Agatha Christie Wiki

The Baited Trap is a short story by Agatha Christie which was first published in issue 1621 of The Sketch on 20 February 1924. It was the eighth of a series of connected stories to be published in the magazine under the series title "The Man who was Number Four: Further Adventures of M. Poirot". In January 1927, the stories in the series were woven together with minor changes and some additional connecting paragraphs and then published in novel form as The Big Four. Later the same year, in October 1927, the story was published in The Blue Book Magazine.

The short story formed the basis for chapters 12 and 13 of The Big Four ("The Baited Trap" and "The Mouse Walks In").

In the Sketch series, this story is preceded by The Chess Problem and followed by The Adventure of the Peroxide Blonde.


Hastings gets a message that his wife in Argentina has been kidnapped by the Big Four. He is forced to act as bait in a trap for Hercule Poirot.

Plot summary

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

Hastings is given a message that his wife has been kidnapped in Argentina by the big Four, as well as another note saying that if he wants to see his wife again he must follow a Chinese servant. He leaves four books on the table as a message for Poirot, and follows him to an abandoned house in Chinatown and he is taken to an Arabian- like room. One of the Chinese servants tries to make him write a letter in order to get Poirot and threaten him with death. He is eventually forced to write it to Poirot and he is soon seen across the street. As Hastings is forced to beckon him into the house, a man from Scotland Yard throws a drugged smoke bomb into the house, knocking everyone unconscious and Hastings is saved. Hastings is not only greeted by Poirot, but by the fact that his wife has been safe for over three months in a place Poirot set up.


Research notes

Comparison between the original story and the version in the novel

  • The text of the chapters in the novel is the same as that of the original short story.


Film, TV, or theatrical versions

Agatha Christie's Poirot

Publication history

  • 1924: The Sketch, Issue 1621 (London), 20 February 1924[1]
  • 1927: The Big Four, William Collins and Sons (London), 27 January 1927, Hardcover, 282 pp
  • 1927: The Big Four, Dodd Mead and Company (New York), 1927, Hardcover, 276 pp
  • 1927: The Blue Book Magazine, Vol. 45 No. 6 (Chicago), October 1927