Wednesday, June 11, 2014

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Agatha Christie

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Agatha Chrisite
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe is an Hercule Poirot book from 1940. Originally, it was called The Patriotic Murders when it was released in the US, and the title was later changed to An Overdose of Death. That's the tricky thing about Christie's novels. You may think you are getting a new book, when you are actually getting one that you already read. IN One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, Poirot has his regularly scheduled dental appointment with his dentist, Mr. Morley. Later that day, Morley is found dead in his office with a gun shot to the head. It looks like suicide, but Poirot cannot believe it because Morley seemed the same as usual. There was no depression or sadness in the dentist's demeanor. Instead, Poirot wonders if it was murder, but then why was the dentist murdered? When a patient, Mr. Amberiotis, who saw the dentist just a few hours later than Poirot, turns up dead from an overdose of anesthetic, Inspector Japp thinks that Morley committed suicide because of the accidental overdoes. However, Poirot isn't satisfied. Could the target have been financier, Alistair Blunt, who is so very important to Britain in the early days of World War II? Could Mabelle Sainsbury Seale have seen something? She had originally caught Poirot's eye when a buckle fell off of her new shoe as she could out of the car in front of the dentist. Could it be Howard Raikes, boyfriend of Mr. Blunt's niece, Jane Olivera? Or could it be the disreputable boyfriend, Frank Cater, of Gladys, Morley's dental assistant? When Mr. Barnes, another patient of Morley and a former member of the Home Office, meets with Poirot, and he mentions that he thinks there is a plot afoot. Something seems wrong to Barnes, and Poirot agrees that something is just not right about the whole situation. When Mabelle Sainsbury Seale turns up missing and then is found dead with her face smashed in, even Japp starts to get suspicious. However, it isn't until two attempts are made on Blunt's life, and the gun in the one of the attempts turns out to be a twin on the gun that killed Morley that Japp agrees that Morley did not commit suicide. Can Poirot connect all the disjointed pieces of this puzzle?

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe reminds me very much of the espionage stories that Christie writes. However, at times, Christie seems to loose her path in those books, and in this novel in particular, the plot did not seem as tight as it could be. At times, things seemed to drag, and I was hoping that something would happen to help me make sense of the mystery. However, when Poirot unravels the mystery at the end, I had to admit that it was very ingenious. I'm not a huge fan of Poirot's, and this is one of my least favorite of his mysteries. Of course, with that said, I would prefer even the weakest of the Christies over other books!

As with a few other of her stories, Christie uses a nursery rhyme to title the chapters and tie into the plot. I marvel at the creativity of Christie in coming up with ways to present her mysteries. I think my favorites of the nursery rhyme mysteries are A Pocket Full of Rye and Ten Little Indians.

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