In Agatha Christie’s Hickory Dickory Dock, Hercule Poirot works with Inspector Sharpe to find out who killed one of the residents of a hostel. As a part of the investigation, Sharpe interviews the various residents. This is what one of them has to say:
‘‘There’s a lot of spite about here, Inspector.’
The Inspector looked at him sharply.
‘Now what exactly do you mean by a lot of spite about?’
But Nigel immediately drew back into his shell and became noncommittal.
‘I didn’t mean anything really – just that when a lot of people are cooped up together, they get rather petty.”
And there’s something to that. In this case, the hostel’s residents aren’t trapped. But there is a certain lack of privacy. That, plus the fact that they’re disparate people, adds tension to the story, and creates an interesting atmosphere.
Of course, Christie isn’t the only crime writer…
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