Although a Poirot mystery, the great detective is on the fringes of the action in this novel. Attending a house party given by actor Sir Charles Cartwright, he witnesses the seizure and death of the gentle local pastor, Stephen Babbington. There seems to be no reason to suspect foul play, but Sir Charles and his friends Mr Satterthwaite and Sir Bartholomew Strange think the death suspicious. Later, Sir Batholomew Strange, a Harley Street specialist, gives a dinner including many of the guests present at the previous party, during which there is a similar death.
This is an enjoyable novel, with some interesting suspects - a cast which includes the owner of a dressmaking establishment, an ex-jockey, a playwright, a journalist, an actress and the delightfully named Lady Mary Lytton Gore and her daughter Egg. Poirot allows Sir Charles, Egg and the pleasant snob Mr Satterthwaite, to do most of the investigating. His true talent lies more in letting those little grey cells do the work. Although his input is minimal compared to other novels, this is an enjoyable read with great characters and Christie's usual excellent plot, which is always so difficult to work out. Her standard of work was so high that you cannot help being impressed every time you read one of her books.