I read it again last weekend, maybe fifteen years after the last time I did it. As happened with Murder in Mesopotamia, I found it quite enjoyable and better than I remembered. The only think I can argue it's not top-quality Christie (apart from the silly title, which sounds quite bad and does not make any favour to the story) is the bit far-fetched plan SPOILER as it is quite unbelievable that the rucksack strategy can go on indefinitely in all airports, always finding someone with the same exact one. Anyway, another thing that stroke me: how on Earth did Poirot guess that SPOILER Mrs Vanilos was Valerie's mother? No clue or explanation is given anywhere


  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    This Book is OK, Not Brilliant, Fairly Average really, I agree, how are we supposed to know that the lady was Valeries Mother?
  • It's fine, but not her best. And I also have doubts about the ending.
  • GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States

    About the only clue I can remember about Valerie's parentage is how deeply she's affected when she learns about Mrs. Nick's death.
  • tudestudes Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    About the only clue I can remember about Valerie's parentage is how deeply she's affected when she learns about Mrs. Nick's death.
    Besides, as far as I remember the story, I think she's the only one that is not a student. It's not a good clue, but this and her reaction (about Mrs. Nick's death) could have done a clue to Poirot to guess the truth about Valerie (and maybe not a good one). But, again, I don't remember the book in details.
  • I think Poirot may have seen a family resemblance, and furthermore guessed on the basis that it was odd that she was the only non-student in the house. Maybe there was a quatier that people in her line of work used to choose for rooms, and it just didn't fit that she should be living in student digs. 

    There is also the aspect of why someone would 'get into bed', so to speak, in crime with somebody else that they had no reason to trust. It maybe didn't add up without some stronger bond to bind the key players.
  • JS88JS88 Peterborough
    Just finished Hickory Dickory Dock and I have to agree the Valerie/Mrs Nik link is somewhat out of the blue and the whole criminal enterprise a little far fetched. I also have an idea that a few of these later Poirot novels have only had Poirot crowbarred into them at the publishers insistence. Another obvious example in my opinion is Taken at The Flood. Both these stories could run along quite well, possibly better, without the esteemed Belgium detective and wonder if, as they formed in Christies mind they did. This view is reinforced in my mind as I start Dead Mans Folly. It simply 'feels' like a Poirot story from the first page, and also in the forword, it explains that when the original short form of this story did not sell, Christie swapped out Poirot and put in Marple to allow the wordcount to reduce and make it marketable as a short story, and re writing the Poirot version up to novel length.
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