Talk:The Clocks

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Colin Lamb's parentage?[edit]

What evidence is there that Colin 'Lamb' is Superintendent Battle's son? I'm willing to believe it but it would be helpful if the article mentioned the evidence for this theory. Drfryer (talk) 22:44, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Anne Hart, in her work Poirot: the Life and Times of Hercule Poirot (Harper Collins 1997), makes this suggestion. See Chapter 6, note 6: "It is likely that Colin Lamb, who operated under an assumed name, was the son of Superintendent Battle, Poirot's old friend from Cards on the Table". (talk) 01:22, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Character list from previous edit[edit]

An anonymous editor took a lot of trouble to produce the following list of characters which I am replacing in my own edit with a list more in keeping with the general style of such lists. I append it here for those who are interested.

  • Edna Brent-She realized too late that some of the facts the police recorded were sheer fiction.
  • Miss Martindale-President of a secretarial school her testimony on events was accurate to the precise minute--too accurate.
  • Sheila Webb-Her routine life was livened by an extremely dead corpse when she arrived at a strange house filled with very familiar objects.
  • Mr. R.H. Curry-It seemed that he came to the Crescent just to keep an appointment with murder.
  • Miss Pebmarsh-A blind teacher, her knowledge of Braile was even more useful outside the classroom.
  • Colin Lamb-He followed the wrong address and stumbled in to the wrong crime; in fact, everything looked upside down, until he viewed it that way.
  • Dick Hardcastle-A Detective Inspector, he had the ability to amass the important facts--not analyze them.
  • James Waterhouse-He seemed too timid to be involved in murder--unless he could be certain that the result would be greater than the risk.
  • Miss Waterhouse-A stern and matter-of-fact woman, she managed her household and her brother with equal ease.
  • Mrs. Hemming-Totally absorbed in caring for her cats, she was unaware of being a next-door neighbor to murder.
  • Josiah Bland-A builder, his life was like the houses he constructed-everything looke dmore or less all right from the outside.
  • Valerie Bland-A nervous woman who seemed to enjoy her role as a semi-invalid, she told the police more than she realized.
  • Mrs. Ramsay-A harassed housewife, she never asked questions when she knew she didn't want to hear the ansers.
  • Mrs. McNaughton-She was so anxious to help out the police that she would have given them any information--true of false.
  • Mr. McNaughton-A retired professor, he seemed so hale and hearty that his friends thought it odd when he resigned his Chair--on the ground of death.
  • Hercule Poirot-An armchair detective, his stanard formula of C=S enabled him to see through the complex to the simple--the very simple because it all had happened before.

--Sordel 14:34, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

That sounds a lot like the character list that appeared at the front of the book. (It's been many years since I read it, so I can't remember if it's the same.) Ralphmerridew (talk) 01:03, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Colin's message on the scrap of paper M and 61 first, or W and 19 first?[edit] This is confusing. I read the book as an audiobook, and it was very clear that Colin first read the message as M, followed by 61 and a sketch of a crescent shape, and could make no sense of it. At the end of the story, he turned the scrap of paper the other way to read the M as W, which then made sense as Wilbraham Crescent, with the address as 19 not 61, and 19 Wilbraham Crescent was the address of Miss Pebmarsh, the person he sought. I have not seen an edition of the book with the image of the message in it. I cannot find an image of the scrap of hotel note paper on line, so far, and do not have the book on paper, a reliable early edition. I do not want to edit-war, but this change makes no sense to me, at Is the image as first mentioned on line anywhere? --Prairieplant (talk) 05:10, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

Hello Prairieplant. Here's an image of the note. The hotel address gave the assumed orientation, but when Colin sees Hardcastle's upside-down hotel-stationary note at the end, he realises his error. There's no discussion in Chapter 6 of the possibility of it being an "M", so it looks like your audiobook was misleading.

The unsourced original research I added was that the "M" referred to "Millicent." (talk) 11:19, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

Then the reference to Millicent should go, as that is not in the text. I will look for the text in the library, as my curiosity is up. I know that publishers make mistakes when reissuing a book, it has been a small problem in other novels from the 20th century, and one editor reads an earlier edition while another editor reads a later edition with words spelled differently. The audiobooks are usually read from a first edition, so I have not run into such errors before. That sketch is persuasive, though it does not show it as part of the book. Anyway, that is a resolution for now. Thanks for your reply. --Prairieplant (talk) 20:57, 12 August 2017 (UTC)
Christie strongly implies that M = Millicent by reintroducing her first name at the start of Chapter 29 (and once more later in the chapter), after using only "Miss Pebmarch" after the initial stating of her full name in Chapter 2.
From Chapter 29:
I went up to the front door and rang the bell.
Miss Millicent Pebmarch opened it.
Directly stating that M = Millicent would probably have been too unsubtle.
The question is whether and how to mention this in the article. You've left in my addition of Pebmarch's first name when she is first mentioned, and perhaps this is enough for article readers to join the dots.
I scanned that image from my 1981 paperback (1966 first impression). (talk) 07:42, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
I think we can leave it as it is. Your first post called it an unsourced notion that M is for Millicent, and I think unsourced & original are the key words from that post. Thanks for letting me know that you scanned the image from your 1981 paperback edition of the novel. If you find a reliable source that discusses this device in the plot, then that will open new possibilities. It is usual to use colons to separate each level of the discussion on the Talk page, so I have used them in place of the hr notation you used. --Prairieplant (talk) 04:12, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
Not everything on an encyclopedia has to have a third-party source. If there is consensus on a common-sense reading of the source material, that can be stated directly. I think that is the case with the "M", but an explicit explanation would add to the problem of a too long plot summary. ::: (talk) 05:03, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
I think we agree. I am going to re-read the novel in the next week or two, so this is straight in my own mind. --Prairieplant (talk) 12:27, 19 August 2017 (UTC) I think there is an error in your sketch and you failed to read the text above the sketch. I have a library copy of the book, published by Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins in 2011, ISBN 978-0-06-207381-5. It shows the diagram on page 50 in Chapter 6, and there is the Hotel Barrington name and address, the crescent shape, 61, and M. Miss Pebmarsh states her first name in Chapter 1, and it is said again in Chapter 3, so there was no effort to hide her first name before the end of the novel. The text on page 50 (4 pages into Chapter 6 Colin Lamb's Narrative) of the edition I hold right now, is "but I'm pretty sure there's something to find. I don't know what 61 means. I don't know what M means. I've been working in a radius from Portlebury outwards. Three weeks of unremitting and unrewarding toil. Crowdean is on my route. That's all there is to it. Frankly, Dick, I didn't expect very much of Crowdean. There's only one Crescent here. That's Wilbraham Crescent. I was going to have a walk along Wilbraham Crescent and see what I thought of Number 61 before asking you if you'd got any dope that could help me. That's what I was doing this afternoon—but I couldn't find Number 61." The sketch of the information on the piece of hotel stationery follows. When Hardcastle, Colin Lamb and Poirot meet in a Crowdean hotel room (near the end of Ch 28 Colin Lamb's Narrative), Hardcastle takes an address down on hotel stationery, and writes with the hotel name at the bottom of the page, alerting Colin to turn his scrap of a message around to show W and 19. He says "Staring at the sheet of paper, I knew what a fool I had been." It pays to read Agatha Christie stories carefully before changing the plot summary. Thanks for giving me the chance to read the novel again, I enjoy it. So, I have changed the plot summary to say M and 61 at the start, and this discussion is closed. --Prairieplant (talk) 10:35, 26 August 2017 (UTC)