Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

Miss Lemon must confess her weakness for Mother Goose. Baa, Baa Black Sheep, Little Miss Muffet, The Cat & the Fiddle ... there's something about the whole gang that is at once rakish and delightful.

Most intriguing, however, are those Mother Goose rhymes that take a murderous turn -- which is exactly what happens in Agatha Christie's One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (1940).

M. Poirot, having just conquered his fears of the dentist chair in 58 Queen Charlotte Street, trips lightly into the path of Dr. Morley's next patient. Nothing unusual for Poirot to remark about her, other than her double-barreled surname (Sainsbury Seale), a slovenly tint job and a great silver buckle that has just dislodged itself from her shoe.

Will that buckle become the first in a series of ominous clues to a game of murder?  Suffice it to say that the corpses pile up faster than a child can learn to count to twenty.

It's fortunate that Miss Lemon's dear friend, Chief Inspector Japp, is there to provide M. Poirot with just the right amount of opposition to set him on the track of a murderer.

As in most all of Mrs. Christie's novels written and published in the 1940s and '50s (see Taken at the Flood, for another example) readers will find herein snappy dialogue, a sense of humour, and a narrative pace that zings right along. Add to that a bit of espionage, covert identity, intricate plotting, and a neat parallel to the old Mother Goose rhyme, "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" and you have a most amusing way to pass a rainy April evening.


  1. Elizabeth, as you're on Christie at the moment, I wondered if you had happened upon this interesting piece on her writing method at Slate.

  2. I've only read a few Agatha Christie novels but enjoyed them all

  3. Thank you both for your comments. Miss Lemon is sedulously studying the Secret Notebooks as we speak! John Curran's work is quite intriguing -- though one has to watch for spoilers -- alas!

  4. What a fantastic premise for a blog! I just came over from Elizabeth Spann Craig's Mystery Writing is Murder, and I'm glad I did. I love a good Christie book...And I am advancing through other British writers as well--P.D. James and Dan Waddell to name just two.


  5. Elizabeth - - I have an award for you here

  6. I loved 'One, Two, buckle my shoe' when I read it many years ago. I think it was only about the third or fourth Poirot novel I'd read at the time. (I was working my way through the rather limited collection available at my school library). Your post makes me want to read it all over again. :-)

  7. I re-read One, two Buckle my Shoe for the third time yesterday- it is a fantastic story!!!

    As are almost all Dame Christies`.

    Came over from Michele's blog, and am now following you.

    ~ Rayna

  8. Welcome, Rayna. There's always room for another fan of Dame Agatha!