It has been almost a year since I last read Christie. Mostly because the Poirot novels, though individually great, tend to feel rather repetitive if read too many too soon. Nevertheless, browsing around when I saw the book on Goodreads, I was intrigued. The cover looked suitably enigmatic, and the description was rather intriguing :
When a young secretary, Sheila Webb, is sent to the home of a blind woman on an errand, she is horrified to discover a dead man behind the couch, surrounded by four clocks that have all been stopped at 4:13.
The owner arrives home and denies that the clocks belong to her, the deceased’s business card turns out to be a fraud, and a woman shows up claiming to be the dead man’s wife.
There is only one man who can unravel this complicated case: Hercule Poirot.
So I decided to give it a shot. And it wasn’t bad. The murder was indeed exceptionally baffling, with there being absolutely no seeming motive, suspect, an unidentified victim, and the aforementioned mysterious clocks. It would’ve been fun to watch Poirot unravel the mystery.
And here I come to my main issue with the books : Too little Poirot. The book is narrated mostly from the POV of Colin Lamb, a friend of Poirot, and Detective Hardcastle, who is the one assigned to the case. And both of them I found to be rather boring. There is none of the flair and eccentricity and pride that I have come to expect from Poirot’s books. That’s because he appears only a handful of times, and that only briefly. The denouement, when it comes, is rather sudden and bland as a result. I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say it felt a lot like handwaving away the puzzles.
The Verdict :
The Clocks had the potential to be so much more. The premise is interesting, but too little of Poirot means the book felt rather boring. Decent by itself, but certainly not one of Christie’s better books.
My Rating : 3/5