Monday, February 20, 2012

Problem At Sea - Agatha Christie

Theme: Murder on The Seas

Name of the story: Problem At Sea
Author: Agatha Christie
Source: The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories, Poirot's Early Cases
Story Number: 51
Hercule Poirot is not enjoying his voyage to Egypt but that doesn't stop him from observing the odd mannerisms of the English. He is most interested in Colonel Clapperton and his wife, a disagreeable woman who holds all the strings and the husband is only a puppet; leaving everyone wondering why he doesn't "take a hatchet to her". Miss Henderson who shows quite an interest in the Colonel is the other character which interests Poirot on this ship which is about to berth in Alexandria.
When the ship reaches the shores of Alexandria the next morning, a couple of young girls coax the Colonel to go ashore but he decides to get his wife's permission and the whole troop including Poirot (who wants to see the curious scene that will be played out) approach the Clapperton's cabin only to find it locked from the inside. His wife is heard saying that she is sick and doesn't want to go ashore and that she has locked the cabin from inside so as not be to disturbed by the stewards. Poirot, Miss Henderson and a few others stay on board where as Clapperton accompanies the girls to check out the city and when he comes back in the night, they end up forcing open the door to find that Mrs. Clapperton has been stabbed with a native dagger, dead for more than 5 hours, a string of amber beads found on the floor of the cabin to suggest the presence of a bead seller.
But Poirot, who has anticipated the crime all along believes that the culprit to this locked cabin mystery is closer at hand and is one of the ship's passengers. When Miss Henderson challenges Poirot, he says that he has his own "methods" and very shortly he uses them to unravel the villain - a story where the author takes her time in setting up the trick and the clues to unravel them, and the case is solved in a very short time after the corpse is discovered.

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