Hercule Poirot is dreading a visit to the dentist… While there, he encounters a bunch of people. Later, he is informed that the dentist has been murdered.
Using the nursery rhyme “One, two, buckle my shoe” the detective must solve this mystery.
What I liked about the story: Just like with Crooked House, Agatha Christie takes a rhyme and bases a story on it. Each line from the poem brings us closer to the answer.
Buckle my shoe;
Knock at the door;
Pick up sticks;
Lay them straight:
A big fat hen;
Dig and delve;
Maids in the kitchen;
My plate’s empty
I also liked the fact that Hercule Poirot also hates going to the dentist. I can relate to that.
First published: 1941
Imagine you are madly in love with a woman called Sophia, but the only way you can be together is to solve the mystery of how her grandfather died. The whole family lives in a mansion and each one has a certain trait of ruthlessness. Everyone is a suspect.
It seems Christie likes to take nursery rhymes to base her stories on. This time she takes the rhyme about the crooked man who lives in a crooked house.
First published: 1949
Hercule Poirot is on holiday. The peace is disturbed when a woman is murdered and he must help solve the mystery. This woman has a reputation for being a harlot and it is confirmed that her killer was a man. But it’s not that easy, because both the husband and lover have a tight alibi. Who did it?
First published: 1941
Ten people are lured to a remote island on false pretenses. There they find a rhyme of ten Indian boys and 10 ceramic figurines on the table. One by one someone dies according to the rhyme. The question is: who is the killer?
Ten little Indian boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were Nine.
Nine little Indian boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were Eight.
Eight little Indian boys traveling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were Seven.
Seven little Indian boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were Six.
Six little Indian boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were Five.
Five little Indian boys going in for law;
One got into Chancery and then there were Four.
Four little Indian boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were Three.
Three little Indian boys walking in the Zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were Two.
Two little Indian boys were out in the sun;
One got all frizzled up and then there was one.
One little Indian boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.
The only thing I didn’t like was the ending. I felt cheated. Christie didn’t have to spell out who the killer was. She could have just ended it with that question.
First published: 1939
Interesting fact: The original title was Ten Little Niggers based on a blackface minstrel show.
I saw a neat acrostic poem using William Shakespeare and the names of his works the other day. I tried to do it with Agatha Christie and her stories.
Originally a play by Agatha Christie in 1954, it was adapted by Charles Osborne into a novel (2000).
Back cover: “Clarissa, the wife of a Foreign Office diplomat, is given to daydreaming. ‘Supposing I were to come down one morning and find a dead body in the library, what should I do?’ she muses. Clarissa has her chance to find out when she discovers a body in the drawing-room of her house in Kent. Desperate to dispose of the body before her husband comes home with an important foreign politician, Clarissa persuades her three house guests to become accessories and accomplices. It seems that the murdered man was not unknown to certain members of the house party (but which ones?), and the search begins for the murderer and the motive, while at the same time trying to persuade a police inspector that there has been no murder at all.”
First published: 1954 (play), 2000 (novel)
Rating: 5/5 No Hercule Poirot for a change. The main character reminded me of the one who cried “Wolf!” too many times. Clarissa is a master of spinning the web and telling lies.
I must confess I feel a little annoyed with Agatha Christie and her character Hercule Poirot after reading this book. Why mus they drag it out and make me feel like an even bigger idiot because I couldn’t figure out who the murderer was? Poor me!
Backcover:”And among the towering red cliffs of Petra sits a woman’s corpse. A tiny puncture mark on her wrist is the only sign of the fatal injection that killed her.”
First published: 1938
No, I haven’t seen the film yet. Though I hear it is quite good.
What it is about:
Thundering along on its three-day journey across Europe, the famous Orient Express suddenly came to a stop as snow drifts blocked the line. Surrounded by the silent Balkan Hills, the passengers settled down for the night.
But Hercule Poirot did not sleep well. He awoke with a start in the small hours, roused by a loud groan from nearby. At the same moment the ping of a bell sounded sharply and someone said: ‘It was nothing, a mistake…’ Then Poirot heard no more.
In the morning the man in the next compartment lay dead, stabbed viciously and frenziedly over and over again. And Hercule Poirot confronted twelve unlikely suspects – for the murderer was still on the train.
First published: 1934
What I liked about the story:
The fact that it takes place in a confined space with so many different characters you have to decide with Poirot who is telling the truth and who is lying…
Dammit! I was completely wrong this time.
Back cover: Since the beginning of history, jewels have exercised a baneful spell. Murder and violence have followed in their wake. So with the famous Heart of Fire ruby. It passes into the possession of the beautiful American woman, Ruth Kettering, and doom follows swift upon it. Whose hand was it that struck her down? Were the jewels the motive for the murder, or were they only taken as a blind? What part did the beautiful foreign dancer play? These are some of the questions that have to be answered, and the story tells also how these strange and dramatic happenings affect the life of a quiet English girl who has felt convinced that “nothing exciting will ever happen to me.” She uses very nearly those words to a chance acquaintance on the Blue Train – a little man with an egg-shaped head and fierce moustaches whose answer is curious and unexpected. But even Hercule Poirot, for it is he, does not guess how soon he will be called upon to unravel a complicated and intricate crime when the Blue Train steams into Nice the following morning and it is discovered that murder has been done.
First published: 1928
Thoughts: Agatha Christie is a genius! To think up such intricate intrigues and create so many interesting characters – I must confess I’m a little jealous of her.
Back cover: An urgent cry for help brings Poirot to France. But he arrives too late to save his client, whose brutally stabbed body now lies face downwards in a shallow grave on a golf course.
But why is the dead man wearing an overcoat that is too big for him? And who was the impassioned love-letter in the pocket for? Before Poirot can answer these questions, the case is turned upside down by their discovery of a second, identically murdered corpse…
First published: 1923
Thoughts: This was a rather sweet one. Captain Hastings falls hopelessly in love in this book. I was right with some mysteries, so close to the actual murder!
Back cover: Sentimentality draws Miss Jane Marple to Bertram’s Hotel, where dowager duchesses, retired clergymen and impressionable Americans indulge in all the comforts of a forgotten era. But Miss Marple feels uneasy – something sinister lurks beneath the well-polished veneer…
First published: 1965
What I liked about this book: I liked the fact that the hotel is almost its own character. I liked the intrigue and the mystery around the hotel and its inhabitants/visitors. I was almost right this time.