In Agatha Christie’s One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, Hercule Poirot reluctantly goes to see the dentist, Dr. Morley, only to get a telephone call a few hours later from Inspector Japp that Morley is dead, from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot. Certain that his dentist did not commit suicide, Poirot investigates on his own, discovering potential intrigue related to another patient, Alistair Blunt, a leader in Britain’s banking world. Then another patient dies of an overdose of an anesthetic, and everyone assumes Morley had made this mistake, realized his fatal error, and shot himself in remorse. Everyone except Hercule Poirot of course!
This story gets rather intricate at this point, with several subplots running parallel to each other, but the key concern is the disappearance of Miss Maybelle Sainsbury Seale, another patient of Morley’s that morning who had recently returned to England after a long stay in India. It was the loss of her shoe buckle in front of Poirot that inspired the title based upon the nursery rhyme. I believe that this is the first Poirot book to make use of a nursery rhyme as a thematic element that guides the plot and gives the book its title. This is a device Christie employed numerous times throughout her writing.
This book, published during the darkest days of World War II, in November 1940, reflects some of the negativity of the era and also deals with some of the conflicting political views that would have liked to tear down the British government, such as fascism and anarchy, as well as the conservative traditionalist trying to maintain things as they have always been. The book feels a bit less unified and scattered than most of Christie’s other books.
Hugh Fraser, as always an excellent narrator, performs an excellent rendition of this book that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Despite the fact that sometimes it got confusing trying to keep all the characters straight, I really enjoyed One, Two, Buckle My Shoe and give it for stars.
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