Little did Anthony Cade suspect that a simple errand on behalf of a friend would make him the centrepiece of a murderous international conspiracy. Someone would stop at nothing to prevent the monarchy being restored in faraway Herzoslovakia. The combined forces of Scotland Yard and the French Surete can do no better than go in circles - until the final murder at Chimneys, the great country estate that yields up an amazing secret.
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Gerry Wade had proved himself to be a champion sleeper, so the other house guests decided to play a practical joke on him. Eight alarm clocks were set to go off, one after the other, starting at 6.30 a.m. But when morning arrived, one clock was missing, and the prank had backfired with tragic consequences. For Jimmy Thesiger in particular, the words "seven dials" were to take on a new and chilling significance.
Mr Shaitana was famous as a flamboyant party host. Nevertheless, he was a man of whom everybody was a little afraid. So, when he boasted to Poirot that he considered murder an art form, the detective had some reservations about accepting a party invitation to view Shaitana's private collection.
Luke Fitzwilliam could not believe Miss Pinkerton's wild allegation that a multiple murderer was at work in the quiet English village of Wychwood, or her speculation that the local doctor was next in line. But, within hours, Miss Pinkerton had been killed in a hit-and-run car accident. Mere coincidence? Luke was inclined to think so, until he read in The Times of the unexpected demise of Dr Humbleby.
What is the connection between a failed suicide attempt, a wrongful accusation of theft against a schoolgirl, and the romantic life of a famous tennis player? To the casual observer, apparently nothing. But when a houseparty gathers at Gull's Point, the seaside home of an elderly widow, earlier events come to a dramatic head. It's all part of a carefully paid plan for murder.