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The Clocks Mass Market Paperback – November, 1991

4.2 out of 5 stars 121 customer reviews
Book 34 of 43 in the Hercule Poirot Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Deliberately fantastic.' Times Literary Supplement 'Superlative Christie... extrememly ingenious.' The Bookman 'A sure-fire attention-gripper naturally.' Saturday Review 'Here is the grand-manner detective story in all its glory.' New York Times --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From the Back Cover

Sheila Webb expected to find a respectable blind lady waiting for her at 19 Wilbraham Crescent—not the body of a middle-aged man sprawled across the living room floor. But when old Miss Pebmarsh denies sending for her in the first place, or of owning all the clocks that surround the body, it’s clear that they are going to need a very good detective.

“This crime is so complicated that it must be quite simple,” declares Hercule Poirot. But there’s a murderer on the loose, and time is ticking away.…

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPaperbacks (November 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061002798
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061002793
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #549,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on July 5, 2004
Format: Bonded Leather
The first time I read this novel, I had to reread it again. Why? So many questions still linger at the end of the story even though the pages has ended. I wondered and reread and after the third reading, I finally got it all.
The Clocks is a story that has two main plots, and the one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. But they were connected in a way when a young typist finds a dead body in a livingroom of a blind woman. From there it's red herring all the way. But bits of real clues emerge when Mr Lamb (a fake name) talks to a girl with a broken leg.
Poirot only comes in now and then but became more interested when another murder occurs, while Lamb becomes Poirot's legs, ears and eyes. Oh yes, there are clues aplenty, but a broken high heel has never been this important as a clue.
Christie delivers this story with delightful take that neither too wordy nor too lengthy. This is another often neglected classic Christie, so get it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Clocks" starts with possibly one of the strangest setups in the Agatha Christie canon: a young woman is called to an address to do typing for the blind resident that has specially requested her, only to find a body in a room full of clocks - all of which, oddly enough, are set at the wrong hour. Even odder, her client Mrs Pebmarsh denies having ever made the call requesting for a stenographer in the first place. The man has no identification about him at all except for a card with the name of an insurance company on it that doesn't exist.

The investigation involves the close-knit community of Wilbraham Crescent, all of whom have their own idiosyncrasies and secrets to be uncovered, but the police work grounds to a halt when no one comes forward to identity the body. Meanwhile, intelligence agent Colin Lamb has arrived in the vicinity on the tail of an international spy, only to get caught up in the corresponding mystery after Sheila Webb rushed from the house in hysterics after finding the body.

Style-wise, the plot flits a tad uncomfortably between Inspector Hardcastle's third-person narrative and Agent Colin Lamb's first-person account and "The Clocks" is ultimately a rather odd little mystery, mingling several ideas strewn throughout Christie's other books, including international espionage (as you'd expect from Tommy and Tuppence), neighborhood psychology (as in Miss Marple) and a rather light helping of Poirot.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
We learn that Hercule Poirot has taken up the study of classic mysteries and his knowledge of these leads him to solve the mystery in this particular case.
Colin Lamb, a young marine biologist and Intelligence agent, is paying a visit to Wilbraham Crescent when a young girl comes running out of one of the homes. She is screaming that she has found a dead man inside. Indeed, a corpse is there surrounded by a room filled with clocks set to 4:13, although it is only 3:13. Colin takes the problem to his father's old friend, Hercule Poirot, who at once pronounces it a "simple" case. Two more murders, an unidentifiable body, a mysterious secretarial school, and the search for a clever spy are the clues that Poirot's little grey cells must sift through before he reveals the answer to this "simple" case.
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Format: Paperback
I am convinced that in "The Clocks" Agatha Christie is writing for the fun of it and inviting her readers to come along and enjoy the fun. The key is in the scenes where Hercule Poirot is discussing detective fiction and points out traits and weaknesses of various detective story writers (some real, some imaginary, and Ariadne Oliver who represents Agatha Christie herself). So many of the factors mentioned (bizarre circumstances, overreliance on coincidence, etc) are exactly the characteristics of "The Clocks".

"The Clocks" does not rate among the greatest of Miss Christie's books. However, it is a satisfying story and lots of fun.
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One will have to forgive Agatha Christie a rather weak solution (and it is a corker of a terrible ending, full of an over-supply of red herrings, hitherto unknown facts, and abundant coincidences) in her Hercule Poirot mystery The Clocks as the set-up is so delicious. A girl is called for specifically from an agency to be a typist for a blind woman and to let herself into the house as the woman would not be there when the typist arrived. The stenographer arrives to find a dead man, a multitude of clocks, and the return of said blind woman who never called for a typist and has no idea how a dead man got into her house bringing four clocks all set for about an hour ahead of time. Hercule Poirot himself only makes three brief appearences in the story making it different from the usual Poirot novel, possibly a disappointment for those fans of the Belgian detective. The mystery and suspense are sustained throughout and if the reader is willing to suspend a great of deal of disbelief the journey can be fun, if not entirely rewarding.
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