This mystery, starring Agatha Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot, has a slightly different setting than most other stories featuring the pompous little Belgian. Instead of solving a crime that occurs within Britain’s aristocracy, the detective gets involved with the strange circumstances surrounding a group of international college students.
The Main Body:
Hercule Poirot values order and perfection above all things, so when his highly efficient secretary, Miss Lemon, types a letter for him that contains an unheard of number of errors (three), the detective is greatly concerned. He soon discovers that his able assistant is worried about her newly widowed sister, Mrs. Hubbard.
It seems she has recently taken a position as matron of a hostel for international students located on Hickory Street. A number of strange events have happened there, including the theft of several seemingly unrelated items, and the destruction of a rucksack. While Poirot would not normally lend his sleuthing skills to such mundane events, he agrees to study the matter as a favor to loyal Miss Lemon.
He soon uncovers a tangled web of crimes that leads to the deaths of three hostel residents. The mystery requires Poirot to use all of his renowned powers of deduction to reach a solution.
The plot of Hickory Dickory Dock has the usual twists and turns fans of Agatha Christie expect. At times, it may be difficult for the listener to keep the many student characters separate, but their distinct personalities emerge as the story proceeds. Poirot’s regular sidekick, Captain Hastings, does not appear in this book, a fact that may sadden those who enjoy his interaction with the detective.
Hugh Fraser narrates Hickory Dickory Dock. As the British actor who plays Captain Hastings in the BBC television series Agatha Christie’s Poirot, he is highly skilled at speaking with a crisp British accent. He is also good at the French inflection that makes the dapper detective so unique.
He may not have such top-notch abilities when it comes to reproducing the speech patterns of the students from all over the world that populate this book, but his expressive abilities make the tale easy to listen to, nonetheless. Overall, Hickory Dickory Dock is a pleasant diversion that will keep listeners guessing.