When a series of apparently minor thefts plagues a university hostelry run by Miss Lemon's sister, Poirot is recruited to investigate. Celia Austin, a pharmacological major, confesses that she is a kleptomaniac and responsible for most of the thefts but denies stealing several objects including a stethoscope, light bulbs, and a student rucksack. Furthermore, she claims to know the other thief and vows to help return the missing items. Unfortunately someone substitutes an overdose of morphine for one of her sleeping powders, and she takes the identity of the thief to the grave. Japp connects the murderer's m.o. with a cold case he had investigated ten years earlier, but the prime suspect in that crime, a powerful statesman, now lies dying in a local hospital. Despite numerous obstacles, Poirot is able to link the killing to an international diamond smuggling ring but not before the murderer claims more victims. Written by
G. Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It all begins with a series of thefts of seemingly unrelated objects in a hostel for students on Hickory Road, London. Concerned for her sister, who is the housekeeper there, Miss Lemon asks Hercule Poirot to look into the matter. He agrees, but soon the stakes get higher when a girl, who had admitted that she was responsible for most (not all) of the thefts, is found murdered.
"Hickory Dickory Dock" is a solid brain exercise, without being as mind-numbingly complicated as "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe". Murder, theft and diamond smuggling are the crimes involved, and the final twist that ties everything together is revealed only in the last 2 minutes! The characters are interesting, particularly the psychology student Colin McNabb and the mysterious American girl Sally Finch, Inspector Japp has his funny moments (in perhaps the closest this series has come to "toilet humor"), and Miss Lemon gets a more integral part to the story than usual. (***)
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