When the middle-Eastern country of Ramat is over-run by anti-monarchist revolutionaries, the surviving heir to the throne, Princess Shaista, is spirited away to safety in a small girls' school, Meadowbank, which is run by the progressive Miss Bulstrode. However, when the bullying games mistress Miss Springer is found stabbed through the chest with a javelin, it appears that Meadowbank may not be the haven it promised to be. As Poirot assists Inspector Kelsey, they begin to find that some of the staff may not be quite what they appear, a situation which is compounded when another teacher, Mademoiselle Blanche is found dead and Princess Shaista is kidnapped from the school. With the princess' life in peril, and the prized rubies of Ramat missing, it is up to Poirot to discover who is the cat among the pigeons. Written by
Hercule Poirot is asked by Miss Bulstrode, an old friend and the headmistress of Meadowbank school (a prestigious school for girls), to award the first prize after their annual sports event. After the ceremony Miss Bulstrode asks Poirot to stick around at the school, as she is thinking of retiring and wants Poirot to observe the staff. Among the pupils are the princess, and heir, of a middle eastern kingdom and a girl whose uncle was murdered in the recent coup in the princess' country. Then the gym teacher, a loathsome, meddling, bullying, universally-hated person, is found murdered in the gym, killed by a javelin. In addition, the tennis racket of the girl with the murdered uncle is missing.
One of the best Poirot mysteries. Not overly complex and quite plausible. Solvable by the audience, but not easily and only through elimination. A good balance of difficulty and solvability. Some good twists, revelations and red herrings too. Great setting and ambiance - you can taste the English private school air.
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