Hickory Dickory Dock, as the name suggests, is part of Agatha Christie’s nursery rhyme mysteries, or mysteries that are based on a rhyme or song or poem. We reviewed a similar one, And Then There Were None, earlier in the series. At the time of its release, Hickory Dickory Dock did not have a very warm reception. Inspite of being a Hercule Poirot mystery, it lacked punch. And the nursery rhyme in the title had hardly any connection to the mystery itself.
Miss Lemon, Poirot’s efficient secretary, solicits his help. Her sister Mrs. Hubbard runs a boarding house for students. There has been a spate of robberies in the boarding house with certain unusual items being stolen. Hercule Poirot is called in and the investigation begins. The items appear unconnected – a stethoscope, lightbulbs, flannel trousers, box of chocolates, boracic powder – and a diamond ring that is later recovered. Poirot begins the case simply, by threatening to call the police.
Poirot’s threat has its effect and Celia Austin, one of the boarders, quickly owns up to some of the crimes. But she insists that she is not responsible for stealing all the items. Pretty soon, she is found dead from a morphine overdose. The death appears as suicide but the police and Poirot have doubts. As always, it is revealed that other people have been lying too, but for different reasons. Is one of them the murderer?
If you want to compare this book to others by Agatha Christie, and also to other Hercule Poirot cases, it is perhaps not that interesting. But this will matter only to someone who wants to read one or two of her books. It makes no difference to a super Agatha Christie fan like me because I am going to read all her books, no matter what the reviews say.
So which band do you belong to?