Cecilia has seen Caroline frantically wiping fingerprints off the bottle of beer as she waited by Amyas’s corpse. Thirdly, there has been a conversation between Caroline and Amyas, apparently about Amyas 'seeing to her packing' for Angela's return to school. Fourthly, Elsa overheard a heated argument between Caroline and Amyas in which he swore that he would divorce her and Caroline said bitterly 'you and your women'.

In the
denouement, Poirot reveals the main emotional undercurrents of the story. Philip Blake has loved Caroline but his rejection by her has turned this to hatred. Meredith Blake, wearied by his long affection for Caroline, has formed an attachment to Elsa Greer, that is also unreciprocated. These are mere red herrings, though. Putting together the case that would incriminate Angela (she had the opportunity to steal the poison on the morning of the crime, she had previously put salt in Amyas’s glass as a prank and she was seen fiddling with the bottle of beer before Caroline took it down to him; she was very angry with Amyas), he demonstrates that Caroline herself would have thought that Angela was guilty. Her letter to Angela did not speak of innocence, because Caroline believed that Angela must know for a fact that Caroline was innocent. This explains why, if Caroline was innocent, she made no move to defend herself in court. Moreover, many years ago Caroline had thrown a paperweight at Angela in a jealous rage, which had left a permanent disfiguring scar on Angela's face. Caroline had always felt deeply guilty about this and therefore felt that, by taking the blame for what she thought was Angela's crime, she could earn redemption.
Caroline’s actions, however, unwittingly proved her innocence. By wiping the fingerprints off the bottle, she showed that she believed that the poison had been placed in it, rather than in the glass. Moreover, seen to handle the bottle there was no reason to remove her own fingerprints; she can only have been removing those of a third party.

Angela, however, was not guilty. All the evidence incriminating Angela can be explained by the fact that she had stolen
valerian from Meredith’s laboratory that morning in preparation for playing another prank on Amyas. (Because she described the theft of the valerian in the future tense Poirot realised that she had never carried out this trick; Angela had completely forgotten that she had stolen the valerian on the morning of that fateful day).
The true murderer was Elsa. Far from being about to finish with Caroline, Amyas was entirely focused on completing his portrait of Elsa. Because Elsa was young she did not realize she was just another mistress, to be left as soon as she was painted. She took the promises 'to leave my wife' seriously. Amyas went along with her false belief, to the short term distress of his wife, so that Elsa wouldn't leave before the painting was finished. Thus the half overheard 'see to her packing' did not refer to Angela's packing (why should Amyas do her packing with a wife and governess to see to such 'woman's work'?), but to sending Elsa packing. Caroline, reassured that Amyas had no intention of leaving her, was distressed at such cruelty to Elsa. She remonstrated with Amyas on a second occasion. Though Elsa falsely reported the gist of this conversation, she did mention that Caroline had said to Amyas 'you and your women', showing Poirot that in fact Elsa was in the same category as all of Amyas's other, discarded mistresses. After a disillusioned and betrayed Elsa overheard this conversation, she recalled seeing Caroline help herself to the coniine the day before and, under the pretence of fetching a cardigan, stole some of that poison by drawing it off with a fountain pen filler. She poisoned Amyas in the first, warm beer, and was then pleased to find that Caroline implicated herself still more seriously by bringing him another. (When Caroline brought Amyas a beer and he exclaimed that 'everything tastes foul today,' this not only showed that he had already had a drink before the one Caroline brought him, but he had had one which had tasted foul as well.)

Amyas's last moments are spent working on his painting of Elsa, while she sits posing for it. In the beginning he does not realize he has been poisoned, but as he gradually weakens he apparently realizes it, because Meredith sees him give the painting a "malevolent glare". Poirot notes the unusual vitality in the face of the portrait and says, "It is a very remarkable picture. It is the picture of a murderess painted by her victim – it is the picture of a girl watching her lover die."

Poirot’s explanation solves the case to the satisfaction of Carla and, most importantly, her fiancé. But, as Elsa forces him to admit, it cannot be proven. Poirot states that though his chances of getting a conviction are slim, he does not intend to simply leave her to her rich, privileged life. Privately, however, she confides the full measure of her defeat. Caroline, having earned redemption, went uncomplainingly to prison, where she died soon after. Elsa has always felt that the husband and wife somehow escaped her, and her life has been empty since.

The last paragraph of the novel underlines this defeat. “The chauffeur held open the door of the car. Lady Dittisham got in and the chauffeur wrapped the fur rug around her knees.”




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soul-of-life غير متواجد حالياً   رد مع اقتباس
قديم 30-03-11, 05:07 PM   #2

Dalyia

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قديم 30-03-11, 10:01 PM   #3

soul-of-life

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قديم 13-02-12, 11:00 PM   #4

malmoul

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شـكــ وبارك الله فيك ـــرا لك ... لك مني أجمل تحية .

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قديم 15-06-13, 09:53 PM   #5

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قديم 25-07-17, 11:34 PM   #6

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قديم 25-10-17, 02:53 PM   #7

howra al3ion

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قديم 29-01-22, 09:54 AM   #8

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