->'''There are moments when I have felt: Why-Why-Why did I ever invent this detestable, bombastic, tiresome little creature? ...Eternally straightening things, eternally boasting, eternally twirling his moustaches and tilting his egg-shaped head... I point out that by a few strokes of the pen... I could destroy him utterly. He replies, grandiloquently: "Impossible to get rid of Poirot like that! He is much too clever."' ''
-->-- '''Creator/AgathaChristie'''

The star of thirty-three books and fifty-six short stories by Creator/AgathaChristie, Hercule Poirot is one of the most famous fictional detectives in the world. Rightly so, he would say, being also one of the most conceited. His [[LongRunners curiously elongated career]] lasted from 1916 to 1975, although he was at retirement age when it began. This would make him at least 110 when it ended.

Originally a Belgian police detective, he became a refugee when the WorldWarI broke out and ended up in the tiny English village of Styles St. Mary. Naturally, while he was there, someone was murdered. It was, Poirot later admitted, quite a common occurrence around him. Solving ''The Mysterious Affair at Styles'' revitalized him, however, and he embarked on a career as a private detective.

Fastidiously neat, we'd today diagnose him with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsessive–compulsive_disorder OCPD.]]

Notable associates of his include: Captain Arthur Hastings, war veteran, secretary and later Argentinian farmer; Ariadne Oliver, irritatingly popular mystery novelist; the Countess Vera Rossakoff, possibly an aristocratic Russian refugee, most definitely a talented conwoman; Miss Felicity Lemon, a most efficient secretary; and of course any number of solid, even stolid, English policemen who good-naturedly allow him to take over their crime scenes. After all, Mr Parrot's only a FunnyForeigner. What harm could it do?

Many different actors have played Poirot on screen. Peter Ustinov gained some fame for his many appearances as the character in the 1970s and 1980s, Albert Finney was nominated for an Oscar for playing him in 1974, but nowadays the definitive portrayal is believed to be David Suchet's ''Series/{{Poirot}}'' (though ironically, he first played Inspector Japp in the 1985 adaptation of ''LordEdgwareDies'' before taking the role of Poirot).

!!{{Trope Namer|s}} for:
* PoirotSpeak
* DeathInTheClouds: the 1935 novel of that title is the TropeNamer.


[[folder:Novels in this series]]
* ''Literature/TheMysteriousAffairAtStyles'' (1920)
* ''Literature/TheMurderOnTheLinks'' (1923)
* ''Literature/TheMurderOfRogerAckroyd'' (1926)
* ''The Big Four'' (1927)
* ''The Mystery of the Blue Train'' (1928)
* ''Literature/PerilAtEndHouse'' (1932)
* ''Literature/LordEdgwareDies'' (1933)
* ''Literature/MurderOnTheOrientExpress'' (1934)
* ''Three Act Tragedy'' (1935)
* ''Death in the Clouds'' (1935)
* ''Literature/TheABCMurders'' (1936)
* ''Murder in Mesopotamia'' (1936)
* ''Literature/CardsOnTheTable'' (1936)
* ''Dumb Witness'' (1937)
* ''Literature/DeathOnTheNile'' (1937)
* ''Appointment with Death'' (1938)
* ''Hercule Poirot's Christmas'' (1938)
* ''Literature/SadCypress'' (1940)
* ''One, Two, Buckle My Shoe'' (1940)
* ''Literature/EvilUnderTheSun'' (1941)
* ''Literature/FiveLittlePigs'' (1942)
* ''The Hollow'' (1946)
* ''Taken at the Flood'' (1948)
* ''Mrs. [=McGinty=]'s Dead'' (1952)
* ''After the Funeral'' (1953)
* ''Hickory Dickory Dock'' (1955)
* ''Dead Man's Folly'' (1956)
* ''Literature/CatAmongThePigeons'' (1959)
* ''The Clocks'' (1963)
* ''Third Girl'' (1966)
* ''Hallowe'en Party'' (1969)
* ''Elephants Can Remember'' (1972)
* ''{{Literature/Curtain}}'' (1975)

[[folder:Other examples]]
* AffectionateParody / {{Deconstruction}}: "The Veiled Lady" is a literary ShotForShotRemake of the SherlockHolmes story "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton", but with an extra TwistEnding.
* AlwaysSomeoneBetter: Subverted, since of course there is no one better than Hercule Poirot. Not even his brother Achille. [[spoiler:Who doesn't exist.]]
* BadassMoustache: Agatha Christie liked the 1974 adaptation of MurderOnTheOrientExpress, and had but a single complaint: Albert Finney's mustache wasn't magnificent enough!
* BerserkButton: Does not like it when people confuse him for French. He is Belgian, and will let you know it! (Though sometimes, when he wants to charm people, he lets it go.)
* BigScrewedUpFamily: The Boyntons in ''Appointment with Death'' and the Lees in ''Hercule Poirot's Christmas''.
* BookEnds: The novel ''Literature/{{Curtain}}'' is this ''for the whole Poirot cycle'' - the plot takes place in the same location as ''Literature/TheMysteriousAffairAtStyles'', the first book in the cycle.
* BrainFever: in ''Literature/TheMurderOnTheLinks''. Interestingly, in ''The Big Four'', a doctor dismisses brain fever as an invention of writers.
* BusmansHoliday: Multiple times, sometimes lampshaded.
* TheButlerDidIt: subverted.
* CatchPhrase: Poirot has "the little grey cells" and less often "order and method".
* CelibateHero: Poirot does not have a romantic relationship over the course of his literary career. He expresses a strong admiration for Countess Vera Rossakoff, but Christie does not pursue a relationship between them.
* ChristmasEpisode: The novel ''Hercule Poirot's Christmas'' and the short story "The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding".
* CluelessMystery: All too often, Christie keeps the key clue to the story hidden from the reader until the summation comes. Sometimes it's possible to solve it, but not very often.
* ClearTheirName: ''Mrs. [=McGinty=]'s Dead'' involves clearing the name of a man accused of murdering the titular victim before he's executed.
* TheCorrupter: [[spoiler:Stephen Norton in ''{{Literature/Curtain}}'']]
* CreatorBacklash: as the quote at the top of this article suggests, Agatha Christie much preferred her other character, Literature/MissMarple.
** In universe, [[AuthorAvatar Adriane Olivier]] delivers nearly the same quote when talking about her own character, a [[FunnyForeigner Finnish]] detective with a bizarre quirk (he grates his vegetables before eating them).
* DeadMansChest: "The Adventure of the Clapham Cook"
* DetectivePatsy: Poirot is far too clever to fall for this, but occasionally he despairs of Hastings.
* EagleEyeDetection
* FairPlayWhodunnit: The astute reader should be able to keep up. Part of the way at the very least.
* FunnyForeigner: a deliberate front, as pointed out in ''Three-Act Tragedy''.
* GambitRoulette / GambitPileup: ''The Big Four'', where most of the plans (on both sides) counted on their victims seeing through one layer of deception but not one another. Achille Poirot's role also counts.
* GenteelInterbellumSetting: Poirot leaves the time of his death up to ''le bon Dieu''.
* GreatDetective
* HalloweenEpisode: ''Hallowe'en Party''
* TheHeroDies: Though having penned this adventure, Christie set it aside for thirty years while she continued to turn them out.
* IdiotBall: Beautiful women tend to have this effect on Hastings (such as leaving one alone among critical evidence in ''Literature/TheMurderOnTheLinks''...)
* InsistentTerminology: Poirot is '''Belgian''', not '''French'''.
* InsufferableGenius: Sometimes comes off as this.
* ItsForABook: Poirot feels that if one must tell lies, they should be excellent lies.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Poirot often comes off as an arrogant, vain egotist, but he's got a good, kind heart underneath it all.
* TheLestrade: Inspector Japp. Giraud from ''Literature/TheMurderOnTheLinks'' is a parody of this type.
* LongRunners: Fifty-five years' worth of novels is not so bad.
* MadArtist: Michael Garfield, Mad Landscape Gardener, in ''Hallowe'en Party''.
* MaliciousSlander: Poirot's main motivation for solving crimes involves protecting the innocent from this.
* TheMatchmaker: It's astounding how many relationships and marriages were influenced by the fastidious hand of Monsieur Poirot.
* MistakenNationality: he is ''Belgian'', not French. It annoys him, although Hercule Poirot does not forget his dignity so far as to call it a BerserkButton.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Poirot frequently plays the dotty old man to disarm suspects, making them more vulnerable to his questioning. He also uses his accent to this purpose, as he explains in ''Three-Act Tragedy'':
-->''"It is true that I can speak the exact, the idiomatic English. But, my friend, to speak the broken English is an enormous asset. It leads people to despise you. They say - a foreigner - he can't even speak English properly. It is not my policy to terrify people - instead, I invite their gentle ridicule. Also I boast! An Englishman he says often, 'A fellow who thinks as much of himself as that cannot be worth much.' That is the English point of view. It is not at all true. And so, you see, I put people off their guard."''
* OutGambitted: Poirot is a master at foiling the murderer's EvilPlan.
* PluckyComicRelief: Ariadne Oliver, Christie's AuthorAvatar, who tends to lighten the atmosphere of any scene she's in.
* PoirotSpeak: ''Naturellement''. Although it's usually justified as being part of an ObfuscatingStupidity FunnyForeigner act; Poirot actually speaks very good English, but people tend to let their guard down around someone who doesn't even seem to speak the language clearly.
* PrettyLittleHeadShots: Someone is killed by this method in Poirot's last case, ''{{Literature/Curtain}}''. [[spoiler: It turns out to be a major ChekhovsGun]]
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: ''"Madame! WHO DO '''YOU''' THINK KILLED YOUR HUSBAND?"'', from ''Literature/LordEdgwareDies''.
* SarcasticDevotee: Captain Hastings, at times. Hastings relates a story where (in a shout out to SherlockHolmes) Poirot solved a mystery involving a box of chocolates perfectly, except for having overlooked a vital clue that would have told him very clearly who the murderer was, and thus accused someone who was completely innocent (but who was quickly exonerated once the truth was known). After that affair, Poirot tells Hastings that if he ever acts too conceited, he should use the words "chocolate box" to bring him down a peg. Poirot isn't amused when Hastings uses the code words mere seconds later.
* SerialKillingsSpecificTarget: [[spoiler:''Three Act Tragedy'']] and [[spoiler:''Literature/TheABCMurders'']]
* SocietyMarchesOn: In "The Capture Of Cerberus", what draws Poirot's attention to the villain is that [[spoiler: she wears unflattering clothes, in particular, a skirt with ''pockets''. To Poirot, this is unimaginable, because surely no woman would ever care so little about her own appearance as to wear pockets.]] Nowadays, it'd be hard to find anyone who'd agree.
* StarbucksSkinScale: In "The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding", there is a young man from an unnamed Eastern country who has a "coffee-coloured face".
* StealthInsult: In ''Death in the Clouds'' Poirot muses bitterly that his travel sickness means that when travelling "he has no little grey cells, he is reduced to a normal human being of rather below average intelligence" and then immediately segues into asking after [[InspectorLestrade Giraud]], his rival from ''Murder on the Links''.
* SuperOCD: Some books hinted at this, but of course, that's what makes him a good detective.
** Poirot's insistence on symmetry and neatness, to the point of rearranging ornaments on a stranger's masterpiece, in one case directly leads him to the solution.
** Poirot's SuperOCD helps solve the mystery of a book he wasn't even in (''Towards Zero''), when his friend Superintendent Battle looks at something asymmetric and thinks about how much that would have bugged Poirot.
* ThirdPersonPerson: Often crosses with a pat-my-own back ButHeSoundsHandsome.
* ThrillerOnTheExpress: ''The Mystery of the Blue Train''.
* TrademarkFavouriteFood: It's not particularly emphasised, but Poirot likes his hot chocolate and his omelettes. Also parodied in ''Death in the Clouds'', where a writer of detective fiction mentions that his own detective creation is always eating bananas, both because he did it once and the fans liked it, and also because that's something the author himself does.
* TwistEnding: As Creator/AgathaChristie is widely considered one of the masters of the Twist Ending, this is to be expected; several of the Poirot novels are even claimed to have invented some notable twist endings.
* UnderTheMistletoe: Poirot, of all people, gets caught under mistletoe in "The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding", on account of being too busy exercising his little grey cells to notice where he's standing. He doesn't seem to mind the result.
* VillainousBreakdown: The murderers in ''Sad Cypress'' and ''Mrs. [=McGinty=]'s Dead'' both experience rather dramatic ones.
* TheWatson: Captain Hastings in the early novels, a variety of one-shot characters in the later books.
* WeWouldHaveToldYouBut: He pulls this constantly. Hastings finds this as intensely irritating as the readers do.
* WhatAnIdiot: Several stories have the twist ending that the apparent victim or bystander who first called Poirot in actually committed the crime, and wanted Poirot there so the police would assume if he couldn't solve it, no-one could. This despite the fact that Poirot's cases get published in-universe so they should know that ''this never works''.
* WhereItAllBegan: The final novel, ''Curtain'', not only returns to the location of the first, ''The Mysterious Affair at Styles'', but for good measure reunites Poirot and Hastings as well.
* WorthyOpponent: Any villain (identity usually unknown at this point in the story) whom Poirot describes approvingly as 'a man of method' after studying his crime, much to Hastings' annoyance.
* YouJustToldMe:
-->'''Poirot''' (confronting the killer): We found your finger prints on the typewriter.
-->'''Murderer''': You lie! I wore... (trails off, realizing what he just said)
-->'''Poirot''': Ah, you wore gloves?
* YouLookFamiliar: Prior to playing the famous detective himself, David Suchet appeared as Inspector Japp opposite Peter Ustinov's Poirot in a 1985 TV adaptation of ''Literature/LordEdgwareDies''.
* YouWatchTooMuchX: in "The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding":
-->Poirot surveyed her gravely for some minutes.\\
'You see too many sensational films, I think, Annie,' he said at last, 'or perhaps it is the television that affects you?'
** Similarly, after Hastings outlines an elaborate theory of the crime in ''Literature/TheMurderOnTheLinks'' and asks what Poirot thinks, Poirot says, "I think you should write for the cinema."
** In several stories, characters complain that investigating a real life case is never as neat as a detective story.