The Big Four
Агата Кристи

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The Big Four
Agatha Christie

A ruthless international cartel seeks world domination…Framed in the doorway of Poirot’s bedroom stood an uninvited guest, coated from head to foot in dust. The man’s gaunt face stared for a moment, then he swayed and fell.Who was he? Was he suffering from shock or just exhaustion? Above all, what was the significance of the figure 4, scribbled over and over again on a sheet of paper? Poirot finds himself plunged into a world of international intrigue, risking his life to uncover the truth about ‘Number Four’.

The Big Four

Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk)

First published in Great Britain by

Collins 1927

Agatha Christie® Poirot® The Big Four™

Copyright © 1927 Agatha Christie Limited. All rights reserved.

www.agathachristie.com (http://www.agathachristie.com)

Cover design © HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 2016

Title lettering by Ghost Design

Cover layout design © HarperColl‌insPublishers Ltd 2016. Title lettering by Ghost Design. Cover photograph © Andrew Proudlove/Arcangel Images

Agatha Christie asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

A catalogue copy of this book is available from the British Library.

This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins.

Source ISBN: 9780008164904

Ebook Edition © September 2016 ISBN: 9780007422166

Version: 2017-04-12

Contents

Cover (#u58584883-2b5b-5025-85b4-85b435742410)

Title Page (#u3ba95798-58fe-5108-9170-5a128d58517f)

Copyright (#u10c28f7d-1d07-576e-8e02-c26d7f87dc5d)

CHAPTER 1: The Unexpected Guest (#u21ce6b3e-3e81-560a-b993-6fa6113aa2bf)

CHAPTER 2: The Man From the Asylum (#ud5b0a587-726f-5c2f-9cad-80b73ad19a06)

CHAPTER 3: We Hear More About LI Chang Yen (#u4bb81086-ee30-5b45-b513-ec09c32b15d3)

CHAPTER 4: The Importance of a Leg of Mutton (#u434ff843-9687-51f8-b176-db05a942e607)

CHAPTER 5: Disappearance of a Scientist (#ud2582476-098d-5e7c-80c8-0a6fb29d73ba)

CHAPTER 6: The Woman on the Stairs (#u2ba196a8-f711-51db-930d-3569921e7c2b)

CHAPTER 7: The Radium Thieves (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER 8: In the House of the Enemy (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER 9: The Yellow Jasmine Mystery (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER 10: We Investigate at Croftlands (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER 11: The Chess Problem (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER 12: The Baited Trap (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER 13: The Mouse Walks in (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER 14: The Peroxide Blonde (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER 15: The Terrible Catastrophe (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER 16: The Dying Chinaman (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER 17: Number Four Wins a Trick (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER 18: In the Felsenlabyrinth (#litres_trial_promo)

Also by Agatha Christie (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER 1 (#ud95f1b2c-81fa-527c-9c50-348340aebb34)

The Unexpected Guest (#ud95f1b2c-81fa-527c-9c50-348340aebb34)

I have met people who enjoy a channel crossing; men who can sit calmly in their deckchairs and, on arrival, wait until the boat is moored, then gather their belongings together without fuss and disembark. Personally, I can never manage this. From the moment I get on board I feel that the time is too short to settle down to anything. I move my suitcases from one spot to another, and if I go down to the saloon for a meal, I bolt my food with an uneasy feeling that the boat may arrive unexpectedly whilst I am below. Perhaps all this is merely a legacy from one’s short leaves in the war, when it seemed a matter of such importance to secure a place near the gangway, and to be amongst the first to disembark lest one should waste precious minutes of one’s three or five days’ leave.

On this particular July morning, as I stood by the rail and watched the white cliffs of Dover drawing nearer, I marvelled at the passengers who could sit calmly in their chairs and never even raise their eyes for the first sight of their native land. Yet perhaps their case was different from mine. Doubtless many of them had only crossed to Paris for the weekend, whereas I had spent the last year and a half on a ranch in the Argentine. I had prospered there, and my wife and I had both enjoyed the free and easy life of the South American continent, nevertheless it was with a lump in my throat that I watched the familiar shore draw nearer and nearer.
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