Tommy Mayfield is a British industrialist who has developed a new fighter plane. Up to now he has paid all development costs himself and he very much wants the government to contribute. It is reluctant to do so because of an apparent indiscretion some years before when Mayfield was supposed to have sold heavy artillery to the Japanese. In order to get back into the government's good books, he decides to lay a trap for Mrs. Vanderlyn, a known Nazi sympathizer and possible spy. The bait is the plans for the new fighter but Mayfield's wife is so concerned that she asks Hercule Poirot to spend the weekend at their house to make sure Vanderlyn doesn't get away with anything. Written by
"The Incredible Theft" is one of the staples of detective lore, the MacGuffin plot. These were especially popular during the war where the MacGuffin was a list of agents, a code decryption, or plans for some war weapon. Here it's plans for a war weapon.
Poirot is invited to spend the weekend at the home of the Mayfields. Mr. Mayfield is an industrialist who has developed a new plane. He wants the government to start coughing up some money as he's paid all expenses thus far. The government knows that he once sold weapons to the Japanese, so they're not interested.
Mayfield wants to impress the government so he invites a known Nazi sympathizer and probably a spy to his home to see if he can catch her stealing the plans. His wife is a wreck so she asks Poirot to keep an eye on things over the weekend.
Of course, if it could go wrong, it does, and Poirot finds himself involved with Japp as they try to sort things out.
There is a lot of humor in this episode, but it's not a murder mystery. It's pleasant enough. This is one where the touches of comedy make it worthwhile. Though when you think about it, given the superb acting and production values, these episodes are always worthwhile.
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