Category: Agatha Christie

Review: One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, 1940 (Hercule Poirot # 19) by Agatha Christie

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HarperCollinsPublishers, 2010. Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 1063 KB. Print Length: 256 pages. First published in the United Kingdom by the Collins Crime Club in November 1940, and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in February 1941 under the title of The Patriotic Murders, then as An Overdose of Death in 1953, before sharing the same title as the UK version, One, Two, Buckle my Shoe. ASIN: B0046RE5GI. eISBN: 978-0-00-742263-0.

descargaAbout the book: A dentist lies murdered at his Harley Street practice… The dentist was found with a blackened hole below his right temple. A pistol lay on the floor near his outflung right hand. Later, one of his patients was found dead from a lethal dose of local anaesthetic. A clear case of murder and suicide. But why would a dentist commit a crime in the middle of a busy day of appointments? A shoe buckle holds the key to the mystery. Now in the words of the rhyme can Poirot pick up the sticks and lay them straight?

More about this book: In the life of Hercule Poirot, not even a dental appointment can occur without a murder, this time, the very dentist Poirot was hoping to see. But while the police are calling it suicide, Poirot knows better and soon it’s not only the dentist who appears to have been murdered. Part of Agatha Christie’s nursery rhyme series, the title is derived from a rhyme of the same name, each line forming clues through Poirot’s investigation. Written during one of Christie’s most prolific periods (particularly for Poirot’s cases) this is among her most political novels. The characters express their political views throughout, but despite Poirot’s own opinions he never lets this colour his perception of a suspect. The story was adapted for TV as part of Agatha Christie’s Poirot in 1992, David Suchet in the eponymous role. This episode was considered darker than the previous ones, particularly in this series, lacking the comic touches of Hastings and Japp. It was also dramatised by BBC Radio 4 in 2004, starring John Moffatt as Poirot.

My take: Shortly after Poirot’s visit to his dentist, Dr. Morley at 58 Queen Charlotte Street, he receives a call from Chief Inspector Japp. Japp informs him that Dr. Morley has been found dead in his practise. Everything suggests that the dentist committed suicide, even though he did not seem to have any motive that could explain why he did it. Also, if he was killed, who would have wanted to see him dead? He seemed to be a quiet and harmless fellow. But when one of the his last patients that same day, certain Mr. Amberiotis, is found dead as a result of an overdose of adrenaline and novocaine. Japp believes to have found the perfect explanation for it. In Japp’s view, Morley made a fatal mistake, injecting Mr Amberiotis an excessive dose of anaesthetics by mistake and, realizing what he had done, could not cope with the consequences and shot himself. But this explanation does not fully satisfy Poirot, since it leaves many questions unanswered.

Though, One, Two, Buckle My Shoe was published in 1940, it was probably written before the outbreak of the Second World War, which explains both the absence of an explicit reference to the war as well as the bleak tone that it is present between its lines in anticipation of the tragedy that lies ahead.  It also helps to explain that this is one of Christie’s most decidedly political novels. The story also outlines the different ideologies that were present at that time, namely the totalitarianisms be they of the right or the left.  It is also worth noting that the novel addresses an interesting moral dilemma. And I should not forget to highlight that the plot is well crafted and the story is quite entertaining. Even though, in my view, the story has some minor flaws, this is no obstacle whatsoever that may prevent me from including One, Two, Buckle My Shoe  among my favourite in the series. I would like to conclude quoting Curtis Evans who writes in his blog The Passing Tramp: ‘As for One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, I plead a bit of bias here. The awesomely involved murder scheme and Poirot’s investigation of it reminds me of the complex plots designed by such so-called “Humdrum” detective novelists as John Street and Freeman Wills Crofts. If the plot’s the thing, this one has lots of it! And the ending provides an interesting rumination on the imperatives of justice, (a subject that arose the previous year in And Then There Were None)’.

My rating: A+ (Don’t delay, get your hands on a copy of this book)

About the author: Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, DBE (née Miller; 15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976) was an English writer. She is known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, particularly those revolving around her fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Christie also wrote the world’s longest-running play, a murder mystery, The Mousetrap, and six romances under the name Mary Westmacott. In 1971 she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her contribution to literature. (Source: Wikipedia).

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe has been reviewed at Mysteries in Paradise, Vintage Pop Fictions, and Mystery File, among others.

Harper Collins UK publicity page

HarperCollins US publicity page

Agatha Christie Official Website 

Notes On One, Two Buckle My Shoe


Agatha Christie and Nursery Rhymes

La muerte visita al dentista, de Agatha Christie

Sobre el libro: Un dentista yace asesinado en su despacho de Harley Street. El dentista fue encontrado con una brecha ennegrecida debajo de su sien derecha. Una pistola yacía en el suelo cerca de su mano derecha. Más tarde, uno de sus pacientes aparece muerto por una dosis letal de anestesia local. Un claro caso de asesinato y suicidio. Pero, ¿por qué un dentista cometería un delito en medio de un ajetreado día de citas? La hebilla de un zapato tiene la clave del misterio. Ahora, en palabras de la canción, ¿podrá Poirot recoger todos los palos y ponerlos derechos?

Más sobre este libro: En la vida de Hercule Poirot, ni siquiera se puede tener una cita con el dentista sin un asesinato, esta vez, el mismo dentista que Poirot esperaba ver. Pero mientras la policía lo califica de suicidio, Poirot sabe más que nadie, y pronto no es solo el dentista el que parece haber sido asesinado. Como parte de la serie de canciones infantiles de Agatha Christie, el título se deriva de una canción con el mismo nombre, cada estrofa va formanda las pistas por las que transcurre la investigación de Poirot. Escrito durante uno de los períodos más prolíficos de Christie (por lo que se refiere a los casos de Poirot en particular) esta es una de sus novelas con más contenido político. Los personajes expresan sus puntos de vista políticos, pero a pesar de las propias opiniones de Poirot, nunca deja que esto influya en su percepción del sospechoso. La historia fue adaptada para TV como parte de la serie Agatha Christie’s Poirot en 1992, David Suchet en el papel del mismo nombre. Este episodio fue considerado más sórdido que los anteriores, particularmente en esta serie, al faltarle los toques cómicos de Hastings y Japp. También fue dramatizado por la BBC Radio 4 en 2004, protagonizada por John Moffatt como Poirot.

Mi opinión: Poco después de la visita de Poirot a su dentista, el Dr. Morley en el 58 de Queen Charlotte Street, recibe una llamada del inspector jefe Japp. Japp le informa que el Dr. Morley ha sido encontrado muerto en su despacho. Todo sugiere que el dentista se suicidó, a pesar de que no parecía tener ningún motivo que pudiera explicar por qué lo hizo. Además, si fue asesinado, ¿quién hubiera querido verlo muerto? Parecía ser un tipo tranquilo e inofensivo. Pero cuando uno de sus últimos pacientes ese mismo día, cierto Sr. Amberiotis, es encontrado muerto como resultado de una sobredosis de adrenalina y novocaína. Japp cree haber encontrado la explicación perfecta para ello. En opinión de Japp, Morley cometió un error fatal al inyectarle a Amberiotis una dosis excesiva de anestésicos por error y, al darse cuenta de lo que había hecho, no pudo hacer frente a las consecuencias y se pegó un tiro. Pero esta explicación no satisface completamente a Poirot, ya que deja muchas preguntas sin respuesta.

Aunque La muerte visita al dentista se publicó en 1940, probablemente fue escrita antes del estallido de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, lo que explica tanto la ausencia de una referencia explícita a la guerra como el tono sombrío que está presente entre sus líneas en previsión de la tragedia que se avecina. También ayuda a explicar que esta sea una de las novelas más decididamente políticas de Christie. La historia también describe las diferentes ideologías que estaban presentes en ese momento, a saber, los totalitarismos ya sean de derechas o de izquierdas. También vale la pena señalar que la novela aborda un interesante dilema moral. Y no debería olvidar destacar que la trama está bien elaborada y la historia es bastante entretenida. Aunque, desde mi punto de vista, la historia tiene algunos defectos menores, este no es obstáculo alguno que me impida incluir La muerte visita al dentista entre mis favoritos de la serie. Me gustaría concluir citando a Curtis Evans, quien escribe en su blog The Passing Tramp: ‘En cuanto a La muerte visita al dentista, me declaro algo parcial aquí. El asombrosamente enrevesado plan para cometer el asesinato y la investigación de Poirot sobre él me recuerdan a las complejas tramas diseñadas por los llamados novelistas de historias de detectives “Humdrum” como John Street y Freeman Wills Crofts. Si el argumento es la cuestión, ¡esta novela tiene mucho! Y el final proporciona una interesante reflexión sobre las exigencias de la justicia (un tema que surgió el año anterior en Diez negritos, o eventualmente, Y no quedó ninguno)’. (Mi traducción libre)

Mi valoración; A + (No se demore, consiga un ejemplar de este libro)

Sobre el autor: Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, DBE (Torquay, 15 de septiembre de 1890-Wallingford, 12 de enero de 1976), más conocida como Agatha Christie, fue una escritora y dramaturga británica especializada en el género policial, por cuyo trabajo tuvo reconocimiento internacional.​ A lo largo de su carrera, publicó 66 novelas policiacas, 14 relatos breves y seis novelas rosas —bajo el seudónimo de Mary Westmacott—, además de algunas incursiones en el mundo del teatro con obras como La ratonera o Testigo de cargo. (Fuente: Wikipedia)


Timeline of Poirot’s Novels and Short Stories

This post was meant as a private note, but I thought it may be of interest to some readers. (Sources: Wikipedia and  Official Agatha Christie Website) Please, consider it a work in Progress. I’ll certainly appreciate if you let me know of any errors you may observe.

2a9cbd9ac73a69b686578d770cae1d34First a note on suggested reading order for Christie’s Poirot novels and short story collections

The most important point to note is to make sure you read Curtain last. Other points to note are:

Lord Edgware Dies should be read before After the Funeral
Five Little Pigs should be read before Elephants Can Remember
Cat Among the Pigeons should be read before Hallowe’en Party
Mrs McGinty’s Dead should be read before Hallowe’en Party and Elephants Can Remember
Murder on the Orient Express should be read before Murder in Mesopotamia
Three Act Tragedy should be read before Hercule Poirot’s Christmas

Otherwise they can be read in any order.

Poirot’s police years

    • The Chocolate Box” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

      Career as a private detective and retirement

      Shortly after Poirot flees to England (1916–1918)

        • The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)

        • The Kidnapped Prime Minister” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

        • The Lemesurier Inheritance” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

        • The Affair at the Victory Ball” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

          The Twenties (1920–1929)

          Poirot settles down in London and opens a private detective agency. These are the short story years (25 short stories and only 4 novels).

            • The Disappearance of Mr Davenheim” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Plymouth Express” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Adventure of the Cheap Flat” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Submarine Plans” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Adventure of the Clapham Cook” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Cornish Mystery” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Mystery of the Hunters Lodge” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Market Basing Mystery” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The King of Clubs” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Double Clue” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Adventure of Johnny Waverly” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Case of the Missing Will” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Lost Mine” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Million Dollar Bond Robbery” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Veiled Lady” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Adventure of the Western Star” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • Murder on the Links (1923)

            • Double Sin” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding” also published as The Theft Of The Royal Ruby (short story from The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding) is an expanded version of “The Christmas Adventure”

            • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)

            • The Big Four (1927)

            • The Mystery of the Blue Train an expanded version of “The Plymouth Express”

            • The Third Floor Flat” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Under Dog” (short story from The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding)

            • Wasp’s Nest” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

              The Thirties (1930–1939)

              Christie increased her novel production during this time (14 novels, 21 total short stories and one theatre play). Twelve short stories form The Labours of Hercules. The other short stories listed here take place in this period but were published before and after the publication of The Labours of Hercules. The theatre play is named Black Coffee and was written by Agatha Christie, who stated a frustration with other stage adaptations of her Poirot mysteries. In 1998, author Charles Osborne adapted the play into a novel.

                • Black Coffee (1930 play – novel adapted from play published in 1998)

                • “The Mystery of the Spanish Chest” (short story from The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and The Regatta Mystery) is an expanded version of “The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest”

                • Peril at End House (1932)

                • Lord Edgware Dies (1933) also published as Thirteen at Dinner

                • Murder on the Orient Express (1934) also published as Murder in the Calais Coach

                • Three Act Tragedy (1935) also published as Murder in Three Acts

                • Death in the Clouds (1935) also published as Death in the Air

                • The A.B.C. Murders (1936)

                • Murder in Mesopotamia (1936)

                • Cards on the Table (1936)

                • Dumb Witness (1937) also published as Poirot Loses a Client

                • Death on the Nile (1937)

                • How Does Your Garden Grow?” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases and The Regatta Mystery)

                • Dead Man’s Mirror” (short story from Murder in the Mews) is an expanded version of The Second Gong in Problem at Pollensa Bay

                • Problem at Sea” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases and The Regatta Mystery)

                • Triangle at Rhodes” (short story from Murder in the Mews)

                • The Incredible Theft” (short story from Murder in the Mews) is an expanded version of “The Submarine Plans”

                • Murder in the Mews” (short story from Murder in the Mews) is an expanded version of The Market Basing Mystery”

                • Appointment with Death (1938)

                • Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (1938) also published as Murder for Christmas and as A Holiday for Murder

                • Yellow Iris” (short story from The Regatta Mystery)

                • The Dream” (short story from The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and The Regatta Mystery)

                • Sad Cypress (1940)

                • One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (1940) also published as Overdose of Death and as The Patriotic Murders

                • The Nemean Lion” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Lernaean Hydra” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Arcadian Deer” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Erymanthian Boar” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Augean Stables” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Stymphalean Birds” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Cretan Bull” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Horses of Diomedes” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Girdle of Hyppolita” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Flock of Geryon” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Apples of Hesperides” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Capture of Cerberus” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                  Post World War II

                  A new detective, Miss Marple, enters the stage – The Body in the Library Miss Marple second novel was published in 1942, and Hercule Poirot mysteries become rare. In 36 years Agatha Christie wrote only 13 novels and one short story.

                    • Evil Under the Sun (1941)

                    • “Four and Twenty Blackbirds” (short story from The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding)

                    • Five Little Pigs (1942) also published as Murder in Retrospect

                    • The Hollow (1946) also published as Murder after Hours 

                    • Taken at the Flood (1948) also published as There Is a Tide

                    • Mrs McGinty’s Dead (1952) also published as Blood Will Tell

                    • After the Funeral (1953) also published as Funerals are Fatal

                    • Hickory Dickory Dock (1955) also published as Hickory Dickory Death

                    • Dead Man’s Folly (1956)

                    • Cat Among the Pigeons (1959)

                    • The Clocks (1963)

                    • Third Girl (1966)

                    • Hallowe’en Party (1969)

                    • Elephants Can Remember (1972)

                    • Curtain, Hercule Poirot’s last case (written about 1940, published in 1975)

                    Previous Review: Sad Cypress, 1940 (Hercule Poirot #18) by Agatha Christie

                    Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

                    HarperCollins Publishers, The Agatha Christie Signature Edition published 2001. Format: Paperback Edition. First published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in March 1940 and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company later in the same year. ISBN: 978-0.00-712071-0. 336 pages.

                    sadcypressSynopsis: Beautiful young Elinor Carlisle stood serenely in the dock, accused of the murder of Mary Gerrard, her rival in love. The evidence was damning: only Elinor had the motive, the opportunity, and the means to administer the fatal poison. Yet, inside the hostile courtroom, only one man still presumed Elinor was innocent until proven guilty. Hercule Poirot was all that stood between Elinor and the gallows.…

                    More about this book: The first courtroom drama for Poirot, Sad Cypress was written in the build up to the Second World War, a particularly prolific period for Agatha Christie and her little Belgian. It is written in three parts – the defendant’s account, the build-up to the murder, and Poirot’s investigation. Reflecting upon the piece after publication, Christie decided it would have been better without the character of Poirot.

                    BBC Radio 4 dramatised the story as a serial in 1992 with John Moffatt reprising his role as Poirot. In 2003 the story was adapted as part of the UK TV series Agatha Christie’s Poirot, starring David Suchet. It was filmed on location at Dorney Court, Buckinghamshire.

                    My take: (from my previous entry here) Elinor Carlisle is brought before the judge accused of having poisoned Mary Gerrard. After a few minutes of silence, during which her lawyer fears that she could declare herself guilty, Elinor pleads not guilty. The story had begun about a year ago when Elinor received an anonymous letter warning her that someone was determined to take her place in the affections of her aunt Laura Welman. Mrs Welman suffered from reduced mobility due to a stroke and lived in her own house with the assistance of her housekeeper Mrs Bishop, a couple of nurses, nurses Hopkins and O’Brien, and under the care of Dr. Peter Lord, a young doctor. In addition, Mary Gerrard, the daughter of a lodge keeper, was in the habit to pay her a visit every day. Mary was extremely grateful to Mrs Welman for having paid her studies. Elinor, in turn, was planning to marry Roddy Welman, whom she knew since childhood. Roddy was the nephew of the late Mr Welman, the husband of her aunt. Both had assumed they were going to inherit her fortune, as they were her closest relatives. But one day, during a visit of Elinor and Roddy to their aunt, Roddy falls in love with Mary Gerrard and breaks her engagement to Elinor. As from that moment events take an unexpected turn. Mrs Welman dies intestate and Elinor, as next of kin, becomes her sole heir. Shortly after, Mary dies poisoned and Elinor seems to be the only person who has a motive, the opportunity and the means for having done so. Dr. Lord, who is attracted to Elinor, resorts to Hercule Poirot to unmask the real culprit in order to prove her innocence.

                    Sad Cypress has quite an original structure. The story is being told in three parts. The first one relates the facts that end up with the death by poisoning of Mary Gerrard and with the subsequent imprisonment of Elinor Carlisle considered the main suspect of the crime. The second revolves around the investigation carried by Poirot, mainly through his conversations with those involved in the plot. Finally, the third part takes place almost entirely in the courtroom. All these make it possible to maintain the attention of the reader and, in essence, the novel ends up being quite entertaining. Likewise its resolution turns out fairly convincing. Probably the biggest drawback of the story, in my view, has to do with the way in which Poirot arrives to solve the mystery. It has very much reminded me the way a magician pulls a rabbit out of his top hat. Maybe for this reason Sad Cypress is not ranked among Agatha Christie’s best novels.

                    My rating: B (I really liked it)

                    Sad Cypress has been reviewed at Reactions to Reading, In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, Mysteries in Paradise, BooksPlease, Mystery File, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist… and Clothes In Books among others.

                    HarperCollins UK publicity page

                    HarperCollins US publicity page

                    Agatha Christie Official Website

                    Notes On Sad Cypress


                    Un triste ciprés, de Ágata Christie

                    Sinopsis: La hermosa y joven Elinor Carlisle estaba serenamente en el banquillo, acusada del asesinato de Mary Gerrard, su rival en el amor. La evidencia era condenatoria: solo Elinor tenía motivo, oportunidad y medios para administrar el veneno fatal. Sin embargo, dentro del hostil tribunal de justicia, solo un hombre todavía presuponía que Elinor era inocente hasta que se demuestre su culpabilidad. Hercule Poirot era todo lo que se interponía entre Elinor y el patíbulo …

                    Más sobre este libro: El primer drama judicial para Poirot, Sad Cypress fue escrito cuando estaba a punto de comenzar la Segunda Guerra Mundial, un período particularmente prolífico para Agatha Christie y su diminuto belga. Está escrita en tres partes: el relato de la acusada, los prolegómenos del asesinato y la investigación de Poirot. Reflexionando sobre la novela después de su publicación, Christie decidió que hubiera estado mejor sin el personaje de Poirot.

                    BBC Radio 4 dramatizó la historia por entregas en 1992 con John Moffatt repitiendo en el papel de Poirot. En 2003, la historia fue adaptada como parte de la serie de la televisión británica Agatha Christie’s Poirot, protagonizada por David Suchet. Fue rodada en escanarios naturales en Dorney Court, Buckinghamshire.

                    Mi opinión: (de mi entrada anterior aquí) Elinor Carlisle comparece ante el juez acusada de haber envenenado a Mary Gerrard. Después de unos minutos de silencio, durante los cuales su abogado teme que pudiera declararse culpable, Elinor se declara inocente. La historia había comenzado hace aproximadamente un año, cuando Elinor recibió una carta anónima advirtiéndole que alguien estaba decidido a ocupar su puesto en el afecto de su tía Laura Welman. La señora Welman sufría de movilidad reducida debido a un derrame cerebral y vivía en su propia casa con la ayuda de su ama de llaves la señora Bishop, un par de enfermeras, las enfermeras Hopkins y O’Brien, y bajo el cuidado del doctor Peter Lord, un joven médico. Además, Mary Gerrard, la hija del portero de la finca, tenía la costumbre de hacerle una visita todos los días. María estaba muy agradecida a la Sra Welman por haberle pagado sus estudios. Elinor, a su vez, tenía la intención de casarse con Roddy Welman, a quien conocía desde la infancia. Roddy era el sobrino del fallecido Sr. Welman, el marido de su tía. Ambos habían asumido que iban a heredar su fortuna, dado que eran sus parientes más cercanos. Pero un día, durante una visita de Elinor y Roddy a su tía, Roddy se enamora de Mary Gerrard y rompe su compromiso con Elinor. A partir de ese momento los acontecimientos toman un giro inesperado. La señora Welman muere intestada y Elinor, como pariente más próximo, se convierte en su única heredera. Poco después, Mary muere envenenada y Elinor parece ser la única persona que tiene un motivo, la oportunidad y los medios para haberlo hecho. El doctor Lord, que se siente atraído por Elinor, recurre a Hércules Poirot para desenmascarar al verdadero culpable con el fin de demostrar su inocencia.

                    Un triste ciprés tiene una estructura bastante original. La historia está contada en tres partes. La primera se refiere a los hechos que terminan con la muerte por envenenamiento de Mary Gerrard y con el posterior encarcelamiento de Elinor Carlisle considerada la principal sospechosa del crimen. La segunda gira en torno a la investigación realizada por Poirot, principalmente a través de sus conversaciones con los implicados en la trama. Por último, la tercera parte se desarrolla casi por completo en la sala del tribunal. Todo esto hace que sea posible mantener la atención del lector y, en esencia, la novela termina siendo bastante entretenida. Del mismo modo su resolución resulta bastante convincente. Probablemente, el mayor inconveniente de la historia, en mi opinión, tiene que ver con la forma en que Poirot llega a resolver el misterio. Me ha recordado mucho la forma en que un mago saca un conejo de su chistera. Tal vez por esta razón Un triste ciprés no se encuentra entre las mejores novelas de Agatha Christie.

                    Mi valoración: B (Me gustó mucho)

                    Review: Appointment with Death, 1938 (Hercule Poirot #16) by Agatha Christie

                    Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

                    Harper, 2016. Format: Paperback Edition. ISBN: 978-0.00-711935-6. First published in Great Britain by the Collins Crime Club, 1938. 266 pages.

                    64ay3kqfvfmy3a5vt9m3cpwxj677dt7gSynopsis: Among the towering red cliffs of Petra, like some monstrous swollen Buddha, sat the corpse of Mrs Boynton. A tiny puncture mark on her wrist was the only sign of the fatal injection that had killed her. With only 24 hours available to solve the mystery, Hercule Poirot recalled a chance remark he’d overheard back in Jerusalem: ‘You see, don’t you, that she’s got to be killed?’ Mrs Boynton was, indeed, the most detestable woman he’d ever met.

                    More about this story: When the corpse of Mrs Boynton is found among the cliffs of Petra, Hercule Poirot remembers the words of one of her step-children: “You do see, don’t you, that she’s got to be killed?” In true form, Poirot gives himself 24 hours to solve the case.

                    One of Agatha Christie’s many stories inspired by her travels in the Middle East, this one also shows a different side of Poirot. In fact when the story first appeared, serialised in the Daily Mail in 1938 under the title A Date with Death, Agatha Christie preceded it with an original piece on her relationship with her detective and how she came to create him. She also described Poirot’s key interests in this particular case: the “passion for truth” of the man who asked him to undertake the case; the technicality of the 24-hour limit; and the psychology of the motive, particularly “the strong malign personality of the dead woman”.

                    It was published as a novel by Collins in May 1938 and would go on to be adapted several times. The first was in 1945 when Agatha Christie adapted it herself for stage. Christie kept the title, Appointment With Death, but removed the character of Poirot and changed the identity of the murderer.

                    In 1988 it was adapted into a film, starring Peter Ustinov as Poirot. Twenty years later it was adapted for TV with David Suchet playing Poirot, before being dramatised for BBC Radio 4 in 2006 starring John Moffatt as Poirot.

                    My take: ‘You do see, don’t you, that she’s got to be killed’ is perhaps one of Christie’s best opening lines, if not the best. The story is set in the Middle East, first in Jerusalem and then in Petra, where the Boynton’s, an American family, are on holiday. The family is composed of Mrs Boynton, two stepsons, an stepdaughter, her daughter and a daughter-in-law. Mrs Boynton, a very unpleasant woman, exerts a tyrannical influence over her family with the exception, perhaps, of her daughter-in-law. None of them can do anything without her express consent and they all live isolated from the outside world and frightened by her mere presence. Certainly Mrs Boynton is a mental sadist who takes pleasure in keeping everyone terrified, exercising a brutal control over their lives. On the second day of their visit to Petra, Mrs Boynton is found dead. What it initially seems to be a heart attack it will soon turn into a murder investigation when Monsieur Poirot, who finds himself among the group of tourists, notes the victim’s body shows a tiny puncture mark on her wrist, and he begins to investigate.

                    Though not for the first time, Agatha Christie seems to have develop a greater interest on the psychology of the characters. Particularlly, in this case the personality of the victim plays a significant role in the development of the story. The plot unfolds accurately and, once again, Christie plays fair with the reader. All the clues are there for all to see, but she does a great job in distracting the reader’s attention.

                    Although some reviewers, like my admired Martin Edwards, are of the opinion quote the criminal’s motivation in the book is profoundly unsatisfactory unquote. I am rather inclined to believe that Appointment with Death may rank among Christie’s best novels for the same reasons than those outlined by E.R. Punshon in his review of 27 May 1938, mainly the ingenuity of plot and construction, the unexpectedness of dénouement, subtlety of characterisation, and a fascinating environment. Nonetheless it is true that Agatha Christie did not feel herself particularly satisfied with the denouement and changed it on her later dramatization.

                    I would not want to fail highlighting here an important aspect of this novel, when Christie puts in words of Sarah King her own views:

                    ‘ I don’t agree’ said Sarah. ‘it’s nice when any human being is able to accomplish something worth while¡ it doesn’t matter a bit whether it’s a man or a woman. Why should it?’

                    ‘I`m sorry but I do hate this differentiation between the sexes. “The modern girl has a thoroughly business-like attitude towards life.” That sort of thing. It’s not a bit true! Some girls are business-like and some aren’t.
                    Some men are sentimental and muddle-headed, others are clear-headed and logical. There are just different types of brains. Sex only matters where sex is directly concerned.’

                    My rating: A+ (Don’t delay, get your hands on a copy of this book)

                    About the author: Agatha Christie was born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller on 15 September, 1890, in Torquay, Devon, in the southwest part of England. The youngest of three siblings, she was educated at home by her mother, who encouraged her daughter to write. As a child, Christie enjoyed fantasy play and creating characters, and, when she was 16, moved to Paris for a time to study vocals and piano. In 1914, she wed Colonel Archibald Christie, a Royal Flying Corps pilot, and took up nursing during World War I. She published her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in 1920; the story introduced readers to one of Christie’s most famous characters—Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. In 1926, Christie released The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, a hit which was later marked as a genre classic and one of the author’s all-time favourites. She dealt with tumult that same year, however, as her mother died and her husband revealed that he was in a relationship with another woman. Traumatized by the revelation, Christie disappeared only to be discovered by authorities several days later at a Harrogate hotel, registered under the name of her husband’s mistress. Christie would recover, with her and Archibald divorcing in 1928. In 1930, she married archaeology professor Max Mallowan, with whom she travelled on several expeditions, later recounting her trips in the 1946 memoir Come, Tell Me How You Live. The year of her new nuptials also saw the release of Murder at the Vicarage, which became another classic and introduced readers to Miss Jane Marple. Poirot and Marple are Christie’s most well-known detectives, with the two featured in dozens of novels and short stories. Other notable Christie characters include Tuppence and Tommy Beresford, Colonel Race, Parker Pyne and Ariadne Oliver. Writing well into her later years, Christie wrote more than 70 detective novels as well as short fiction. Though she also wrote romance novels under the name Mary Westmacott, Christie’s success as an author of sleuth stories has earned her titles like the “Queen of Crime” and the “Queen of Mystery.” Christie can also be considered a queen of all publishing genres as she is one of the top-selling authors in history, with her combined works selling more than 2 billion copies worldwide. Christie was a renowned playwright as well, with works like The Hollow (1951) and Verdict (1958). Her play The Mousetrap opened in 1952 at the Ambassador Theatre and—at more than 8,800 showings during 21 years—holds the record for the longest unbroken run in a London theatre. Additionally, several of Christie’s works have become popular movies, including Murder on the Orient Express (1974) and Death on the Nile (1978). Christie was made a dame in 1971. In 1974, she made her last public appearance for the opening night of the play version of Murder on the Orient Express. Christie died on 12 January, 1976.

                    Appointment with Death has been reviewed at Mystery File, Joyfully Retired, Mysteries in Paradise, Books Please, In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, ahsweetmysteryblog, and Do You Write Under Your Own Name? among others

                    Harper Collins UK publicity page

                    Harper Collins US publicity page

                    Agatha Christie Official Website 

                    Notes On Appointment With Death


                    Cita con la muerte, de Agatha Christie

                    Sinopsis: Entre los imponentes acantilados rojos de Petra, como un monstruoso Buda hinchado, se encontraba el cadáver de la señora Boynton. La pequeña marca de un pinchazo en su muñeca era la única señal de la inyección fatal que la había matado. Con tan solo 24 horas para resolver el misterio, Hercules Poirot recordó un comentario fortuito que había escuchado en Jerusalén: “¿No ves acaso que debe ser asesinada?” La señora Boynton era, de hecho, la mujer más detestable que había conocido jamás.

                    Más sobre esta historia: Cuando el cadáver de la señora Boynton es descubierto entre los acantilados de Petra, Hercule Poirot recuerda las palabras de uno de sus hijastros: “¿Acaso no ves que debe ser asesinada?” En plena forma, Poirot se da 24 horas para resolver el caso.

                    Una de las muchas historias de Agatha Christie inspiradas en sus viajes por Oriente Medi, nos ofrece también un aspecto diferente de Poirot. De hecho, cuando apareció por primera vez la historia, serializada en el Daily Mail en 1938 bajo el título A Date with Death, iba precedida por un artículo original sobre su relación con su detective y cómo ella llegóa a crearlo. También describía los principales intereses de Poirot en este caso particular: la “pasión por la verdad” del hombre que le pidió que se hiciera cargo del caso; el tecnicismo del límite de las 24 horas; y la psicología del motivo, “la fuerte personalidad perversa de la mujer asesinada”.

                    Fue publicada en forma de novela por Collins en mayo de 1938 y posteriormente sería adaptada varias veces. La primera fue en 1945 cuando Agatha Christie la adaptó para el teatro. Christie mantuvo el título, Cita con muerte, pero eliminó el personaje de Poirot y cambió la identidad del asesino.

                    En 1988 fue llevada a la gran pantalla, protagonizada por Peter Ustinov como Poirot. Veinte años más tarde fue adaptada para la televisión con David Suchet haciendo de Poirot, antes de ser dramatizada para la BBC Radio 4 en 2006, con John Moffatt en el papel de Poirot.

                    Mi opinión: “¿No ves acaso que tiene que ser asesinada?” es quizás una de las mejores frases iniciales de Christie, si no la mejor. La historia se desarrolla en el Oriente Medio , primero en Jerusalén y luego en Petra, donde los Boynton, una familia estadounidense, están de vacaciones. La familia está compuesta por la Sra Boynton, dos hijastros, una hijastra, su hija y una nuera. La señora Boynton, una mujer muy desagradable, ejerce una influencia tiránica sobre su familia con la excepción, quizás, de su nuera. Ninguno de ellos puede hacer nada sin su expreso consentimiento y todos ellos viven aislados del mundo exterior y asustados por su mera presencia. Ciertamente, la Sra. Boynton es una sádica mental que se complace en mantener aterrados a todos, ejerciendo un control brutal sobre sus vidas. En el segundo día de su visita a Petra, la Sra. Boynton aparece muerta. Lo que inicialmente parece ser un ataque cardíaco pronto se convertirá en una investigación de asesinato cuando Monsieur Poirot, que se encuentra entre el grupo de turistas, observa que el cuerpo de la víctima muestra una pequeña señal de una inyección en su muñeca, y comienza a investigar.

                    Aunque no es la primera vez, Agatha Christie parece haber desarrollado un mayor interés en la psicología de los personajes. Particularmente, en este caso, la personalidad de la víctima juega un papel importante en el desarrollo de la historia. La trama se desarrolla con precisión y, una vez más, Christie juega limpio con el lector. Todas las pistas están ahí para que todos las vean, pero hace un gran trabajo al distraer la atención del lector.

                    Aunque algunos críticos, como mi admirado Martin Edwards, son de la opinión de que la motivación del criminal en el libro es profundamente insatisfactoria. Me inclino más bien a pensar que Cita con la Muerte puede figurar entre las mejores novelas de Christie por las mismas razones que las descritas por ER Punshon en su reseña del 27 de mayo de 1938, principalmente lo ingeniosos de la trama y su construcción, lo inesperado del desenlace, la sutileza de los personakes y un ambiente fascinante. No obstante, es cierto que Agatha Christie no se sintió especialmente satisfecha con el desenlace y lo modificó en su dramatización posterior.

                    No quisiera dejar de destacar aquí un aspecto importante de esta novela, cuando Christie pone en palabras de Sarah King sus propios puntos de vista:

                    “No estoy de acuerdo” dijo Sarah. ‘Es agradable cuando cualquier ser humano consigue lograr algo que merece la pena; no importa lo más mínimo si se trata de un hombre o de una mujer. ¿Por qué debería importarnosí?
                       ‘Lo siento, pero odio esta diferenciación entre sexos. “La mujer moderna tiene una actitud totalmente profesional o formal con respecto a la vida“. Afirmaciones como ésya no son en absoluto  ciertas! Algunas mujeres la tienen y otras no.
                       Algunos hombres son sentimentales e ilógicos, otros son calculadores  y lógicos. Solo hay diferentes tipos de cerebros. El sexo solo importa en lo que concierne directamente al sexo”.

                    Mi valoración: A+ (No se demore, consiga un ejemplar de este libro)

                    Sobre la autora: Dame Agatha Christie, (15 de septiembre de 1890 – 12 de enero de 1976) fue una escritora inglesa de novelas policíacas y románticas. Es más conocida principlamente por sus historias de detectives, incluyendo dos personajes tan diferentes como son Miss Marple y Hercule Poirot. Está considerada la escritora con mayor éxito de ventas de todos los tiempos. Solo se reconoce que la Biblia ha superado sus ventas de aproximadamente cuatro mil millones de copias en todo el mundo. Sus obras han sido traducidas a más idiomas que cualquier otro escritor individual.

                    Review: The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding: A Hercule Poirot Short Story, 1960 (Hercule Poirot Series), by Agatha Christie

                    Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

                    HarperCollins, 2013. Format: Kindle edition. File size: 2413 KB. Print length: 240 pages. ASIN: B00D64I4VY. eISBN: 9780007526680.

                    51JKB5skh7LBook description: Asked to investigate an incident that needs to be dealt with discretion, Poirot reluctantly agrees to spend Christmas in the countryside with the Laceys. Dreading the cold and traditional English fare Poirot attempts to locate a missing ruby in order to save a kingdom…

                    More about this story: When a priceless ruby, belonging to a Far Eastern prince, is stolen from him whilst he is on a visit to England, Poirot is asked to make a quiet investigation. The ruby was destined for the prince’s bride-to-be and a scandal must be avoided. Poirot does Christmas the English way, pursuing a case at the same time. This story was originally much shorter and appeared under the same title in The Sketch magazine, December 1923. This lengthened version wasn’t to appear in print until 1960, in the collection of the same name. It appeared in 1961 in the US collection Double Sin and Other Stories, under the title The Theft of the Royal Ruby. It was also published in 1997 in While The Light Lasts (UK) and The Harlequin Tea Set and Other Stories (US), titled The Christmas Adventure.

                    The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding was adapted under the American name The Theft of the Royal Ruby. The story was slightly altered.

                    The story was adapted for TV in 1991 and used the US title of the story. It starred David Suchet as Poirot. It appeared as a two-part episode in the Japanese anime series Agatha Christie’s Great Detectives Poirot and Marple on NHK in 2004. The story was also dramatised for BBC Radio 4, under the original UK title, in 2006, John Moffatt reprising his role as Poirot.

                    My take: The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding is an expanded version of the story of the same name which appeared in issue 1611 of The Sketch magazine on 12 December 1923. The original shorter version was first printed in book form in the UK in the two obscure collections Problem at Pollensa Bay and Christmas Adventure (Todd 1943) and Poirot Knows the Murderer (Polybooks 1946) and was then eventually reprinted in book form in the UK collection While the Light Lasts and Other Stories in 1997 under the title Christmas Adventure. The expanded version was first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club on 24 October 1960 in a short story collection The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and a Selection of Entrées that also included: The Mystery of the Spanish Chest,The Under Dog, Four and Twenty Blackbirds, The Dream, and Greenshaw’s Folly. The expanded version also appeared, after publication of the book, in the weekly magazine Women’s Illustrated from 24 December 1960 to 7 January 1961 under the alternative title of The Theft of the Royal Ruby with illustrations by Zelinksi. The story first appeared in the US in Double Sin and Other Stories in 1961 also under the title of The Theft of the Royal Ruby with some slight revisions to the UK version. The original shorter version has so far not been published in the US.

                    In this brief account, almost the size of a novella, the story revolves around the robbery of a priceless ruby pertaining to a young Hindu prince who, in a rather reckless manner, had handed it out to a young woman of whom he believed being in love with. Poirot is thus forced to leave his comfortable apartment to spend Christmas with the Laceys in their country house to recover it. As recognised by Agatha Christie herself, ‘The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding is an indulgence of my own, since it recalls to me, very pleasurably, the Christmases of my youth.’ As a result I believe we can forgive Agatha Christie for her whim, not exempt of sense of humour. A sort of  ‘divertimento’, if you prefer. What I fail to understand is what was the need to publish this short story in a separate volume when it is already available in a short story collection of the same title. Anyhow, it’s not among her best short stories, a genre in which, in the view of many, Agatha Christie seldom excels.  Even though I must admit I’ve not read many of her short stories, but there’s is one in particular I’ve in high esteem,  Accident.

                    My rating: C ( My expectations have not been met)

                    About the author: Born on September 15, 1890, in Torquay, England, Agatha Christie published her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in 1920, and went on to become one of the most famous writers in history, with mysteries like The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926), Murder on the Orient Express (1934), The ABC Murders (1935), Death on the Nile (1937), And Then There Were None (1939). She sold billions of copies of her work, and was also a noted playwright and romance author. She died on January 12, 1976.

                    Harper Collins UK publicity page

                    Harper Collins US publicity page

                    Agatha Christie Official Website 

                    Notes On The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding


                    Pudding de Navidad, de Agatha Christie

                    Descripción del libro: Cuando le solicitan investigar un incidente que debe ser tratato con suma discreción, Poirot acepta a regañadientes pasar la Navidad en el campo con los Lacey. Temiendo el fio y tradicional menú inglés,  Poirot intenta localizar un rubí perdido para salvar un reino …

                    Más sobre esta historia: Cuando un rubí de incalculable valor, perteneciente a un príncipe del Lejano Oriente, es robado durante su visita en Inglaterra, se solicita de Poirot que realice una investigación discreta. El rubí estaba destinado a la novia del príncipe y se debe evitar un escándalo. Poirot celebra la Navidad al estilo inglés, al tiempo que investiga un caso. Esta historia era originalmente mucho más corta y apareció publicada en la revista The Sketch, diciembre de 1923, con el mismo título. Esta versión más extensa no fue publicada hasta 1960, en la colección del mismo nombre. Se publicó en los Estados Unidos en 1961 en la colección que lleva por título Double Sin and Other Stories, con el título The Theft of the Royal Ruby. También se publicó en 1997 en While The Light Lasts (Reino Unido) y The Harlequin Tea Set and Other Stories (EE. UU.), Titulada The Christmas Adventure.

                    Pudding de Navidad fue adaptada bajo el nombre estadounidense The Theft of the Royal Ruby. Con el argumento alterado ligeramente.

                    La historia fue adaptada para la televisión en 1991 y se utilizó el título norteamericano de la historia. Protagonizada por David Suchet en el papel de Poirot. Apareció formando parte de un episodio dividido en dos partes en la serie animada japonesa Agatha Christie’s Great Detectives Poirot y Marple en la NHK en 2004. La historia también fue dramatizada por la BBC Radio 4, bajo el título original inglés, en 2006, con John Moffatt volviendo a representar el papel de Poirot.

                    Mi opinión: Pudding de Navidad es una versión ampliada del relato breve del mismo nombre que apareció en el número 1611 de la revista The Sketch el 12 de diciembre de 1923. La versión original más corta apareció por primera vez publicada en forma de libro en el Reino Unido en dos colecciones poco conocidad Problem at Pollensa Bay and Christmas Adventure (Todd 1943) y Poirot Knows the Murderer (Polybooks 1946) y más adelante fue reeditada con formato de libro en la colección inglesa While the Light Lasts and Other Stories in 1997 con el título de Christmas Adventure. La versión ampliada se publicó por primera vez en el Reino Unido por Collins Crime Club el 24 de octubre de 1960 en una colección de cuentos The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and a Selection of Entrées que incluían también: The Mystery of the Spanish Chest,The Under Dog, Four and Twenty Blackbirds, The Dream, and Greenshaw’s Folly. La versión ampliada también apareció, después de la publicación del libro, en la revista semanal Women’s Illustrated del 24 de diciembre de 1960 al 7 de enero de 1961 bajo el título alternativo de The Theft of the Royal Ruby con ilustraciones de Zelinksi. La historia apareció por primera vez en los EE. UU. En Double Sin and Other Stories en 1961, también bajo el título de The Theft of the Royal Ruby, con algunas ligeras alteraciones respecto de la versión británica. La versión original más corta no se ha publicado hasta ahora en los EE. UU.

                    En este breve relato, casi del tamaño de una novella, la historia gira en torno al robo de un rubí de valor incalculable perteneciente a un joven príncipe hindú que, de manera bastante imprudente, se lo entregó a una joven de la que creía estar enamorado. Poirot se ve obligado a abandonar su cómodo apartamento para pasar la Navidad con los Laceys en su casa de campo para recuperarlo. Como reconoció la misma Agatha Christie, Pudding de Navidad es una capricho mío personal,  ya que me trae muy gratos recuerdos de mi juventud.’ Como consecuencia, creo que podemos perdonar a Agatha Christie por su capricho, no exento de sentido de humor. Una especie de ‘divertimento‘, si lo prefieren. Lo que no entiendo es cuál era la necesidad de publicar este relato en un volumen separado cuando ya está disponible en una colección de historias cortas con el mismo título. De todos modos, no se encuentra entre sus mejores relatos breves, un género en el que, en opinión de muchos, Agatha Christie no suele detacar. Si bien debo admitir que no he leído muchos de sus relatos, pero hay uno en particular que tengo en alta estima, Accidente.

                    Mi valoración: C (No se han cumplido mis expectativas)

                    Sobre la autora: Nacida el 15 de septiembre de 1890 en Torquay, Inglaterra, Agatha Christie publicó su primera novela, El misterioso caso de Styles, en 1920, y se convirtió en una de las escritoras más famosas de la historia, con misterios tales como El asesinato de Roger Ackroyd (1926), Asesinato en el Orient Express (1934), El misterio de la guía de ferrocarriles (1935), Muerte en el Nilo (1937), Diez negritos (1939). Vendió miles de millones de copias de su trabajo. Fue también una notable autora de obras de teatro y de novelas románticas. Falleció el 12 de enero de 1976.