A Hercule Poirot Mystery
By Agatha Christie
Read by Robin Bailey
Audio Editions Mystery Masters
A Complete & Unabridged Recording on 5 Cassettes (Also available on CD) The Audio Partners Publishing Corp.
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - August 24, 2004
When Sheila Webb is sent by her secretarial agency to number 19 Wilbraham Crescent, the only thing she finds odd about the assignment is that she was requested for by name. Following her instructions, she enters the house at number 19 and almost immediately stumbles over a body. Running, screaming, from the house, she nearly knocks over Colin Lamb. A Special Branch investigator, Lamb is lost in suburbia. Pursing another case, he is trying, without much luck, to find number 61 Wilbraham Crescent. Webb's arrival, however, sets him on another course as he helps investigate the mysterious murder, of a mysterious man, whose body is surrounded by several clocks that are all set to the unfathomable time of 4:13.
The home at which the murder occurred belongs to Miss Pebmarsh, an independent, strong-willed woman who happens to be blind. Despite her visual impairment, she sees more clearly than many of the sighted people who cross her path! As the story unfolds, Lamb begins to fall in love with Webb, despite the fact that she is quickly pointed to as the main suspect in the murder. Even with the aid of Detective Inspector Hardcastle, Lamb is having difficulty clearing Webb and finding the real killer. Hercule Poirot is asked to step in and take a stab at solving this baffling crime.
The Audio Partners' audio edition of this entertaining mystery is enlivened by Robin Bailey's reading of the story. Baily, who passed away in 1999, had a long career on both stage and screen. He was an excellent reader, and he left behind a legacy of several 'must listen to' audio editions of Christie's books such as The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Orderal by Innoncence. Bailey did a fabulous job reading The Clocks. He gave each character in the story a unique voice, which gives the reading the atmosphere of a full cast production. Most amusing are the various voices that he gives the women that populate this story. His harried housewife voice may well give you a fit of the giggles. The only voice he failed to capture to my satisfaction was that of Poirot, and this was no fault of his. For me, David Suchet, who played Poirot on PBS's Mystery series will forever, at least in my mind, be the voice of Poirot. No one could ever duplicate Suchet's Poirot persona, however, if you've never heard Suchet's Poirot, you'll find nothing to object to Baily's version *grin*.
The Clocks is standard Christie fare. It has a well-wrought plot, several ingenious red herrings to throw you off the trail of the truth, and it contains a variety of murders, all done nicely off stage, with no mess or bother for the reader to muck through. In addition, The Clocks has a unique conundrum in the form of the clocks that are left behind at the initial murder scene, and which keep disappearing as the story progresses! Of special interest to both mystery and Christie fans is that within the pages of this story, Christie presents a lecture on detective fiction, and the differences that exist between several authors, both from England and from America. The Clocks is one of Christie's later works, and it is a great 'cozy' with which to while away a few hours.
Click Here for a complete list of all the books written by Agatha Christie.
Sad Cypress, by Agatha Christie.
Poirot usually tries to prove someone innocent - before they are brought to trial. However, in this intriguing case, he tries to save Elinor Carlisle from the gallows after she is accused, and found guilty, of having killed Mary Gerrard.
Ordeal by Innocence, by Agatha Christie.
Arthur Calgary knows who didn't kill Mrs. Argyle. Now he just has to figure out who did...