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The Clocks: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) Paperback – June 14, 2011
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“Hercule Poirot is one of those rare fictional characters who came to shape my thinking as both a lawyer and a crime novelist.” (James Grippando, New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Swyteck Novels)
“Here is the grand-manner detective story in all its glory.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Christie addicts will cherish this book. Total absorption is guaranteed.” (Sunday Times (London))
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.…
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For all that, it's still an enjoyable read and a clever story with some fine characters, a great deal of sly humor, and a satisfactory romance. A pretty young typist is sent to a London house and finds a body. She runs screaming from the house into the arms of young scientist-turned-spy Colin Lamb. Lamb is intrigued both by the young woman and the absurdity of a dead man being found in the tidy home of an elderly, blind school teacher. And so he takes the strange story to his friend Hercule Poirot, hoping that having a puzzle to chew on will cheer up the pitiful old man.
Before the tale is told, there are two more bodies (Christie never skimped on bodies!) and it's old Poirot who unravels the tangled story. It's not Christie's best and some of the coincidences are tough to swallow. The introduction of the nosy little girl and her evidence is charming, but not very believable. But if you want reality, watch "Cops." If you want a puzzle with lots of clues and red herrings, this is worth a read.
As indicated, despite the relative lack of complexity in plotting, and off-stage presence of Poirot, I enjoyed every part of the book.The Inspector is no fool nor brute, The young man personable, ah, the young woman is a mystery, what will we learn about her. Poirot is off in his London apartment, upset by the renovation of the building in which he has an apartment, happy to activate his little grey cells on the mystery brought him by his friend, the young agent.
I enjoyed the book more than most of the (often quite good) current mysteries I read. Dame Agatha is a friend of long standing and I am entertained by whatever she cared to share with us, her readers.
Note: at some point during the book Poirot is making interesting reviews of past crime writers: as often Sherlock is taking his fair amount of criticisms - quite funny and for avid Christie's reader, she usually makes snappy comments about - supposedly - shortcomings of Conan Doyle's Sherlock novels (of course these comments are not to be taken too serioulsy - but since I also read the complete Sherlock Holmes novel and I have to say though that Christie - or Poirot through whom Christie is generally speaking her mind - sometimes has a point).
The main story is being told alternately by the lead detective on the police force and a friend of his that works for, what appears to be the British spy service. This isn't a bad thing as the story is still engagingly written, but it could have excluded M. Poirot and it still would have been a good mystery.