Cards On The Table is a detective novel written by Agatha Christie published in England in 1936, and published in the USA the following year. The novel "stars" one of Christie's two beloved sleuths, Hercule Poirot, renowned Belgian detective. Not only is Poirot a familiar character to Christie's readers but the novel also has the characters Colonel Race, Superintendent Battle and crime novelist Ariadne Oliver recurring as well.
One of the more fascinating elements of the novel is Ariadne Oliver, authoress of thirty-two crime novels, who describes how hard it is to craft a believable crime story. Although Oliver and Christie are both prolific writers - Cards On The Table is Christie's twentieth book - this seems to be where the similarity ends as Ms Oliver is bumbling, scatterbrained and disorganized, the opposite of the incisive and over-organized Christie.
Although the book was largely favorably received, many critics felt it was not Christie's best work and in characteristically left the reader with several loose ends in the plot. Most reviewers appreciated the humor in the novel, particularly pertaining to Poirot, who is particularly endearing when anxiously comparing his mustache to other people's and awarding himself the palm for having the best one.
In 1981 the novel was adapted for the theater but without Poirot, replacing his detective prowess with Superintendent Battle's.