First published in Christmas 1923, this tale of a family curse is narrated by Hastings. The story begins in WWI, when Poirot and Hastings bump into Captain Vincent Lemesurier and his uncle Hugo. This is a swiftly moving curse, because even as the men chat a messenger arrives to inform Vincent Lemesurier that his father had a serious accident falling from a horse and, as his son rushes home, he is also killed.
Time passes and then Poirot is visited by Hugo’s wife . The curse of the family says that the first born son can never inherit and she is the mother of two young boys – the eldest of which has had three narrow escapes from death. Can the curse be real and, if so, is her son doomed? Of course, Poirot can solve the mystery and nobody can tell of his exploits quite like Hastings. An enjoyable early story and, of course, wonderfully written.