Notes On Partners In Crime

Rating: 3.5 out of five

Year of Publication: 1929

Motive for Crimes: Wealth

Mission: Intelligence


Tuppence’s thirst for adventure is fulfilled when Mr. Carter makes a surprise visit to the Beresfords’s home. He proposes Tommy taking over the now defunct ‘The International Detective Agency’ after the capture of Theodore Blunt, whose activities abroad are linked to a famous Russian agent ‘16.’ Tommy is to continue Blunt’s being a private detective while looks out for any blue letters with a Russian stamp on them. As soon as it turns up, the Beresfords must forward it to Mr. Carter.

Handling an array of interesting cases, from the missing girlfriend to an unbreakable alibi, the husband and wife are encountered with a series of fascinating and unprecedented events. Dangers also loom over them from their secret adversaries.

Franscesca Annis as Tuppence and James Warwick Tommy in 1983’s TV series.

Can the duo amateur sleuths accomplish the mission: to capture no. 16?


Young Adventurers, Ltd.  makes a come back as ‘Blunt’s Brilliant Detectives’ – the couple’s slogan for the firm they run.  Six years after Jane Finn’s affair (see Notes On The Secret Adversary), Mrs. Beresford’s grey cells require exercise.  Playing her part as a demure but very effective secretary, Tuppence shows the same agility and perceptive mind tackling  a curious incident.

This second book of Tommy and Tuppence series has the same light-hearted touch of the sleuthing world as the previous one, published seven years earlier. Moving fast from one case to another, fourteen in total, their beguiling nature will thrill readers to no end. With sleeping enemies and a dangerous mission to achieve, some ‘hiccups’ are bound to happen along the way.

The husband might be the head of the firm, but the wife decides what matters. Or rather, a weary  husband who quietly disagrees the risky steps being taken by his indomitable wife. Nonetheless, she is apt in inventing the first case with a help of an old acquaintance; a good intention on her part that hurts a man’s pride. Tommy then scores in the second case, having found a way to prove the innocence of two people inspired Dr. John Thorndyke.  Summing up, he says: ‘My learned friend forgets. Thorndyke never tells until the last moment. Besides, Tuppence, you and your pal Janet Smith put one over on me last time. This makes us all square.’

Tuppence’s quick-thinking and Tommy’s cautious approach are the opposite attract that make the collaboration a success. Mind, Albert, the page boy Tuppence recruited to watch Rita Vandermeyer in The Secret Adversary comes handy when either of them are in tight places. Furthermore, every prospective client is fed with the agency’s credentials the moment they have stepped into the office. More importantly, his talk is as good as his act as he saves Tommy and Tuppence’s life on separate occasions.

The best aspect of the book is the duo’s humour in role-playing by enlisting various names in the crime genre. Taking his hat off after finding a missing pink pearl, Tommy wears another as Father Brown in The Man In The Mist, being the American McCarthy, trying his hand as Holmes in the mix-up of the US Ambassador’s kitbag on board a liner and Desmond Okewood. Meanwhile, although Tuppence is either Watson or Hastings, she seems to have more imagination than the sidekicks and takes an unexpected move when the net is closing in for No. ’16.’

Father Brown, GK Chesterton’s empathetic character has been adapted on the BBC and the new series were broadcast last January 2013. Mark Williams stars as the protagonist.

My favourite case is The Curious Telegram (I invent the title myself).  A Pole explorer who has returned having been away for two years’ expedition feels something is amiss when he received a telegram from his fiancée. Why didn’t she wish to meet him? After he leaves the office Tuppence points out that the county’s name has been written on the county’s name, which is not a common practice. Her hunch finally leads to the discovery of the ‘missing fiance’ whom has checked herself in into a clinic in Essex.  Furthermore, the scene in which Tuppence looks into the room by climbing the ladder will recall readers’ mind to the similar doing of hers while indentifying Jane Finn’s whereabouts in a nursing home. Above all, what amuses me is not the strange premises, but the very reason as to why the explorer’s fiancée has hidden herself in such establishment.

Full of Christie’s dry wits and humour, this book is nevertheless was written during an extremely difficult time in her life. Kudos to her, quadruple thumbs-up that she kept on writing and most significantly that not an iota of resentment is drawn against the opposite sex. In fact, she encourages the equal partnership between a man and a woman. As far as I am concerned, her hinting at her ordeal is expressed through the Beresfords’s stressing of not taking a divorce case.

In fact, she sent the message of her resilience in the ending. After Tuppence regains her consciousness, Tommy says,‘… we’re going to give it up now, aren’t we? ‘Certainly we are.’ He gives a sigh of relief. ‘I hoped you’d be sensible. After a shock like this..’ ‘It’s not the shock. You know I never mind shocks.’ He murmurs, ‘A rubber bone – indestructible.’ ‘I’ve got something better to do. Something ever so much more exciting. Something I’ve never done before.’ Another project, anyone? You bet.

Lastly, I wish there were more details about No. ’16.’ Who is the agent? As this is not deliberated, I hardly believe she might have been Countess Vera Rossakoff, Poirot’s so-called woman. In the following I omit The Most Fascinating Character owing to her being the perfect criminal and on a par with the fellow whodunits in Sad Cypress, After The Funeral and By The Pricking of My Thumbs (see my respective Notes on the three novels).

The Details of each case in the order of their appearance:

1.       The Missing Girlfriend:

Plot: A man in love is astounded by the sudden disappearance of a woman, of whom he has taken interest in. As usual he waits for her outside a hat shop where she works, but she has not came to work that day. He then seeks her in her lodging and she has not come back the night before.

In despair, he turns to the agency, having remembered about its advertisement on the paper mentioned by the woman. Can Tuppence keep her promise to find her in twenty-four hours?

Cast of Characters:  Lawrence St. Vincent (the client) and Jeanette (a.k.a. Janet Smith)

The Twist: Miss Smith is an ex-nurse, of whom Tuppence acquainted during the Great War and now works in a hat shop

2.       The Missing Pink Pearl:

Plot: A guest’s valuable pearl is missing when she stays at the Kingston-Bruces’s home, The Laurels. Beatrice Kingston-Bruce steps into Blunt’s Detectives office recommended by Lawrence St. Vincent, of whom happens to know the family and was at the house at that time.

Having heard the brief of the case, Tuppence notices that the young woman has not told her everything.

Cast of Characters:

– Elise (Lady Laura’s maid)

– Gladys Hill (the parlour maid at the Kingston Bruces’s house The Laurels)

-Mrs. Hamilton Betts (American, the owner of the pink pearl who stays at The Laurels)

-The Kingston-Bruces (father, mother and Beatrice the daughter)

-Lady Laura Barton (a guest staying at The Laurels)

– Mr. Rennie (Beatrice’s friend)

The Twist: Beatrice and Mr. Reinnie suspect one another for stealing the pearl

3.       The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger

Plot: A doctor describes strange occurrences about the letter and the false summon he had to Tommy and Tuppence. Nonetheless, the client’s eyes somehow glance at a blue envelope arrived moments before. After he left, the couple examines the Russian stamp on it whereby number sixteen appears.

As promised, Tommy goes to the client’s house in Hamsptead at night. Little does he know what awaits him there.

Cast of Characters:

Dr. Charles Bower (a.k.a Carl Bauer)

Inspector Dymchurch

The Twist: Tommy inadvertently pockets a silver cigarette case engraved  ‘Francis from Tuppence’ that is supposed to be Tuppence’s present for her friend’s wedding

4.       The Three Arts Ball

Plot: In a costume party Tuppence realises that a woman, dressed as The Queen of Heart,  has been stabbed with a small dagger and is barely alive. ‘Bingo did it…,’ she says in a strained whisper and shortly afterward dies. She refers to Captain Hale, the deceased’s husband’s best friend.

Franscesca Annis as Tuppence is resplendent in the twenties’ dress

The next day, the deceased’s husband, Sir Arthur Merivale comes over to ask Tuppence about his late wife’s last words. For he had no idea that his late wife would have come to the party.

Did the captain kill her?

Cast of Characters:

Sir Arthur Merivale (the husband)

Lady Merivale (the deceased)

Captain’Bingo Hale (the main suspect)

The Twist: Sir Arthur jumps off the window of the agency’s office

5.       The Curious Telegram

Plot: A North Pole explorer turns up at the agency with a telegram in his hand. For he does not believe that it is from his fiancée, of whom upon his return after two years’ expedition has apparently not very keen to see him. Has she really gone to Monte Carlo for week as written on it?

Cast of Characters:

Gabriel Stavansson (the explorer)

The Honorable Hermione Crane (the fiancée, previously Mrs. Leigh Gordon)

Dr. Horriston (who runs The Grange, a clinic at Maldon, Essex)

The Twist: Mr. Stavansson dislikes a fat woman

6.       Blindman’s Bluff

Plot: A middle-aged man approaches Tommy and Tuppence’s table while they have lunch at the Blitz. Introducing himself as Duke of Blairgowie, he wants to consult them on the matter of the disappearance of his sixteen-year-old’s niece. Furthermore, he will give Tommy a lift back to the office while Tuppence, introduced as Miss Gange is left behind to arrange other matters.

In the car Tommy finds out that the man is an impostor, who knows his real name and the mission Blunt’s Detectives. What will Tommy do?

Cast of Characters:

–          Duke of Blairgowie

–          Captain Harker (the ‘Duke’’s companion)

–          Gregory (the chauffeur)

The Twist: The ‘Duke’ does believe that ‘Mr. Blunt’ is blind

7.       The Man In The Mist

Plot: Still wearing a parson’s outfit after solving a case, Tommy bumps into an old acquaintance, who happens to be in the same hotel in which the Beresfords were having tea. The other man introduces Tommy to his companion, a famous actress Gilda Glen. Presently she sends a letter to Tommy, asking for him to come to her dwelling at The White House.

Meanwhile, Tuppence is acquainted with a poet, of whom is the erstwhile boyfriend of Miss Glen. He remarks on her current relationship with a richer man. ‘And if she sells herself to that muck cheap, Leconbury – well, God help her. I’d as soon kill her with my own hands.’

When Tommy and Tuppence comes at the house at the agreed time, little do they know that the actress has already been killed. More importantly, they have met the murderer before entering the house.

Cast of Characters:

Ellen (Mrs. Honeycott’s maid)

James Reilly (the poet)

Miss Gilda Glen

Mrs. Honeycott (Glen’s sister, with whom she stays at The White House)

Marvyn Estcourt (a.k.a. ‘Bulger,’ the Beresfords’s acquaintance)

The Twist: Gilda Glen was married young at seventeen and now seeks divorce from her first husband to be able to remarry

8.       The Crackler

Plot: A case of counterfeit money brings the couple to a distinguished London club where the transactions allegedly have taken place before the forged notes brought across the English Channel. A certain man in position and power is suspected although nothing can be associated with the crime at a big scale.

The live and parties in the roaring twenties’ Britain.

When the party ends, Tommy, posing as a well-to-do young man with money to burn, follows his new friend, Mr. Reilly to Whitecapel. Through some dingy alleys Tommy goes straight into a lion’s den, which is the factory where the notes are produced. Can he escape in one piece?

Cast of Characters:

–          Hank Ryder (a rich American man)

–          The Laidlaws (a Major and French wife, Marguerite)

The Twist: Tommy has instructed Albert to follow him on a motorcycle if he goes with Ryder. The faithful ‘assistant’ then promptly alerts Inspector Marriot.

9.       The Sunningdale Mystery

Plot: Over lunch the Beresfords discuss the murder of Captain Anthony Sessle on the links. He was stabbed with a woman’s hatpin.  The last person to have seen him alive is his friend and partner in the insurance company, Hollaby. According to him the deceased was seen talking to a woman when he reached the sixth hole first. Afterwards it was noticed that the captain’s luck in the game changed and he left after the eighth hole.

A week later Dorris Evans is charged with the murder. To the police she said to have met Sessle at the cinema and had been invited to his bungalow Sunningdale, when there was nobody there. Moreover, she did not know that he was married. He then suggested their taking a stroll; she was walking  on the outskirt of the golf course when suddenly he brandished a revolver. They were then in a fight and she managed to free herself.

Whose story is the truth?

 Cast of Characters:

–          Mr. Hollaby (the deceased’s friend and partner at The Porcupine Assurance Co)

–          Mrs. Sessle

–          Mr. Hollaby’s son

The Twist: Dorris Evan never sees the body of Sessle’s

10.   The House of Lurking Death

Plot: Tommy’s attention is drawn to the headlines on newspaper:

‘Mysterious Poisoning Case. Deaths From Fig Sandwiches.’

For the victim, Lois Hargreaves, came the day before describing a box of chocolates she had received which contained a small dose of arsenic; enough to cause illness but not a fatal one.

Arrived in the village where Hargreaves used to live, Tommy and Tuppence interviews the doctor about the poisoning. At first they suspect Hargreave’s stepbrother, who benefits from her death. Nonetheless he also died on the same day despite having occurred on a separate occasion. Then, to the deceased’s friend who happened to stay over at the time of the tragedy.

Not until Tuppence meets another inhabitant of the house then she realises how the murderer has done it so far.

Cast of Characters:

–          Dr. Burton (the village doctor)

–          Hannah (the maid at Thurnly Grange)

–          Miss Logan (Lois’s late aunt’s companion)

–          Lois Hargreaves (the client, who inherits Thurnly Grange)

–          Mary Chilcott (Louise’s friend who stays over)

The Twist: Hannah keeps a textbook belong to Miss Logan in her room

An alley in East End London in 19th century. It is through one of these Tommy walks through with Mr. O’Reilly

  1. 11.   The Unbreakable Alibi

Plot: Mr. Montgomery Jones accepts a challenge from Una Drake to solve the mystery of her being at London and Torquay at the same time, on the same day. For he tries to impress her but does not feel to have the skills to explain the plausibility of the impossible.

Cast of Characters:

Mr. Le Marchant (Una’s friend who dines with her at the Savoy)

Mr. Montgomery Jones (the client, recommended by L.St. Vincent)

Mrs. Oglander (who sits next to Una’s table at the Savoy)

The receptionist, the chambermaid at the Castle Hotel in Torquay

The Twist: Miss Drake has a twin sister, who arrived in England from Australia

  1. 12.   The Clergyman’s Daughter

Plot: A priest’s daughter has inherited from a wealthy paternal great aunt, along with a big house. A man puts an offer to it, which she refuses. Then strange things occur, which suggests that her home is haunted.

Dr. O’Neill, whose great interest to the curious happenings in the house, is willing to buy the house for solving its mystery. What makes him increase his offer by £150?

While doing the search, Tuppence discovers a riddle among the great aunt’s papers:

My first you put on a glowing coal

And into it you put my whole

My second really is the first

My third mislikes the winter blast

What does it suppose to mean?

Cast of Characters:

Monica Deane (the client)

The gardener

The Twist: Miss Deane notices that Dr. O’Neill and the previous man who makes an offer to the house have the same gold tooth.

  1. 13.   The Ambassador’s Boots

Plot: Two identical kitbags with the same initials swap owners on board of Nomadic liner; one belongs to a senator and the other to the US Ambassador in Britain. Intriguingly, the senator denies having had the item among his luggage.

When enquired as to the content of the bag, the ambassador says that there were boots inside. ‘Silly case, this. Boots – you now. Why boots?’ asks Tuppence. ‘All wrong. Who wants other people’s boots?’

In their interview with the ambassador’s valet, he tells them that a woman happened to feel queer  outside his master’s cabin. He took her inside and left her alone to fetch a doctor, which took some time. Nonetheless, a witness came forward, saying that she actually pretended to be fainted and was seen to have slipped something in the lining of the ambassador’s boot.

Cast of Characters:

Cicely March (the witness, a.k.a. Ellen O’Hara)

Randolph Wilmott (the US Ambassador)

Richards (Wilmott’s valet)

The Twist: The valet sees a tin of bath salts in the senator’s kitbag

  1. 14.   The Man Who Was No.16

Plot: When Tuppence realises that the leaf of the office calendar is days forward, Sunday 16th,  she thought Albert has made a mistake. The evidence in the wastepaper basket is a contrast. Shortly afterwards a Russian prince goes in, of whom, after an exchange of secret phrases with Tommy, comes clean about his identity.

While the prince takes Tuppence for lunch, Tommy meets Mr. Carter to brew the plan. For he realises that the prince is no.16. Having understood what Tuppence has risked, the Chief reassures the other that his wife is in safe hands; that two agents have been assigned to follow her and No.16 into the prince’s hotel suit. Then all of a sudden they lose track of their targets.

Cast of Characters:

Prince Vladiroffsky (the Russian prince)

Mrs. Van Synder (American, who occupies suit No.318)

The Twist: The Prince is not no. 16

Notes On Poirot’s Early Cases

Rating: 4.7 out of five

Year of Publication: 1974

Motive for Murder: Wealth / Woman / Identity


 ‘Truth is stranger than fiction’ –

in The King of Clubs

 These seventeen cases of the famous little Belgian man mean to rediscover the brilliance of Christie’s story-telling skill. Personally, I feel I have found the ‘twin’ of Poirot Investigates (see the previous note) owing to the same references which the two books share – mostly are names. Needless to say, there are also similarities in the plot as well as the kind of crimes that have been committed.

What makes me wonder is Poirot’s Early Cases was published fifty years after the other. What made the authoress postpone it? To begin with, it does seem that it might have been written after Poirot Investigates. The first paragraph of Hastings’s in the opening case appears to indicate such, which runs as follows:

‘Pure chance led my friend Hercule Poirot, formerly chief of the Belgian force, to be connected witj the Styles case. His success brought him to notoriety, and he decided to devote himself to the solving of problems in crime. Having been wounded on the Somme and invalided out of the Army, I finally took up my quarters with him in London. Since I have a first-hand knowledge of most of his cases, it has been suggested to me that I select some of the most interesting and place them on record. I cannot do better than begin with that strangle tangle which aroused such widespread public interest at the time. I refer to the affair at the Victory Ball.’

Furthermore, The Double Clue describes the circumstances of Poirot’s meeting  Countess Vera Rossakoff (further details are in the plot in the other section). His client, a collector and connoiseur, describes the countess as ‘a very charming Russian lady, a member of the old regime.’ Poirot’s gentleman touch in handling a jewel thief is bewildering, yet it his remarks to Hastings at the end of the story that is witty: ‘A remarkable woman. I have a feeling, my friend – a very decided feeling – I shall meet her again. Where, I wonder?’

An illustration of Poirot and Countess Rossakoff for ‘The Capture of Ceberus’ written in 1939, which is entirely different from a story with the same title in The Labours of Hercules. Sixty years afterward the Daily Mail published the story about a dictator, August Hertzlein who represents Adolf Hitler.

Hence their reunion in The Big Four (see the Notes) and in The Captures of Ceberus (see Notes on The Labours of Hercules) in which he returns her favours. Arguably, it is deduced that he has fancied her over the years, for the countess then has never been caught while Poirot does not sound to be keen at the idea.

Meanwhile, not only does The Affair At the Victory Ball attract the public at large but also it is the early formulation of the enigmatic Mr. Harley Quin. For the setting of the story is a murder at a costume party in which the attendees wear costumes from Commedia dell ‘Arte characters. Then the murderer takes advantage of the situation by establishing a convincing alibi. Nonetheless, he makes a mistake: a dead body cannot lie.

The Plymouth Express will jog readers’ mind to the plot of The Mystery of The Blue Train (see the Notes). To my mind, the short story works better than the than the novel as it has the right pace and there are not too many characters. What I like most is Christie’s dry humour in the denouement; the last sentences of Poirot’s. ‘The good Japp, he shall get the official credit, all right, but tough he has got his [whodunit’s name], I think that I, as the Americans say, have got his goat!

A break to the countryside brings the trio Hastings-Japp-Poirot to Market Basing. Soon it is ruined by a curious suicide case of Walter Protheroe. Has the names rung a bell to you, readers; the market town’s name near St. Mary Mead and the same surname in The Murder At The Vicarage (see the Notes)?

Speaking of chocolates, no doubt readers will remember that Christie has made quite a few references to cocoa in her novels. Take the example of an elderly woman at a nursing home who  eats a chocolate filled with Arsenic in Three-Act Tragedy. In Peril At End House, the murderer tries another attempt to  …….. by sending a box of chocolates with Poirot’s card enclosed. In The Chocolates Box, however, Poirot recalls his failure in a case to Hastings while he was a detective in Belgium. Nonetheless, what is the relation between the death of a French Deputy, a devout Catholic which occurs after dinner and the shortage of Trinitine tablets belonged to one of the guests whom stays over at the deceased’s house?

Third Girl (see the Notes) seems to be inspired by he Third-Floor Flat in which a woman is shot and the body is hidden under the curtain. Although the motive and the circumstances are entirely different, the basic plot remains the same. Whilst in the sixties’ novel an ordinary girl comes to Poirot because she thought she had killed someone, in the short story Poirot offers his assistance when an occupant of a flat two floors down from his has been killed.The Submarine Plan and The Market Basing Mystery are another examples of recurring plots, of which are then extended in The Incredible Theft and Murder In The Mews (see Notes On Murder In The Mews).

At this stage I must admit that sometimes it disappoints me a bit to have noticed the same ingredients and taste used in ‘a dish of crime’ of Christie’s. On the positive note, it is fascinating to realise that an occurrence and a character can be depicted from a different angle. Besides, her sharp observation of the changing world and the aptness to embrace –  or her subtle rejection to some of them – are eloquently expressed.

Anyhow, impostors and fake alibis are aplenty; from a broke aristocrat man who sees a fake kidnap as a way out to a multi-faceted man whose mask is lifted before the end of a voyage; from thefts at a grand scale to Poirot’s tale of acquiring shares in a Burmese steel mine for his fee.

Interestingly enough, the world of the City and investment seem not to bear a good impression to the authoress.  The Adventure of Clapham Cook, The Lost Mine and The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly are those which pinpoint the dark sides of bankers and financiers. Such is also highlighted in Poirot Investigates in The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim.

One thing that is most fascinating is Christie’s firm objection about superstition and medium. The King of Clubs and The Lemesurier Inheritance sees to them, for through both stories she seems to have wished to dispel the myths of a hundred years curse and a medium’s words of warning (‘Beware of the kings of clubs. Danger threatens you!’).

If anything, the above notion is a contrast to The Hound of Death and The Mysterious Mr.Quin. For she regards unintelligible events with an air of solemnity which borders to sadness.  More importantly, it is a depart from the light-hearted mood found in the books previously published, particularly the banters among Poirot, Hastings and Inspector Japp. I am intrigued whether   the unfortunate event in 1926 has had something to do with the change of mood in her writing.

Anyhow, Wasps’ Nest and How Does Your Garden Grow are two favourites of mine. The former story sees Poirot’s quiet act to prevent a murder, just as what he does to Hastings in Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case. In the latter story,  the use of a nursery rhymes which has ‘cockle shells’ in it is marvellous; who would ever thought of such a method of smuggling poison? Unfortunately, this kind of deceiving approach does not recur in the novels. I only remember a similar kind of association in Four-and-Twenty (see Notes On The Adventure of The Christmas Pudding).

To sum up, some lines from Hamlet below might suit:

The ghost I have seen

Maybe the devil: and the devil hath power

To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps

Out of my weakness and my melancholy,

As he is very potent with such spirits.

Abuses me to damn me

The Plots, Cast of Characters and The Twists in the order of appearance:

1.     The Affair At The Victory Ball

Plot:  Two deaths in the same night of Lord Cronshaw and a famous actress who attends a ball wearing Harlequin and Columbine costumes attract the attention of public. Whilst ‘Harlequin’ is stabbed with a table-knife, his lover has an overdose of cocaine.

To Poirot Inspector Japp consults the matter and shows him a small pompom of emerald green silk taken from the clenched hand of the dead Viscount.

Commedia dell’ Arte masks


The Davidsons (who attend the ball as Pierrott and Pierrette)

The Honourable Eustace Beltane (who succeeds the title as Lord Cronshaw, dressed as Punchinello)

Inspector Japp

Mrs. Mallaby (dressed as Pulcinella)

The Twist:

The doctor who examines Lord Cronshaw’s body is amazed by the stiffening of the limbs of the deceased despite having been informed that the deceased was alive ten minutes before.


2.     The Adventure of The Clapham Cook

Plot: A rather hysterical woman sees Poirot and declares the urgency to find her cook. ‘A good cook’s a good cook – and when you lose her, it’s as much to you as her pearls are to some fine lady.’

The next day, to the sleuth’s utter dismay, the client wishes to cease the investigation and enclose a guinea for a consultation fee. Will Poirot accept the money and the missing cook? What does it relate to the disappearance of a blank clerk with fifty-thousands pounds in cash?


Annie (the maid at the Todds‘s house)

Eliza Dunn (the missing cook)

Mr. Simpson (a bank clerk in the City who pays for dinner at the Todds)

The Todds (the husband works in the City and the wife, of whom she asks Poirot to find the cook)

The Twist:

Elizabeth Dunn’s trunk is packed and corded before she gives an abrupt notice to her employer.


3.The Cornish Mystery

Plot: ‘I’m dreadfully afraid I’m being poisoned,’ says an anxious middle-aged woman who comes Polgarwith in Cornwall. Poirot’s arrival the next day is half an hour’s late: the woman has just died thirty minutes before.

Who is to blame: the husband who has an affair with his young secretary; a niece who has had a row with the deceased about her infatuation with a man twenty years her junior or the man concerned, of whom he is engaged to the niece?


Freda Stanton (Mr.Pengelley’s niece who lives with the Pengelleys)

Mrs. Pengelley

Jacob Radnor (The Pengelleys’ friend, Freda’s fiance)

The Twist:

The killer does not know that Mrs. Pengelley has asked Poirot to investigate  


4.     The Adventure of Johnnie Weaverly

Plot: A three-year-old boy, an heir of Marcus Waverly, one of the oldest families in England, has been kidnapped from his house. Three threatening letters prior to the incident were received, along with the increasing demand of ransom to fifty-thousand pounds.

A visit to Waverly Court brings to light a priest’s hole, which only the parents of the boy and a long-standing butler know. As Poirot and Hastings observes the tiny room, the Belgian looks at a mark in a corner – four imprints close together. ‘A dog,’ Hastings cries. ‘A very small dog.’ ‘A Pom.’ ‘Smaller than a Pom.’ ‘A griffon?’ ‘Smaller even than a griffon. A species unknown to the Kennel Club.’ Hastings sees the other’s face is alight with excitement and satisfaction.

What does Poirot mean in his last sentence?


The Waverlys (the parents of the kidnapped boy)

The Twist:

Marcus Waverly knows that his wife never likes the butler

5.     The Double Clue

Plot: A plea comes from a collector whose rubies and an emerald necklace have vanished during a dinner party in his house. Of all the attendees, there are four suspects; a Russian countess, an English dame, a South African millionaire and an acquaintance of the host. Who has seemed to have stolen the stones?

In the safe where they used to be kept, there is a glove and a cigarette case. While a suspect admits that it is his, he denies the initials on the case as his. And yet, the answer to the latter problem lies in First Step of Russian book.


Bernard Parker (an acquaintance who finds wanted items for Hardman)

Marcus Hardman (a collector, the host of the dinner party)

Lady Runcorn

Countess Vera Rossakoff (one of the guests)

The Twist:

Countess Rossakoff does not intend to drop her cigarette case


6.     The King of Clubs

King of Clubs – the missing card in the Oglanders’s bridge game.

Plot: This time a Russian prince enquires Poirot to seek the truth behind the killing of an impresario, of whom is connected to the prince’s fiancée, Valerie Saintclair. The deceased has blackmailed her to reveal her true identity to the prince.

Nonetheless, he is afraid of that his fiancee has hit the deceased in a fit of rage, as she was present at his villa on the night of the murder.

The next day, Saintclair tells Poirot about a tramp who was hiding behind the curtain and attacked the deceased. Afterwards the tramp leaves and she runs out of the house into a cottage where a family has been playing the bridge.

Will Poirot find the murderer?


Count Paul Feodor (Valerie’s fiancé)

The Oglanders ( lives in a cottage near Reedburn’s)

Valerie Saintclair (a famous dancer)

The Twist:

The Oglanders play the bridge without the king of clubs


7.     The Lemesurier Inheritance

Plot: A plea from a woman who worries about three accidents to his elder son brings Poirot and Hastings to the home of the Lemesuriers. Prior to that, years before, they met the husband, Hugo, whom was present when a fatal accident then occurred to his cousin, the father of Hastings’s acquaintance.

Legend has it that the old family has been cursed for hundred years. Furthermore, Poirot’s observation of the house leads him to his discovering that the curse is simply a myth encouraged by an insane mind whom is willing to take life of his own blood.


Gerald Lemesurier (Hugo’s younger son)

Hugo Lemesurier (Ronald’s father)

John Gardiner (Hugo’s secretary)

Mrs. Lemesurier (Ronald’s mother)

Roger Lemesurier (Vincent’s cousin)

Ronald Lemesurier (Hugo’s elder son)

The Twist:

There are only Hugo’s words that Ronald has been stung by a bee


8.     The Lost Mine

Plot: A financier urges Poirot to recover documents relating to the sale of an ore mine in Burma. They have been brought into Britain by a Chinese man, Wu Ling, who came to Britain to negotiate the sale.  After his arrival at Southampton he was seen to have checked in at the Russel Square Hotel in London.  On the day of the meeting he did not come and later on was found died.

Suspicion is then drawn to a passenger on board the liner Wu Ling was in. The man is arrested but the relevant documents are not with him. Instead he said to the police that he had meant to meet the deceased at the hotel but he did not turn up. His servant offered to take the suspect to where his master was. Yet, the deceased had travelled alone.

Does it make Lester a murderer nevertheless?


Charles Lester (who is on the same boat with Wu Ling)

Inspector Miller

Mr. Pearson (Poirot’s client, the financier)

The Twist:

Mr. Pearson gives false account of not having met Wu Ling at Southampton.


9.     The Plymouth Express

Plot: When Lieutenant Simpson cannot put his suitcase under the opposite seat on the train, he stoops down to see what the obstacle is. A cry and a halt are in order afterwards, for a body of a daughter of an American magnate was found.  Flossie Carrington (nee Halliday) was on her way to Torquay and with her was a jewel case whose contents worth a fortune.

According to her maid, she was told to take the luggage out and wait in Bristol. Furthermore, there is a husband whose financial situation does not look promising and an ex-lover, of whom the deceased intended to have met.

Who has lied to Poirot?


Count Armand de la Rochefour (Flossie’s former lover)

Ebenezer Halliday (the American magnate, Flossie’s father)

Inspector Japp

Jane Mason (Flossie’s maid who travels with her mistress)

The Honorable Rupert Carrington (Flossie’s estranged husband)

The Twist:

The maid keeps the outfit the deceased has worn on the day – a white fox fur toque with white spotted veil and a blue frieze coat and skirt.


10.                        The Chocolate Box

Plot: A young woman approaches Poirot while he is on holiday. For she believes that her cousin’s husband, a very senior politician in Belgium, has been poisoned. Nor she thinks that the doctor’s verdict of heart failure is satisfactory. The man, of whom she has known well, had a clean bill of health.

What can Poirot do after three days when the police have done with the crime scene and he can no longer see the body nevertheless? From her he learns about the household, which consists of the client, the deceased’s mother, long-standing servants and the presence of two guests at the time.

Poirot’s observation brings about his noticing a large box of chocolates whose contents have not been touched but the colour of the lid is mismatched with the box.  From the old servant he gathers that the deceased used to be fond of sweets and eat them after dinner. On the day, the deceased finished a box and the one that is present is the new one.

Not until the sleuth sees an English chemist who prescribes little tablets of Trinitrines for John Wilson and shows him the tablets does he begin to see how the deceased was poisoned with the overdose of them.

Whom, among the people in the house, has poisoned him?


Francois (the old servant)

Mrs. Deroulard (the deceased’s mother)

John Wilson (an English businessman, one of the guests who stays over)

M. de Saint Alard (one of the guests, a neighbour of the deceased in France)

Virginie Mesnard (the late deceased’s wife’s cousin who lives in the house)

The doctor

The Twist: Mrs. Deroulard has cataract in both eyes


11.                        The Submarine Plans

Plot: In the small hours Poirot and Hastings are summoned to the residence of the Minister of Defence. The plans of the new Z type of submarine have been stolen. It was discovered late at night after the guests of the dinner the Minister has hosted retire to bed.

The Minister then asked his secretary to take out the highly-confidential documents and put it on the desk in the study. He heard a scream and went out of the room; a guest’s French maid was standing on the stairs with her hands over her head.

Meanwhile, the Minister says to have seen a shadow slip out of French windows from the room the secretary had been in while having had a stroll up and down the terrace with his friend. Nonetheless, the friend contradicted the other’s saying.

Who has told the truth?


Lord Alloway (a.k.a. Sir Ralph Curtis, Minister of Defence)

Mrs. Conrad (a socialite, Lord Alloway’s friend)

Fitzroy (Lord Alloway’s secretary)

Sir Harry Weardale (an Admiral, Lord Alloway’s friend)

Leonard Weardale (Sir Harry’s son)

Leonie (Mrs. Conrad’s French maid)

Lady Juliet Weardale (Sir Harry’s wife)

The Twist:

Lady Juliet takes much longer time to produce the stolen documents to Poirot


12.                        The Third-Floor Flat

Plot: A misplaced flat key brings an adventure to two young men who go into the service lift. But they enter the wrong flat one floor down. When they finally get into the right one, they open the door for their two friends whom have been waiting outside. Patricia Garnett points out to one of the men that there is blood on his hands. ‘Hullo, what’s up? You haven’t hurt yourself badly, have you?’ asks the first male. ‘I haven’t hurt myself at all,’ said the second male.

Curiosity brings them back to the third-floor flat. This time one of them spots a woman’s foot under the heavy curtains.

Poirot turns up at Garnett’s door, offering his service to the matter. What does he make of it?


Donovan Bailey (Patricia’s friend, of whom she fancies)

Jimmy  (Pat’s other friend, her secret admirer)

Mildred Hope (Pat’s other friend)

Patricia Garnett (the flat’s owner at the fourth floor)

The Twist:

Two clues found in the crime scene: a note from J.F. and a silk handkerchief


13.                        Double Sin

Plot: A leisure trip to Charlock Bay from Dartmoor by bus introduces Hastings to Mary Durrant. The young woman with auburn hair works for her aunt, Elizabeth Penn, whom owns an antique shop. She says that her aunt has trusted her with five hundred pounds worth of Cosway miniatures to a potential buyer.

Exmouth Promenade by Brett Humpries. Exmouth might be the imaginary ‘Ebermouth’ where Poirot and Hastings have lunch with Marry Durrant on their way to ‘Charlock Bay.’

To her amazement, having arrived in Charlock Bay and checked-in into a hotel, she finds out that the miniatures are missing. She appeals Poirot to find them.


J. Baker Wood (the buyer)

Mary Durrant (the woman who loses the miniature)

The Twist:

Elizabeth Penn’s business is in a bad state


14.                        The Market Basing Mystery

Plot: A doctor is not convinced that a dead man he has been examined has committed suicide.  Although in the room where the deceased was in, the door had been locked from the inside and the windows are bolted.

Walter Protheroe is a recluse who has lived in a house in Market Basing for eight years. It is his housekeeper who raised the alarm to the police as she had not been able to get answer to her knocking her employer’s room. Recently Protheroe had visitors, Mr. and Mrs. Parker, whom the deceased did not look pleased at all to have received them in the house.

A break in the countryside for Poirot, Hastings and Inspector Japp has come to an end. In the crime scene, Poirot notices that the grate is filled with cigarette stubs but there is no smell of tobacco.

Be that as it may, Protheroe is not the deceased’s surname.


Miss Clegg (the deceased’s housekeeper)

Dr. Giles (the doctor who examines Walter Protheroe)

Inspector Japp

Constable Pollard (of Market Basing police)

The Twist:

The Parkers blackmails Protheroe for his taking part in the blowing-up of the Navy’s first class cruiser in 1910


15.                        Wasps’ Nest

Plot: An old acquaintance of Poirot’s is surprised when the Belgian pays a visit to him. What is more is the claim that the detective has come to prevent a murder and shall need the other’s help.

Furthermore, he tells Poirot of his friend’s coming to take out a wasps’s nest. ‘Ah! And how is he going to do with it?’ asks Poirot. ‘Petrol and the garden syringe,’ replies the other. ‘There is another way, is there not? With cyanide of potassium?’ The other looks a little surprised. ‘Yes, but that’s rather dangerous stuff. Always a risk having it about the place.’

How does Poirot concern himself with the removal method of a wasps’ nest?


Claude Langton (John’s friend, of whom Poirot has met before)

John Harrison (Poirot’s old acquaintance)

The Twist:

Harrison tells Poirot that Langton will come at nine o’clock.


16.                        The Veiled Lady

Plot: An aristocratic woman who has recently engaged to a duke comes to Poirot with a story of her being blackmailed for an incriminating letter, of which will jeopardise the prospect of her marriage.

‘Veiled Lady’ by Raffaelo Monti, an Italian sculptor, author and poet (1818-1881).

The blackmailer has apparently hidden the letter in his house. Using Japp’s credentials, Poirot manages to go into the house and unfasten the window for his plan. Later at night he takes Hastings on the thorough search to find the letter in a Chinese box.

When the client calls in the next day, he gives the letter and says, ‘I had hoped, milady, that you would permit me to keep it [the box] – also as a souvenir.’ He insists and further on opens the bottom of the case and takes out four large glittering stones. ‘The jewels stolen in Bond Street the other day, I rather fancy. Japp will tell us.’ The inspector himself comes out of Poirot’s bedroom.

Who is actually the woman?


Lady Milicent Castle Vaughan (the client)

The Twist:

The client wears the wrong pair of shoes for a lady.


17.                        Problem At Sea

Plot: On board the ship heading for Alexandria, Egypt, the Carringtons become a talk among other passengers. For the wife, formerly the widow of Lord Carrington, has married to a man the society perceived below her class and younger. Her demeanour furthermore fits to a queen as she demands constant attention from her husband.

Most passengers then go on an excursion trip in Alexandria, but Mrs. Clapperton and Hercule Poirot. When Mr. Clapperton is back in the afternoon, his knocking to his wife’s cabin goes unanswered. He calls a steward for a key to their utter shock. On her bunk bed she lies with a dagger through her heart. A string of amber beads is on the floor of her cabin.

Was her murderer one of the Egyptian bead sellers who come on board that day or a passenger on the ship?           


Passengers on board the ship:

Ellison Henderson

General Forbes

Colonel John Clapperton (Adeline’s husband)

Kitty and Pam (two young girls)

The Twist:

John Clapperton before the war was a ventriloquist.



18.                        How Does Your Garden Grow?


Miss Lemon, the superefficient secretary, has to go to a village outside London for a change. She needs to enquire a fishmonger how much fish has been ordered on the day Amelia Barrowby died. For a large dose of strychnine was found inside the elderly woman’s body and it amazes Poirot how a bitter-taste liquid has successfully passed the deceased’s mouth without her complaining.

Pauline Moran stars as Miss Lemon on ITV’s Poirot series for many years.

As for the Delafontaines, the wife is Barrowby’s niece, of whom the deceased used to live with them and help with the upkeep of the house. Furthermore, she brought with her a nurse attendant who will inherit her fortune upon her death.

Suspicion lies at the nurse attendant as she has the motive. Nonetheless, does she have the will to kill her charge?

When Poirot visited the Delafontaine’s house for the first time, he remembers walking up a path  with neatly planned beds on either side and looking at the last bed which was partly edged with shells. He then murmured nursery rhymes:

Mistress Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With cockle-shells, and silver bells,

And pretty maids in a row

What links Miss Lemon’s task and the above children’s song?


Amelia Barrowby (the client)

The Delafontaines (Henry the husband and Mary the wife

Katrina Rieger (Russian, Barrowby’s nurse attendant)

Inspector Sims (of Rosebank police)

Miss Lemon (Poirot’s secretary)

The Twist:

The Delafontaines brings a dozen and a half oysters as a little treat for their aunt after dinner

Notes On Poirot Investigates

Rate: 4.5 out of five

Year of Publication: 1924

Motive for Murder: Wealth


Disguise, the trick of the mind and minute details are the highlights of the eleven cases of Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings’s.

In the postwar Britain, an eccentric foreigner and his war hero sidekick have never been short of jobs.  Various clients come in and out of his flat, demanding the ex-detective in the Belgian police force to take ‘little problems’ of theirs without having to involve the police.

To begin with, an American film star Mary Marvell has received threat letters concerning a diamond in her possession in The Adventure of The ‘Western Star.’ Is it true that unless the stone is reunited with its twin that the curse might fall on Marvell? A curious case over the death of a man who, a few weeks prior to his death, has insured his life for a very large sum attracts an insurance company. Did he die naturally or having committed a suicide? Poirot is then sent for establishing the nature of the death and later finds an intriguing story told during the dinner.  Nonetheless, a spell of spy in The Adventure of The Cheap Flat is quite a contrast Poirot indulges himself in renting a flat at an extortionate amount of rent just to catch a suspect.

Knightsbridge, Central London – 21st century. ‘Montagu Mansions’ off Knightsbridge is where the below-the-market flat acquired by the Robinsons.

Furthermore, a murderer plays a little game of disguise in order get away from the murder of an old man with means (The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge). What is more, a robbery is not a robbery, but merely a trick for a coverage in the front pages in The Million Dollar Bank Robbery. A woman whose fiancée is accused of having stolen the bonds determines to get to the bottom of it.  Who is one to believe: bankers at the London Scottish Bank or the man in charge of guarding the bonds with his life on board of a liner heading for New York?

The authoress does not forget to splash a  touch of superstition in The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb. Interestingly enough, the Belgian is oblidged to undergo a journey to Cairo accompanied by the faithful Hastings with a view to dispel the curse of King Men-her-Ra. Be that as it may, what makes Poirot say ‘I will put it plainly. Was any act committed by those four men which might seem to denote disrespect to the spirit of Men-her-Ra?’

A woman who comes sooner than expected to her hotel room has ruined the plan of a gang of jewel thieves. But for Poirot’s eye of a faint square mark on a table in the opposite room,  the swift act of the gang would not have been revealed. Christie’s brush with politics in The Kidnapped Prime Minister puts forward an Irish descendant Chief Inspector Detective at Scotland Yard in the hot seat. Being the driver for the PM during the kidnap, O’ Murphy is suspected to ‘have his finger in the pie’ for the kidnapping, particularly that he, along with Captain Davies, the PM secretary then disappear. Poirot is given a carte blance to find the PM in twenty-four hours.

When a well-known financier has not come back for three days after having been seen to have walked out of his house, there seems to be the possibility of a foul play. Yet, as Poirot looks at the content of his safe which have gone missing, The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim reveals the fact that he is still alive. What is the relationship between his hobby of collecting precious stone and a tramp caught of having pawned the other’s gold ring?

A chat with a neighbour is interrupted when an Italian nobleman, the neighbour’s patient dies from having been struck on the head by a marble statue. The lift attendant says that the deceased has apparently dined with two foreign gentlemen in his flat. Yet, as Poirot notices later, the food has all been consumed but three coffee cups remain untouched. A woman fortunately is not involved in The Adventure of The Italian Nobleman, although Poirot’s last client is decidedly a woman without a face of a Nymph. She presents The Case of The Missing Will in which she would obtain a late uncle’s fortunes if she can find the second will made within a year. Was it a mere treasure hunt or another exercise of the little grey cells? Most significantly, where to start? Little does Poirot realise that it is right under his nose.

The amiable Hastings – the ‘Dr. Watson’ – tries his hands on two cases to no avail. Much as he tries to the best of his ability to apply Poirot’s method, he cannot make out where his mistakes are. Needless to say, he looks a case from a wrong angle. ‘Poirot, am I quite demented?’ he asks, after the ‘Western Star’ has been returned to its rightful owner. ‘No, mon ami, but you are, as always, in a mental fog,’ replies Poirot.

The second chance emerges when the ill Belgian cannot afford to disappoint a client. Hastings goes with the client to the crime scene and reports everything. Still, it beggars belief as he receives a telegram from Poirot saying ‘Advise Japp to detain the housekeeper.’ While Hastings’ attention is drawn to the mysterious guest who comes to see the deceased earlier on the day, Poirot has a different idea in his previous telegram. ‘Of course black-bearded description of housekeeper and what clothes she wore this morning….’

The eleven cases in which Inspector Japp also appears speak volumes the dynamics between the duo or when Japp is involved, the trio. Banters on the part of the inspector and slight criticism spoken on Poirot’s peculiar remarks and gestures by Hastings are deployed brilliantly.  On the contrary, the Belgian has shown no signs of being low profile and disregards the other two’s ‘jokes’ over his preoccupation with precision and symmetry.

Personally, I believe  the contrasting and amusing Japp-Hastings-Poirot might be one of the unusual blend of characters that works extremely well in the crime genre. Poirot’s foreignness is hardly understood whilst his collaboration with Japp gives him an opportunity to establish himself as a sought-after private detective. And yet, without Hastings, a personae of quintessentially English, Poirot might not have been accepted in a certain circle.  Also, Hasting as a narrator with his choice of words and viewpoints makes Christie’s self-criticism to English stiff upper-lip attitude becomes tolerable.

St. John’s Wood, an affluent neighbourhood in Greater London, UK, which becomes the setting in ‘The Adventure of Italian Nobleman’

At this stage I still wonder why Poirot is potrayed in such a way. His being preoccupied with order and accuracy nowadays can be perceived as symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. What does Christie try to tell her readers about the little Belgian? Also, it raises the question whether a profession might be defined by personality and a different type of intelligence. For Poirot seems to have a photographic memory; he is able to remember a mere description of a suspect and his movement and then deduces its significance to the crime. On the other hand, Hastings is good at reflection and can describe an occurrence with sufficient detail. Yet, he does not sound to see something beyond facts, which he often admits.

Lastly, this is the book that should be read along with Poirot’s Early Cases, for there are some references that will only make sense when readers if both books are read side by side. I will tell you all in the next notes.


Plots, Cast of Characters and The Twists in the order of appearance:


1.       The Adventure of The ‘Western Star’


Mary Marvell goes to Poirot having received a threat letter about the diamond in her possession called The ‘Western Star.’  She ignored the previous letter, thinking that was a joke. Yet, when the latest one came by hand and delivered by a Chinese man, she had a change of heart. For the precious stone is a present from her husband, the American actor Greg Rolf, whom bought it from a Chinese man in San Franscisco three years ago.

After she leaves, Lady Yardly amazingly comes with a similar story; that the ‘twin’ diamond of Marvel’s –the ‘Eastern Star’- in the hands of the aristocratic woman will be taken from her during the dinner party at their residence. In the meantime, her husband has found a potential buyer to the family’s heirloom and she will have to wear it on the occasion.

On the day, as Lady Yardly appears in a long white shimmering dress for the dinner, her hand stretches out for the big light switch. Then, the incredible thing happens….

Is it true that the diamonds are cursed?


Gregory B. Rolf (Mary’s husband, an actor)

Mary Marvell (the Hollywood actress)

Lord and Lady Yardly

The Twist: Lady Yardly and Greg Rolf had an affair while she was in the USA.


2. The Tragedy At Marsdon Manor

Plot: Mr. Maltravers, a client of the Northern Union, dies for some unknown reason but a kind of internal haemorrhage. Poirot is sent by the insurance company to establish the circumstances of the death and finds out whether the deceased is likely to have committed suicide. For a few weeks beforehand he has insured himself with a large sum of money with his wife as the sole beneficiary.

On Tuesday, the day before the murder, a son of the deceased’s old friend came to visit and stayed for dinner. He was scheduled to board a liner heading for East Africa the next day, but decided to cancel the passage having received a telegram about an uncle who had died in Scotland and his leaving the nephew some money. Moreover, he thought he ought to revisit Marsdon Manor to offer his condolescences to the widow.

Will Poirot believe the man’s story? How about the doctor’s verdict of the cause o death from gastric ulcer in spite of blood on the deceased’s lips?


Captain Black (Mrs. Maltravers’s acquaintance)

Dr. Bernard (the deceased’s doctor)

Mrs. Maltravers

The Twist: Mr. Maltravers is not a Scientologist


3. The Adventure of The Cheap Flat

Plot: In a small gathering the newlywed Mrs. Robinson shares her delight of having just acquired a flat at an affluent London neighbourhood at an incredible price below the market rate. Further on Hastings retells the story to the Belgian sleuth, whom takes a great interest in it and makes enquiries about the flat in Montagu Mansions.

The porter says to Poirot and Hastings that the Robinsons have lived in the flat for six months nevertheless. To Hastings’s surprise, his slightly eccentric friend then decides to rent a flat next to the Robinsons.’ ‘But I make money nowadays! Why should I not indulge a whim? By the way, Hastings, have you a revolver?’

What does Poirot have in mind?


Mr. Burt (of the US Secret Service)

Elsa Hardt (American, a concert singer)

Inspector Japp

Gerald Parker (Hastings’ s old friend)

Luigi Valdano (Italian, who follows Elsa Hardt from New York)

The Robinsons ( the American newlywed couple)

The porter at Montagu Mansions

The Twist: A stolen very confidential document belonged to the US government is sewn in the inner lining of telephone cover in the shape of a big black velvet cat.


4. The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge

Plot: A telegram comes concerning the untimely death of an old uncle with means. The nephew, having received the news, begs Poirot to take the case. Being ill from influenza, the sleuth sends Hastings with Roger Havering to the crime scene, Hunter’s Lodge, in the midst of Derbsyhire moors.

Harrington Pace, who made home with the Haverings for three years prior to his death, seems to make the nephew as his heir. Nonetheless, why does Havering go to the detective if he has killed Pace? Was it because his wife’s suggesting to do such in the telegram? Moreover, what makes Inspector Japp come to investigate, too?


Harrington Pace (the deceased, Roger’s maternal uncle)

Inspector Japp

Mrs. Middleton (the housekeeper)

Roger Havering (the nephew of Harrington)

Zoe Haring (nee Carrisbrook, the wife of Roger’s)

The Twist: Mrs. Middleton, the quiet middle-aged woman who appears normal and respectable, has left the day after the murder.


5. The Million Dollar Bond Robbery

Plot: A million dollars’s worth of Liberty Bonds sent to an American bank in New York has been stolen on board the Olympia.  Philip Ridgeway, the trustworthy employee at London and Scottish Bank who brings the bonds with him in a trunk, is held responsible. With his career badly affected, it spurs Esmee Farquhar, his fiancée, into action. She lays all the facts to Poirot and Hastings, of whom have then agree to solve the puzzling matter.

First and foremost, the trunk is fitted with a special ‘Hubbs’ lock, meaning that each lock is unique. Ridgeway is the only one who holds the key on the ship. A thorough search bears no result. What astonishes him most is that the bonds were offered for sale within half an hour of the liner’s arrival.

‘….Remember, Mr. Ridgeway never opened it from the time it was placed in his hands in London,’ says Poirot to Hastings. What does it lead to?


Esmee Farquhar (Philip’s fiancée, the employer at the bank)

Philip Ridgeway (Esmee’s fiancé, Mr. Vavasour’s nephew)

Inspector McNeil

Mr. Shaw  and Mr. Vavasour (the joint general managers at London and Scottish Bank)

The Twist: Mr. Shaw orders the lock himself and he also has the key besides Ridgeway and Mr. Vavasour.


6.       The Adventure of The Egyptian Tomb

Plot: The curse of ‘Men-her-Ra’has dawned upon the team who has found the tomb of an ancient Egypt king. Three people have died within a month of the opening of the tomb; a heart failure, acute blood poisoning and suicide. It is by the wish of one of the deceased’s widow whose son has followed his father’s step to be involved in the expedition that Poirot braces himself to undergo a journey to Cairo accompanied by Hastings.

The fourth life is claimed when they arrive in the excavation site. This time, the cause is tetanus from a septic wound. Who, among the remaining people, has the greatest interest to make the impression that a supernatural force is behind all deaths?


Sir Guy WWaillard (Lady Willard’s son)

Mr. Harper (the secretary of the expedition)

Hassan (Sir John’s devoted native servant)

Lady Willard (the widow of Sir John Willard, who dies from a heart failure)

Dr. Robert Ames

Dr. Toswill (an official connected to the British Museum)

The Twist: Mr. Bleibner, one of the victims, shoots himself having believed himself a leper.


7. The Jewel Robbery At The Grand Metropolitan

Plot: Mrs. Opalsen, upon meeting Poirot at the Grand Metropolitan Hotel, wants to show him the pearls she has brought with her. She goes up to her room, where they have been kept in a jewel case, to fetch but  does not come back. Moments later Poirot and Hastings are summoned to her room and presented with the problem of the stolen pearls.

A Victorian postcard featuring Grand Metropole Hotel, Brighton, which was opened in 1890.

The suspicion lies at her maid who has been in and out of the room during the stay although the jewel case is locked. Furthermore, there is also a chambermaid who cleans the room. Yet, Poirot’s little experiment shows that there was not enough time for the chambermaid to have taken the pearls without being noticed by the maid. Be that as it may, the pearls are found presently under the maid’s bed. Does it mean that it was the maid whodunit?



Celestine (Mrs. Opalsen’s French maid)

The Opalsens (the husband is a stock brocker who makes a fortune in oil boom)

The chambermaid

The valet

The Twist: Poirot’s coat sleeve is smeared by French chalk when he examines Mr. Opalsen’s room, of which has a connecting door to his wife’s.


8. The Kidnapped Prime Minister

Plot: The absence of Britain Prime Minister in the Allied Conference in Paris is a must to the success of the Pacifist propaganda backed by German. The PM is believed to have been kidnapped on his way to France. Prior to that, an attempt to his life was made but he managed to escape with little injury. Then he has disappeared, along with his secretary and the driver; the three of them were in the same car.

O’Murphy, the Premier’s chauffeur, becomes the suspect although he is a Chief Inspector Detective. The other is Captain Daniels, the secretary who is a fine linguist. For when the car was deviated from the main road, who had made the decision? Was O’Murphy’s doing having turned the car? Or because Davies told him so?

Poirot has twenty fours before the Conference commences at Versailles.

The aerial photograph of RAF Hendon in the World War II. Poirot and Hastings bring a mysterious man to Hendon Aerodrome where a plane is ready to take him to France.


Bernard Dodge (a member of the War Cabinet, the Prime Minister’s friend)

Lord Estair (Leader of the House of Commons)

Inspector Japp

Major Norman (a military officer who is assigned to assist Poirot)

The Twist: Mrs. Everard, Captain Daniels’s so-called aunt, is Frau Bertha Ebenthal whom police has been looking for some time.


9. The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim

Plot: When a senior partner at Davenheim and Salmon, a reputable City banker and financier company disappears, Poirot is inclined to think of such as a deliberate act. As he discusses the case with Inspector Japp and Hastings, it seems clear for the Belgian that the motive can be found given all facts are laid in front of him. ‘….Bet you a fiver that you can’t lay your hand – or rather tell me where to lay my hand- on Mr. Davenheim, dead or alive, before a week is out,’ replies Japp, being slightly amused by the other’s confidence.

On Saturday, Mr. Davenheim failed to see a man who has had an appointment with him at his house. After an hour waiting in the study, the guest left. Sunday morning the police was informed while on Monday the safe in the missing man’s study had been broken into; bonds for a substantial amount of money and Mrs. Davenheim’s jewels were taken.

Furthermore, police has detained Billy Kellet, a man who tried to pawn a thick gold ring with a solitaire diamond of Mr. Davenheim’s. Kellet had been in jail for three months months before for lifting an old gentleman’s watch.

Before Japp leaves Poirot’s flat, the sleuth asks: ‘Have you any idea, my friend, whether Mr. And mrs. Davenheim occupied the same bedroom?’

Perhaps Japp should have a second thought before making a bet.


Inspector Japp

Billy Kellet (the tramp who tells the police that he found Mr. Davenheim’s ring)

The Twist: Mr. Davenheim is in Buenos Aires around the time Billy Kellet has been in jail.


10. The adventure of the Italian Nobleman

Plot: The housekeeper of Dr. Hawker flies into Poirot’s flat and finds her employer chatting with the host at night.  Frantically she told the doctor about an urgent phone call she had received from Count Foscatini – something was amiss. No sooner has she finished than Poirot, Hastings and the other head for the count’s flat. The lift attendant tells them that the Count has had two gentlemen dining with him in his flat, but little did he know about the possibility of an ‘accident’ that had happened to the Italian man.

He is found dead, struck on the head by a marble statue. In the dining room Poirot sees meals for three; the food has been consumed but the coffees. According to his valet, two gentlemen of his country folks came to the flat the previous night on Tuesday and the Count then invited them to resume their discussion the next day during the dinner. The police, having acted based on this account, manage to catch one of the men before he left England. Yet he was let free as the Italian Ambassador vouches that the man had been with the Ambassador on Tuesday evening between eight and nine pm.

To Poirot the suspect says that he only came to see the Count on Tuesday morning for ‘some business.’ What kind of business which then killed him?


Signor Ascanio (Italian)

Dr. Hawker (the doctor – Poirot’s neighbour)

Graves (the valet/butler to Count Foscatini)


Robert – the lift attendant

The Twist: The curtain at Count Foscatini’s flat is not drawn and the coffees are left untouched on the night of the murder


11. The Case of The Missing Will

Plot: An orphan can acquire her late uncle’s fortune if she is able to find the missing will the uncle has written within a year. It is not actually missing but hidden in the house where the deceased used to live in Devon. For the reason, she commissions Poirot to find it.

In Crabtree Manor, the detective and Hastings are met by a husband and wife who look after the house.  They say they signed the will three years ago in which their master had stated that he would leave everything to a hospital. Afterwards Andrew Marsh went out to the village to pay tradesmen’s books.

Furthermore, Poirot’s attention is drawn to a desk stands against the wall full of papers and are labelled.  Attached to the key of the desk is a dirty envelope with words scrawled in crabby handwriting ‘key of roll-top desk.’ Interestingly, the wife mentions that two and a half years ago workmen had come to the house to do some repairs in the study. What for?


The Bakers (the caretakers at Crabtree Manor)

Violet Marsh (the beneficiary of Andrew Marsh’s will)

The Twist: Andrew Marsh uses a special ink to write his second will, of which following its discovery should overrule the first one signed by the Bakers.