This book, published also under the title "Poirot Loses A Client," has all the ingredients of an outstanding Christie tale: a domestic murder which could have been committed by any of several people close to the victim, a charming look at life in a small English village, a delightful and well-bred elderly lady, a fatal poisoning, and lots of clues.
Poirot is brought into this case in an unusual manner. He receives a letter from the elderly lady in which she hints at a possible attempt on her life. When Poirot realizes the letter had been written two months before he receives it, his little grey cells are alerted. He takes a trip to Market Basing only to find the writer of the letter, Miss Arundell, is dead. Since he considers her still his client, he is determined to prove her death was not accidental, but a deliberate murder. The cold trail of clues leads to a beautiful society lady, a handsome scientist, a faithful servant, and a pair of specialists in the occult. Will Poirot be able to unmask the killer before another death occurs? A dog's bouncing ball, a strange spiritual manifestation, and a mirror reflection of a brooch are all pivotal to solving this mystery.
This book is notable in that it will be the last of the Poirot books to be narrated by Captain Hastings until "Curtain" ends the series decades later. His narrative style, always pleasing, is especially well-done in this one. Also notable in this story is the importance of a cute wire-haired terrier named Bob who will form a special bond with Captain Hastings.
If greed, deception, and jealousy are your cup of cocoa, you'll love matching wits with Hercule Poirot as he tries to stop a brilliant and baffling killer who is about to strike again.