Elephants Can Remember Review

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Hercule Poirot is determined to solve an old husband and wife double murder that is still an open verdict! Hercule Poirot stood on the cliff-top. Here, many years earlier, there had been a tragic accident. This was followed by the grisly discovery of two more bodies — a husband and wife — shot dead. But who had killed whom? Was it a suicide pact? A crime of passion? Or cold-blooded murder? Poirot delves back into the past and discovers that ‘old sin can leave long shadows’.

I had high hopes for this book, because if you have read my previous review of her novel The Murder On The Links, you should know how I loved it. So, I’m really disappointed to tell you that I didn’t enjoy this book so much. I didn’t like it at all. It’s not that it’s a bad book, but it’s not what you expect from Agatha Christie. It was a mediocre and predictable read, at least for me.

Mrs Bourtan-Cox confronts Mrs Ariadne Oliver, a famous detective fiction novelist, at a literary event and asks her the mysterious question concerning her goddaughter about her past. ‘Did her mother kill her father or was it the father who killed the mother?’ The question is in retrospect of two deaths that occurred fifteen years ago of General and Lady Ravenscroft.

This book is devided in two parts, the first one is called Elephants and it’s a close up of the suicide and focuses on Mrs Oliver, who tries to collect information. The second one is called Long Shadows and it’s the investigation and eventually the truth about the crime. Elephants play an important role on this story and the phrase “Elephants can remember” is used many times, only to point out that people can remember things that happened a long time ago, just like elephants can. Not all people of course, but they can usually remember something. Memory and looking back at the past is the centre theme of this mystery and the book ends once more with the mention of elephants: Elephants can remember but we are human beings and mercifully human beings can forget.

Initials thoughts:
1. To me, Poirot seemed a little different from what I was used to. I did notice that he didn’t mention any french word, not even mon ami, which is a commonly phase used by him. I don’t know, but he didn’t seem witty and self – confident through the whole investigation, when he always appeared so. Not to add, that we rarely read about him, you see, Ariadne was the one who was eager to solve the case.
2. This book can be read in one sitting, it’s small but not fast-paced. More than half of the novel was based on people’s memories and what they could remember. Same facts were being mentioned over and over again, which tired me a little.
3. For me, the truth behind this mystery was predictable, I found it out immediately when I read about that Mrs Ravencroft had a sibling. You only need to use your imagination to solve this case and not the facts that were being discovered.

10 thoughts on “Elephants Can Remember Review

  1. Killian says:

    This is actually one of the few Hercule Poirot books I haven’t read yet. I think the fact that Poirot has changed from the Murder On The Links isn’t too surprising, seeing as this book is one of his last ones and Murder On The Links is his second, but I understand what you said about him not being his witty self, because that’s one of the aspects of his books that I enjoy.

    In any case this book doesn’t sound too amazing but I’ll definitely read it at some point just so I can say that I’ve finished all the Hercule Poirot books (I think I have eight to go).

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookishuniverse says:

      Yeah, you should read it at some point but don’t get too excited. Personally, I was a little disappointed.
      Wow. You have read almost all of his cases and that’s amazing. I’ve decided to read all the Poirot books as well, but I’m getting there…
      Can you suggest me some of his best cases? I’d love to start from those.


      • Killian says:

        Sorry I took so long to reply, I’ve been on a school trip for the past week.

        Some of my favourite Poirot books are Death On The Nile, Murder On The Orient Express, Death In The Clouds, Cards On The Table, Cat Among The Pigeons, Murder On The Links and The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd. However, everyone seems to have their own personal favourites and the books are generally pretty consistent so I wouldn’t take my list as Gospel.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A. P. Bullard says:

    Hrm. That is definitely a shame. It sounds like Christie rushed through this one and didn’t keep tabs on character development.

    This was a great review, though!


  3. Stephanie Jane says:

    I listened to an audio cast recording of Elephants Can Remember a few years ago. I think it was from Audible. I quite liked the presentation, but agree with you that the mystery wasn’t very satisfying to solve. And for such a short book, an awful lot os padding and waffle!


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