During a game of Murder Hunt at a fete, the supposedly fake murder victim turns out to really dead! And no one knows who the killer is and why the simple, ordinary girl is murdered. Even Hercule Poirot is defeated by the murderer at first, and he has to give up and return to London. It takes another death to get him to finally put all the clues together and solve the case.
This is such a convoluted tale of murders, mistaken identities and plot twists; I pity the detectives who have to work on this kind of case should it ever happen in real life. Christie is very much in her comfort zone here. In fact, I think I’ve detected some similarity to some of the characters from her previous mysteries. She even gives away a hint of the murderer through a casual remark of said character’s trait by another character.
I only rate this two stars because the half first of the novel is too boring for me with all the nonstop dialogues and chatter between the numerous characters. Even the solution to the mystery feels slightly far-fetched. [Completely ridiculous to think that there’s no one else left who would recognize that George is actually James.]
Nonetheless, all well that ends well. It is fun to follow Poirot as he investigates. This book is also one of the few books in which Poirot is less arrogant and actually admits his defeat (though he does catch the murderer later on). Ariadne Oliver is also a delight to read. Her interactions with Poirot are what make this book, in my opinion.