“Miss Lemon,” he said.
“Yes, M. Poirot?”
“There are three mistakes in this letter.”
His voice held incredulity. For Miss Lemon, that hideous and efficient woman, never made mistakes. She was never ill, never tired, never upset, never inaccurate. For all practical purposes, that is to say, she was not a woman at all. She was a machine – the perfect secretary. She knew everything, she coped with everything. She ran Hercule Poirot’s life for him, so that it, too, functioned like a machine.
Order and method had been Hercule Poirot’s watchwords from many years ago. With George, his perfect manservant, and Miss Lemon, his perfect secretary, order and method ruled supreme in his life. Now that crumpets were baked square as well as round, he had nothing about which to complain.
Square crumpets?! Have I missed these so far?
Anyway, to the book… Hickory Dickory Dock was a fun read, in which Miss Lemon gets some page time. The story is set in 1955 in London and Miss Lemon is worried about her sister and the strange goings on at the hostel where her sister works: Things have gone missing.
In order to return to a life of normalcy and perfection, Poirot offers to help Miss Lemon’s sister solve the mystery of the disappearing items.
Hickory Dickory Dock is a great story to note the differences in Christie’s writing between the pre- and post-war periods. This story is set in the 50s, and the bright young things are now less decadent and more international. The youth comes across in Christie’s dialogues reasonably well, but the international aspect made me cringe.
Let’s face it, despite her efforts, Christie just was not great at writing characters from non-English backgrounds.
Still, it was fun watching Poirot solve this, even if sometimes you just want to kick Poirot in the shins.
Hercule Poirot nodded understandingly. It seemed to him appropriate that Miss Lemon’s sister should have spent most of her life in Singapore. That was what places like Singapore were for. The sisters of women like Miss Lemon married men in business in Singapore, so that the Miss Lemons of this world could devote themselves with machine-like efficiency to their employers’ affairs (and of course to the invention of filing systems in their moments of relaxations).