The Cloade family has always financially depended upon Gordon Cloade, the sole member of the family who was really wealthy. His brother Lionel, a doctor, counted on him to finance his scientific experiments, Gordon sent money to their sister every three months or so and Rowley, the future husband of Lynn, Gordon's niece, knew that Gordon would help him extend his farm after the war. So, when Gordon Cloade, after a transatlantic cruise, comes back to London and tells them that he's just married Rosaleen, the 25 years old widow of Robert Underhay, it's a shock for the Cloade family. And when Gordon dies, two days later during an air raid, without having had the time to modify his will, it's truly a tragedy.
Rosaleen is Gordon's sole heir and, with her no good brother, David Hunter, moves in Gordon's lustful estates. The Cloades, used to be supported by Gordon, try to draw off money from Rosaleen but soon David convinces his sister to stop wasting time and money for them. A few days later, David Hunter is contacted by a man who tells him that Robert Underhay could very well be still alive, somewhere in Africa. David accepts to pay the blackmailer but must leave town at once when the man is found dead in his hotel room. Lynn's fiancÚ, Rowley, decides then to ask the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot to come to Warmsley Vale and try to prove that the blackmailer was Robert Underhay himself. Poirot quickly finds an old friend of Underhay, the Colonel Porter, who identifies his friend. The following day, the Colonel Porter commits suicide (or not), and the police is forced to release David Hunter who has an alibi. When Rosaleen also dies, poisoned, Hercule Poirot will start his own investigation. First published in 1948.
This report prepared by Daniel Staebler