Tuesday, 14 May 2013

''The Clocks''- Book review

Author: Agatha Christie
Published: 1963

Genres: Mystery, Crime, Suspense, Thriller

Rating: 3 out of 5


I enjoyed reading Agatha Christie's ''The Clocks''. Yet, I wouldn't say I was fully satisfied because of the lack of clues.

The mystery is built up well yet a very, very few of my guesses matched; I really liked the solution to the problem and couldn't even imagine the story would come to such a point. The book had a very creepy scene (which I'm not describing!!) and some excellently developed characters.

But more of that later. At the beginning of the novel, Miss Martindale, owner of the Cavendish Secretarial Bureau, receives a phone call from a blind woman, Millicent Pebmarsh, to send a typist to her home, asking particularly for the young Sheila Webb. Sheila goes to Miss Pebmaresh's house. The blind woman is not home. Instead, Sheila finds something else: the body of a dead man at the sitting room! And then, Miss Pebmarsh enters the house, and is about to tread on the body...

Terrified after seeing the dead man, Sheila runs screaming out of the house. A passer-by, Colin Lamb, learns about the incident from her, and after seeing the dead man, he phones his friend, Detective Inspector Hardcastle.

Investigation starts. The blind woman, Miss Pebmarsh, denies having made any calls to the Cavendish Secretarial Bureau. On the other hand,  no one seems to identify the dead man. The neighbors deny having seen anything weird on the day of the murder. And another surprising thing is that, there were several clocks in Miss Pebmarsh's house on the day of the murder; and, only two of them shows the correct time, 3 o'clock, and the other four of them shows fifteen minutes past four. And Miss Pebmarsh says, none of these four clocks belong to her. What is the mystery behind these clocks?

In the midst of the confusions about the clocks, identification of the dead man, and neighbors' statements, Colin decides to take help of his friend, the great detective Hercule Poirot, who certainly will help him.

The novel also gives some importance to the works of Colin Lamb. Colin, who is actually a Special Branch agent, is investigating about a spy case. This case is given some significance.

The novel is told in two forms: first person narration by Colin Lamb, and also sometimes third person narration. 

I liked this novel.  I liked the mystery, the suspense. And then, of course, we have two wonderful characters, Colin Lamb and Hercule Poirot, who just make this story amazing. Colin is a wonderful character. It is he, who gives us most of the clues, though there are a very few of them. Actually, this novel has very few clues, and it is only after Poirot explains everything that the matter becomes clear to us! It was indeed a very puzzling story, and the solution was amazing.

As for the characters, they were well developed. I like Hardcastle, Colin, Poirot, Sheila, Miss Pebmarsh, and of course, Geraldine, the intelligent 10-year-old girl with whom Colin converses and who gives quite a few hints about the incident. A great deal of humor is also present.

However, I didn't love this one, because the clues didn't seem to lead somewhere, which is partly interesting, while on the other hand, partly unsatisfactory. There should have been enough clues for the reader to guess something, guess some tidbits, at least. But the clues are not even strong. The solution was simply a bolt from the blue... 

Though I wasn't fully satisfied, I won't say that it was unsatisfactory because it wasn't bad. It is well-written, but the lacking of clues lets the reader suspect nothing, which is, certainly, a drawback. Overall, the novel was decent and likeable.

3 out of 5

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