When Beautiful Carla Lemarchant is ushered into Hercule Poirot's room and asks for his assistance in solving the murder of her father, Poirot certainly has a strange case ahead of him, for this murder happened sixteen years ago! With Carla's mother tried and subsequently convicted for the crime.
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At the time of the murder Carla is only five years old and after the death of her father Amyas, she is shipped off to Canada to start a fresh life with her Uncle and Aunt. It is only when she reaches the age of maturity and is planning to marry her fiancÚ that she receives a letter written many years earlier by her mother Caroline from prison who assures Carla that she did not kill her husband. Caroline died in prison shortly after her conviction.
The Crale marriage was a stormy one, Amyas an up and coming artist was constantly having affairs with other women but Caroline seemed to accept them as they never lasted. His latest however was rather different. A young girl called Elsa Greer is installed in the household ostensibly to be painted by Amyas, Elsa soon however starts to drop very heavy hints that she and Amyas are deeply in love and that he wishes to leave Caroline for her. The friction comes to a head at dinner, where with several friends present, a heated row can be heard and Amyas storms off down the garden to his workshed. Shortly after Caroline follows him down with an iced bottle of beer. A while later when Amyas fails to reappear Caroline informs everyone she will go and find him but she doesn't allow anyone to accompany her.
Caroline then rushes back up to the house in a state of agitation, she has just found Amyas sitting in the battery garden, Dead!
The police are subsequently called in and after a search of the house a bottle of coniine (a preparation of Spotted Hemlock) is discovered concealed in a drawer in Caroline's bedroom. Caroline is subsequently arrested and charged with the murder, where at her trial she puts up no defence whatsoever and is found guilty.
Now Carla wants to know the truth. Can Poirot solve a case that is sixteen years old? Did Caroline indeed murder Amyas out of revenge as was put forward by the prosecution, or could it possibly have been one of the guests at dinner? If so why did Caroline not put up any form of defence?
The review of this Book prepared by Mike Jones