I found this lovely first edition Crime Club copy of The Clocks in a bookshop. Sadly the cover is a little ripped but it is a great 1963 copy and a really nice book to read.
The whole thing was fantastic! A blind woman – a dead man whom no one could identify – four strange clocks al showing the same time – thirteen minutes past four. Who had brought them here? What did they mean? And who was the dead man? It all has Detective Inspector Hardcastle badly worried – especially when a second murder follows. But his friend, Colin Lamb, who has come to Crowdean on a security matter, is son intruded by these bizarre happenings, that he thinks of his father’s old friend Herclue Poirot. How Poirot would enjoy this! And Poirot does enjoy it!
“This crime is so complicated that it must be quite simple,” he declares. But is it so simple? As a crime novelist Agatha Christie stands alone. Fashions change, new approaches to the crime novel come and go but it is the “Christie for Christmas” that readers of all ages are waiting for. Here is a new and most dazzling specimen; a perfectly fair detective novel of superb expertise which shows very clearly and enjoyably that the years have no effect on the ingenuity of Hercule Poirot!
I love that sentence about this being a “Christie for Christmas”, just makes me feel like I am there and waiting for the next Christie to be published! A treat once a year…
The story is as it says. At the start we meet Sheila Webb who is an employee at the Cavendish Secretarial and Typewriting Bureau. She is sent out to a job on the afternoon of the 9th September at 19 Wilbraham Crescent and she is asked for specifically though she can’t remember having worked there before. She is given instructions to arrive for 3pm but told to let herself in and go to the room to the right of the hallway to wait for Miss Pebmarsh who may be late. Sheila duly attends and on receiving no reply at the door lets herself in and goes to the room on the right, as directed. She notices that there are far too many clocks just as the cuckoo clock announces it is 3pm. At that moment she finds the body of a man sprawled behind the sofa and, on checking, finds he is dead. Miss Pebmarsh returns to her home and enters the room, she does not see Sheila because she is blind but she realises that someone is there. She steps forward and Sheila panics, fearing that she is going to tread on the dead man. Sheila runs from the house screaming into the arms of Colin Lamb who is in the area trying to find an address. He takes control of the situation and telephones his friend DI Hardcastle.
I really enjoyed the book. I’ve read a few Agatha Christie’s this year and they have not let me down yet. A classic whodunnit with plenty of clues and more red herrings, expertly executed! Although it is a Poirot the aged detective makes quite brief appearances though of course he calls what I’ve come to see as his standard end of story meeting to slowly divulge what conclusion he has reached. There was a key clue that led me down a correct path and I did guess a suspect correctly though not why or how. I was completely on the wrong path when it came to the why, Agatha had led me a merry little dance on that one!
But that is really what I love about them. My whole reading experience with detective fiction sees me searching the clues to work out what is going on. I do as much thinking as I do reading. I do tend to get there with most detective fiction (I feel a bit like I must sound as irritating as Poirot!!!!) But not with Agatha. I can’t break Agatha and that’s what I love about her. Her writing is accessible and entertaining, the characters are not too deep but there is enough about them to get you invested. I would rate this highly as a crime fiction novel and would definitely recommend it.