Cat Among The Pigeons.

ianthepoetianthepoet Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom
I finished Cat Among the Pigeons, I found it to be an intriguing read, and didn't know who the killer was until it was revealed. I found it to be an acceptable and believable story from start to finish. I hate SPOILERS so I will not reveal anything here about who was the killer.


  • tacobelltacobell Virginia, United States
    I enjoyed Cat Among the Pigeons as well. One of my favorites
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I like it but it is on the high side of average for me, not Great but better than The Hollow, Hickory Dickory Dock, Five Little Pigs and One Two Buckle My Shoe
  • I didn't like it the first time I read it. But oddly enough when I re-read it I warmed towards it.  Ive always felt it should have been a Miss Marple though. There's an odd piece about Poirot telling the difference between women's knees and girls knees. Has he been studying them?! It seems odd. I think it's more believable that Miss Marple would know more about girls than Poirot.
  • youngmrquinyoungmrquin Buenos Aires, Argentina
    edited April 2014
    I really enjoyed it as well. I don't know if I could go as far as to say it's one of my favourites, but it's close. Maybe because it was my first AC story, it will always have a special place in my heart.
    Yes, it has some oddities that could be very well thought as weaknesses, such as Poirot's lat appearence. I still think it is well made, like Miss Marple's in The Moving Finger, but maybe Julia could have brought him a little earlier.
    @MissQuin, even more than Miss Marple, I could definitely see T&T here. Tuppence could be interacting with the girls, doing that type of comment about their knees and Tommy the classical research. Besides, CATP has the feeling of an AC thriller, with all the international intrigue setting and the exotic sceneries. All qualities of that could very well fit with the couple.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Tuppence could be a friend of one of the Teachers asked to come to Meadowbanks, I agree with you youngmrquin, it has the feeling of an Agatha Christie Thriller
  • In agreement. The  point I found hard to accept is Poirot's knowledge of schoolgirls. He doesn't have daughter. He probably had sisters, but they would have been young  during a time when women wore long ankle length dresses.  I can hardly picture them discussing their knees with him anyway. No, Poirot, the fastidious bachelor, should not know these things! 

    @youngmrquin I agree with you, it could have been a non series book, or it could have been a Tommy and Tuppence. I like your idea of it having been a Tommy and Tuppence very much. I usually find the T&T plots have flaws or weaknesses, but the CATP plot is actually very strong with only the above mentioned point that really jars.

    But I still like the idea of an such an important international intrigue being cleared up by a English spinster from an English village! Miss Marple could befriend the girls easily and they would probably reveal secrets to her that they didn't realise were so important. 

    But it's been written as a Poirot, so I will have to accept that. It's not the only example of Poirot's rather unexpected knowledge of ladies wear. It occurs in Murder On The Orient Express, where he knows what old fashioned hat boxes look like inside, plus that ladies modern hat boxes look different to old ones! Then in One Two Buckle My Shoe and Cards On The Table. Intriguing! 

  • youngmrquinyoungmrquin Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Yes, it's a strange comment, but not much more than those that Mr. S. does in the Quin's stories. Whether the latter was gay or not, I see that both of them have in common somes tastes and visual preferences, as much as knowledge, that are supposed to be female. An interesting aspect of AC stories is that this detective, one of them being her strongest one, weren't stereotypes of the cassical macho.
  • edited April 2014
    I love the ambiguity of some of Agatha Christie's characters. Mr S is one of those who we can only speculate about.

    Male characters in AC stories  often have alot of knowledge of women's clothes and being interested in clothes myself, I fully accept that and like that fact. Sometimes it works well, I love  Mr Satterswaithe's character.  I think he must have had long discussions with beauticians, to know so much about hair dyes and spa treatments. In some ways Mr S could be see as a modern metrosexual. On the other hand perhaps it was more than that. But that is a different, Mr Quin related topic.

     In The Moving Finger, Jerry the wounded solider laments a girl's lack of knowledge about clothes.  Then you have characters like Mr Shaitana who are a just bit creepy in their observations about women. 

    As for Poirot- he's so interested in people, so therefore you can accept he takes an interest in clothes. After all, it's part of his order and method psychologically- everything neat, clean and tidy.  But as for girls and ladies knees... I still find it hard to accept he know that much. He'd have to look at them closely. What circumstances would he have to get to do so? I guess he might just have been checking if they were symmetrical enough...

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Poirot has Hastings as a Companion who is married, he also has Japp who is a Friend and who is married and Spence who has a sister,  can see them discussing with Poirot the women in their lives and don't forget there is Ariadne who he talks to and so his 2nd-hand knowledge of women does not seem odd to me.
  • edited April 2014
    I really don't buy that. Discuss their wives yes, but gentlemanly Captain Hastings taking about his wife Dulcie's knees?! Ditto all other Poirot companions. I can't imagine Hastings even knows what the inside of women's hat box looked like. Nor would he discuss it if he did. In Peril At End House he's outraged at Poirot looking through Nick's items.  Most men  talked women but not about women's clothing. They were living in a very different age. Major Dispard in Cards, expresses his indignation that Mr Shaitana wears scent, as though that's really not the English male thing!

     As for women's bodies, I can't imagine Poirot discuss those with any detectives or the sweet but slightly prudish Hastings. 

    Anyway, it would be more than a discussion. Poirot could only tell women's knees from a girls if he'd seen them at first hand. I can't imagine Mrs Oliver showing Poirot pictures of her knees. 

    The subject of knees is now getting rather dull! We can only speculate how Poirot knows what he does. 

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I agree, I would just say tat when Poirot goes out I am assuming you aren't suggesting he goes round with his eyes shut, also Ariadne is so bizarre who can say what photo's she shows to Pirot
  • I still don't think Poirot's the type to go around staring at school girls knees.

    Mrs Oliver is a wonderful creation of Agatha Christie's and but I don't think she's bizarre, just herself.  She would have been very good in CATP
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I can see her in it, giving prizes for prize day but thenSPOILER ALERTS!!! she might have this uncomfortable feeling and phone up Poirot which is what happened in Dead Man's Folly or one of the Girls or Tutors would go to her and she would send them to Poirot which is what happened in 3rd Girl or there would be a Murder during the Prize day and she would phone Poirot which is what sought of happened in Halloween Party
  • I first read it while I was alone in Japan. I really was the cat among the pigs.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I started it this morning, for some strange reason I feel I am in 1980s Malmesbury which is where I Was from1979-1984 it is odd, I didn't go to a Girls school and The Head and Deputy were Men
  • Christopher_WrenChristopher_Wren Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
    It's a fun read, but IMO it's impossible to solve. You can by a coincidence of course guess the murderer, but there's no hint towards the character in the books.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I had forgotten that but you are quite right, I will tell you when I have finished it if there is any indication as to who the Murder is, I am having fun reading it although I have only got to the end of Chapter 5, I think this book like many others is like a lovely dinner party, The Guests Are The Characters, The Food is the Plot and that good time feeling is the Wine,
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I am on the Penultimate Chapter, If you look carefully there are indications as to the Identity of The Murderer but you could easily miss them, I have enjoyed the book a lot and will always be on my list to keep on reading, I don't think It lost anything when Poirot appeared in the book but I don't think it gained anything either, It was nice to have him but The Sleuth Could have been other People (Kelsey and Adam or Adam and Mrs Sutcliffe), It is one of those books that has put a he Grin on my face the extent of which I haven't had since 4.50 From Paddington I don't think but might I might be wrong 
  • edited April 2014
    Poirot always looks closely at girls - not the way Hastings does; to be swayed by their beauty, but in a more scientific way. He looks at a girl and appreciates what she's done, or gets upset if she hasn't made full use of what she could have. It's not so surprising: he uses many dyes and creams himself, so obviously the world of beauty interests him. Just glancing through any magazine in a barbar shop would have taught him plenty. Secondly, being Belgium is considered almost like being French. It's "allowed" and even "expected" of him. Lastly, he educates himself on anything that he needs to know for his detective work.
    In this book, I liked Christie's appreciation of the skill and character needed to be a good teacher. As she shows, knowing French isn't enough to make one a successful French teacher. Additionally, there's the question of how to create a successful school, what is the right balance between the famous and rich versus the worthwhile yet poor. Lastly, I like her showing the power that jewels have even on the best of people, and the fact that she considers that a turning point in one's life, showing one's reached adulthood (i.e. only children would remain oblivious to the pull of wealth). 
    For me, Poirot truly remains secondary in this novel - there are so many other wonderful characters, and such a satisfactory plot. Poirot is merely the way to reach the truth, and it's fun when he enters the story, because we know him and like him.
  • vazinvazin Shkoder, Albania
    me too  i read this novel not a long time ago, and i've seen the episode based on this novels too, although there are some changes in events and personalities, but i liked in the adaptation that poirot apaired in the first of the story, not like in the novel, i didnt guess about the real killer, specially after all that series of killing in the novel, and i've been so surprise when poirot annouce that the murderer was that nice secretary
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I liked Poirot's involvement and his late arrival worked better than in The Clocks or when Miss Marple was in The Moving Finger bu if he hadn't been in it it wouldn't have harmed the bookand his arrival didn't make the book more Excellent than it was already.
  • it was surprising to know who the killer turned out to be. i guessed almost evryone but not her ....

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

    When I read it the first time the Murderer was the Last person on my mind

  • I just finished this book tonight. I didn't read it, as such--I listened to the audiobook read by Hugh Fraser.
    It's six discs long, and I've been listening to it for days, and could have gladly gone on listening for weeks. Fraser's voice is lovely to listen to, and I was so caught up in the characters, especially Miss Bulstrode, "Adam Goodman," and Eileen Ridge, that I wasn't concerned at all about coming to the end of the mystery--I just wanted to hear more about the goings on at Meadowbank.
  • I like this book very much. And it was quite a surprise to find out who the killer was. I also like the tv adaptation, it's very well done.
  • TuppenceBeresfordTuppenceBeresford Hertford, United Kingdom

    Is it even true about girls' knees? I'm 23 though I look older due to ill health but I think my knees look the same as they did 8 years ago.

    I found this book a bit slow to start with - I wish Poirot had come into it sooner though I agree he wouldn't have fit into the story as well as Miss Marple or Tommy & Tuppence (I love that idea!). I read somewhere that Agatha Christie considered making it a Miss Marple book but decided to make it Poirot as she hadn't written about him for a while. But I don't know if that's true. I've read a lot of books about Agatha Christie with inaccurate information in.

  • edited September 2016
    When it comes to all girl schools (and all boy ones), are the students' only option is to stay at the school for a term or can they come home every day like regular schooling?
  • GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States
    @ChristieFanForLife, it depends on the school.  Students whose families live some distance away naturally stay at school.  Many boarding schools have "day students" who live at home.  Some boarding schools may insist that students live there– different places have different policies.

    @TuppenceBeresford, I am unsure about the knees.  When I was in sixth grade and first read Cat, I had the same question you did and tried to compare the knees of my female teachers and students.  It got very awkward very fast, and I stopped trying to see how accurate Christie's statement about knees was.
  • I found this book a bit slow to start with - I wish Poirot had come into it sooner though I agree he wouldn't have fit into the story as well as Miss Marple or Tommy & Tuppence (I love that idea!). I read somewhere that Agatha Christie considered making it a Miss Marple book but decided to make it Poirot as she hadn't written about him for a while. But I don't know if that's true. I've read a lot of books about Agatha Christie with inaccurate information in.

    Here's one entry from Agatha Christie's notebooks concerning Cat Among the Pigeons. It's true that she did think about Miss Marple's inclusion in the book: 

    Girl's school? Miss Bulstrode (Principal)
    Mrs. Upjohn - or parent - rather like Mrs. Summerhayes in Mrs. McGinty, fluffy, vague but surprisingly shrewd
    Miss Marple? Great niece at the school?
    Poirot? Mrs. U sits opposite him in a train? 
    Someone shot or stalked at school sports?
    Princess Maynasita there or an actress as pupil or an actress as games mistress

    In one sense Miss Marple would fit in the book but then again she probably wouldn't due to the international spy thriller aspect which would fit more with Poirot (since he appeared in a spy thriller, "The Big Four" for example) and even more with Tommy & Tuppence. The balance of the domestic murder mystery with a dash of espionage and adventure would have suited Tommy & Tuppence to a tee. Agatha Christie could've had Tuppence have a niece at the school (don't know if Tuppence had a sister in the series and I don't recall ever reading she had one) since she was playing along with this niece idea with Miss Marple. But it looks like she never considered making it a T&T mystery. 

  • I just finished this one. Found the characters and setting quite compelling, and for a Poirot book with the least amount of Poirot in it ever, this novel did manage to pull me right in. I enjoyed the contrast between the two schoolgirl tennis chums, and I almost guessed one or two elements of the plot this time!  
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