Title: The Clocks
Author: Agatha Christie
Series: Hercule Poirot, Book 34
Paperback: 257 pages
Source: Chicago Public Library
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
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.…
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
I haven’t read many Poirot mysteries by Agatha Christie, but I’m sure going to start after reading this one! The Clocks starts off with Sheila Webb going to a blind lady’s house to type for her, but instead, she finds a murdered man in the salon! What’s even stranger is that clocks not belonging to the blind woman were left in the old woman’s house. This was a complicated mystery, having lots of twists and turns and didn’t end at all how I expected it to end.
While this is a Poirot mystery, Poirot himself doesn’t show up until the latter half of the book; instead, the story focuses on Colin Lamb, a man who is working as a spy for the British government, with Poirot making a couple of appearances to add witticisms and lead them in the right direction. Lamb kind of falls for Sheila Webb as he takes it upon himself to help with this case, which adds some interesting drama with him trying to do his job as a spy, take care of the case while still remaining objective, and reconcile what he feels for her. However, I enjoyed all the aspects of this story; Poirot’s recent research into detective novels, and how that ties into the typing agency’s connection; espionage intrigue with Lamb trying to tie up a previous case of his that involves a spy ring; and Sheila Webb’s backstory and history. This is a rich, developed story that, while a bit unbelievable, kept me turning the pages.
The characters, for the most part, are wonderfully developed. I thought the boss at the typing agency could have used a bit more complexity to her, but most of the main players just sucked me right into their stories and I found myself caring a lot about what happened to them. I thought it was smart for Christie to give the neighbors of the blind woman various quirks, like being a crazy cat lady, or being super into gardening; that made them a lot of fun to read about.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Definitely pick this up if you’re a mystery fan, though understand that it’s not quite a Poirot story.