Book Review: Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie (1955)

Synopsis: Hercule Poirot's secretary, Miss Lemon, is normally robot-like with her perfection. So, when she uncharacteristically makes three mistakes in a letter she has typed, he knows something is amiss. When she admits she is distracted by some strange happenings at a hostel run by her sister, Mrs. Hubbard, the detective agrees to hear the story and give consultation. However, when Mrs. Hubbard explains the series of strange events, ranging from stolen items of various values to a rucksack that had been cut to pieces, he suspects there might be something more sinister going on. Unfortunately for him, his suspicions are confirmed when one of the students she is housing is murdered.

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Review: The Hamish Macbeth book I had intended on checking out at the library was already gone so, since I wasn't really in the mood to pick a book at random this time, I ended up going with another detective series I've been reading frequently. I finished this book last night and, after doing so, my overall opinion was a bit mixed.

I'll start out by saying I did like the mystery. The book ultimately ends up having three separate murders throughout and Poirot's best clue is the list of stolen/destroyed items Mrs. Hubbard gave him in the beginning. That list included a very random selection of things, including lipstick, a diamond ring, a stethoscope and lightbulbs and Poirot had to determine which items related to his crime and in what order.

My biggest problem with this book is, as has been the case with many other later Christie novels, Poirot almost seemed like a secondary character at times. The best way I could describe it is the book had a bit of a "spin-off" feel to it. By that, I mean, Poirot was brought in for name recognition but a large part of the book focused on a different detective, Inspector Sharpe. This reminded me of how TV shows will sometimes do that in an effort to promote a new spin-off series.

I also kind of wish the book would have focused on just one (or maybe two) different perspectives rather than jumping around and telling the story from different people's points of view. This always tends to give away a few too many details that make solving the murder a little too easy.

I also found I wasn't a big fan of the ending, which just seemed to be a bit drawn out after Poirot figures out who the killer is. I probably would have been OK with this if it ultimately would have led to a last-second surprise accomplice or that one of the murders was done by someone else because of a completely different motive. But, that didn't happen.

Final Opinion: Again, I liked the mystery in this book and the list of seemingly-random events leading up to the first murder. But, considering it was a Hercule Poirot book, it would have been nice to have seen a bit more of the main character.

My Grade: B

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