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Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie
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Apr 20, 08

bookshelves: fiction
Read in April, 2008

Beautifully written, as are almost all of Agatha Christie's mysteries (with thus far in my reading experience the notable exception of "The Big Four" which seems as if it was written by Christie's 12-year-old nephew :-), this is however not one of her best works. The principal problems are the plethora of at times clumsily handled characters, and a crucial unexplained plot flaw.

The characters first: there are a lot of them, but then the setting is a student rooming house, so this is understandable. What isn't is the way some of the characters are built up to be plausible guilty parties and then apparently forgotten without being exonerated or completing their character arcs: they just disappear from focus. This is not usual Christie practice in her better works.

The plot flaw is more difficult to discuss without giving things away, so I'll just say that when a bottle and its contents are as central to the plot as one is here, and when said bottle confuses the police to the extent that it does in this work, then I think we readers/listeners are owed an explicit explanation of what happened. We don't get one.

Don't get me wrong: "Hickory Dickory Dock" is still very enjoyable; it just isn't superb.
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