Title: One, Two, Buckle My Shoe
Author: Agatha Christie
Publication date: 14 October 2010
Length: 294 pages
Age group: Adult
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Even the great detective Hercule Poirot harboured a deep and abiding fear of the dentist, so it was with some trepidation that he arrived at the celebrated Mr Morley’s surgery for a dental examination. But what neither of them knew was that, only hours later, Poirot would be back to examine the dentist – found dead in his own surgery.
Turning to the other patients for answers, all Poirot finds are darker questions…
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe is another gripping story from the Queen of Crime and one I really enjoyed. I have to admit, it wasn’t one of my all time favourite Christie books (although I still think that it would be near impossible to write anything better than And Then There Were None), but the ending – or rather the way the murder has been planned and carried out – was genius and it still blew me away.
The set-up might be familiar to avid readers of Christie’s books: we’re in a dentist’s office, in a completely average house in central London. A house from which there is only one exit. There are no other entrances or hidden passages. None. And since no one could have entered the house without a key or being let in by the doorman (who was a hilarious character, by the way), we have a limited number of possible suspects. We’re sure right from the beginning that the murder must have been committed by either Mr Morley himself, or someone who had an appointment for that day. Including, of course, Hercule Poirot. The police seem to think it was suicide but Poirot can’t help wondering: why would a successful and relatively happy man like Mr Morley kill himself? Not only that but why would he do it during working hours? Why not wait until all her patients are gone? But if it was murder… who would want to kill him?
The reason why I’m a tiny bit disappointed by the killer’s identity is that I think we’ve had something like this in another story of Christie’s. I won’t say which one in case someone figures it out but yes, I’m pretty sure there was something similar in another book. When Poirot and Japp started talking to the suspects and visited this particular person, I was almost entirely sure they were looking at the murderer. Purely because it would have been so typical of Christie to give her murderer such characteristics and because, as I said, we’ve had something similar before. However, it wouldn’t be a regular Agatha Christie book if she didn’t make each and every character behave in a rather suspicious way, thus making us suspect each and every one of them in turn, so thank God it’s not that predictable. I also think that the mystery of how and particularly why s/he committed the murder would be quite difficult to solve so even if you manage to guess who the killer would be, the ending will still take you by surprise. All in all, I think it was definitely worth a read and the surprising ending made up for the murderer’s predictability.
“Mr Morley was not in the best of tempers at breakfast. He complained of the bacon, wondered why the coffee had to have the appearance of liquid mud, and remarked that breakfast cereals were each one worse than the last.
Mr Morley was a small man with a decided jaw and a pugnacious chin. His sister, who kept house for him, was a large woman rather like a female grenadier. She eyed her brother thoughtfully and asked whether the bath water had been cold again. Rather grudgingly, Mr Morley said it had not.“