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Publisher's Summary

In appearance Hercule Poirot hardly resembled an ancient Greek hero. Yet, reasoned the detective, like Hercules, he had been responsible for ridding society of some of its most unpleasant monsters.
So, in the period leading up to his retirement, Poirot makes up his mind to accept just 12 more cases: his self-imposed "Labors". Each would go down in the annals of crime as a heroic feat of deduction.
©1947 Agatha Christie Limited (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By JGrace on 07-01-13

The Little Grey Cells Prepare for Reatirement

The Labors of Hercules – A. Christie
Audio performance by Hugh Fraser
4 stars

Hercule Poirot is about to retire. Leaving his detecting career behind, he plans to take his little grey cells to the country where he will cultivate gourmet vegetable marrows. Before he departs, he determines to undertake 12 more cases; cases of special and particular interest, which will mirror the labors of the classical Hercules. Twelve cases that also give Agatha Christie an opportunity to write 12 wonderful short stories for the little detective.

I thought this was an exceptionally good collection. There was a bit more comedy than in many of her stories. Christie seemed to be poking fun at her little Belgian detective, gently and with affection. Hastings does not appear in any of the stories, but this is the first time I’ve read anything of the resourceful butler, George. (Mildly reminiscent of Peter Whimsy’s Bunter.) Miss Lemon remains ever resourceful and Inspector Japp appears briefly in a story that includesPoirot’s version of ‘THE woman’. I especially liked the spinster, Miss Carnady, who appears in two of the stories. She reminded me a bit of Sayers’ Miss Climpson. (I always wonder about the parallels between these great dames of mystery writing.)

Some of the stories worked better than others. A few were dated in bias and attitude. Hugh Fraser’s performance made all of them enjoyable.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Kathi on 10-08-17


Nobody is a bigger Agatha Christie fan than I am—have been reading them all for over 50 years. I think, in general, her short stories are never as good as the full length books, where she has more time to flesh out characters and motivations. But I found this one less interesting than most. Couldn’t even make myself finish it. I feel disloyal even saying this, as her work is mostly so good. But not this one.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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