I finished reading this book two days ago. I read it in a little more than a day, ignoring any and all chores that I could, just so I could keep reading…I love it when a book grips me that much.
I have read this book before, but the last time I read it, I was 16…that was 21 years ago. I remember it as a book that I thoroughly enjoyed, but I did wonder if I would like it as much this time around.
I did. I thought the resolution was a bit implausible…not the solution to the mystery, but the manner in which it was revealed…barring that, I loved everything.
The plot was brilliant and the story was full of clues, false trails and surprises, the way a good detective story should be. But what I noticed this time around was the characters. They were all so well crafted each with their own set of perfectly plausible motives for doing what they do.
When we think of Agatha Christie, we think about plot and action and lots of clever writing. All of that is very much in evidence here, but so is her ability to create believable and some genuinely likeable characters.
The story is set in a school called Meadowbank. It is one of the best girl’s schools in England, the last place that anyone would associate with murder. And yet one night, just a week into the summer term, the new games mistress is found murdered in the sports pavilion. The police are trying to solve the crime, but there are too few clues and a complete absence of motive.
Just a few days later, one of the students is kidnapped. She’s not a regular student, she’s a princess and she’s from the small middle eastern kingdom of Ramat, which has recently had a revolution in which her cousin, the former ruler of Ramat was killed.
Before there is any proper investigation of the kidnapping, a second murder happens. Another of the teachers is killed…in the sports pavilion. What is so special about the sports pavilion? What is the connection between the Revolution in Ramat and the murders in at Medowbank? No one can make head or tail of it.
There are rumours about jewels that were smuggled out of Ramat just before the revolution, there's blackmail and secrets a plenty. And one fifteen year old school girl who figures out one part of this mystery and realises that her life is in danger. She runs away from school and goes to Hercule Poirot looking for help and advice.
He brings her back to the school and he slowly figures out exactly what happened and why. The book is an absolute romp from start to finish.