Monday, 6 September 2010

sixty-five, sixty-three, sixty-two: poirot

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Agatha Christie (1940)

Inspector Japp phones up Hercule Poirot to inform him that the dentist he just visited, is found dead. The inspector thinks it's a suicide, but Poirot doesn't agree. One of the dentist's patients is also found dead at his hotel room - a lethal dose of anaesthetics. And then one of the other patients on that day, a woman, is missing. Poirot suspects it all to be connected to yet another patient, an important bank man with plenty of enemies.

The background of this story is World War II, and it has a fair share of foreign spies and war time angst. This is also the first Poirot story where I couldn't focus while reading, maybe it had too many possible plots for my little brain. I didn't even get it when Poirot was laying it all out.

Five Little Pigs (1942)

A young woman comes to Poirot and asks him if he could investigate a murder that happened 16 years ago. Her mother had been found guilty for murdering her father, but the woman had received a letter left to her from her mother stating her innocence. Poirot goes back in time and interviews the five other people who were on the crime scene, but all evidence points towards the mother.

This is one of the best Poirot stories I have read so far. I thought I would get tired of reading the same account of the murder over and over again, but all the testimonies are written very differently and you definitely notice the minor details which help Poirot solving the mystery.

These two stories both use nursery rhymes as chapter titles and they are constantly on Poirot's mind while he's solving the crimes.

Taken at the Flood (1948)

During an air-raid in London, Hercule Poirot seeks shelter at the Coronation Club. Here he hears a rumour about a woman who lost her husband in Africa and then remarried a rich old man in England, but the first husband isn't dead. Two years later; a man is found dead at a hotel in a small village where the woman, now very rich and very disliked after her second husband's death during an air-raid, lives. The dead man has been blackmailing the widow by saying that he can prove that her first husband is in fact very much alive.

So many intrigues in this story. There is the pure hatred of the family of her second husband as she inherits everything from him. And her brother who cares more about the money than the well-being of his sister. And I was absolutely shocked to discover that Poirot lets someone getting away with murder!

All these three stories can be found in Poirot: the War Years. I still have four more Poirot omnibuses to read.

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