Having been lured to the village of Marsdon Leigh under false pretenses - the local hotel owner is unable to solve the crime in his own manuscript and so invites the detective to solve a "murder" - Poirot and Hastings are asked to look into the death of Mr. Maltravers, owner of the local manor house. The local rumor mill has it that the Marsdon Manor is haunted by several ghosts and Maltravers' wife is convinced that her husband was frightened to death. In the end, Poirot initiates a clever ruse to obtain a confession from the murderer. Written by
Poirot and Hastings visit the village of Marsden Leigh, at the request of the local hotel owner, Samuel Naughton. Poirot thinks he has been invited down to solve a crime but is disappointed to discover that Mr Naughton simply wants him to read the draft of his book, a murder novel. Poirot's disappointment is compounded when, out of boredom, he reads the book and discovers that the crime is unsolvable! Fortunately, or unfortunately, for Poirot an actual murder has just been committed, at nearby Marsdon Manor, and he police seek Poirot's assistance. The owner, Jonathan Maltravers, was found dead under a tree, a tree that is believed to be haunted, leading to the suspicion that he was frightened to death. Poirot immediately ascertains that foul play was involved, and calls in Chief Inspector Japp.
Quite intriguing, with a few good twists and turns. The ultimate clue is quite clever too. Not easy to tell for sure who the murderer is, though the suspect list is quite short.
Some good sub-plots too, in particular the crime novel/novelist and the wax museum.
The climax feels a bit contrived though, and takes some of the shine off the episode.
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