In an attempt to snare the enigmatic art thief Marrascaud, Poirot and the Metropolitan Police set an irresistible trap: at the society debut of wealthy aristocrat Lucinda Le Mesurier, a priceless painting called 'Hercules Vanquishing the Hydra' by Marrascaud's favorite artist will be displayed, with Lucinda wearing exquisite diamond jewelery. A confident Poirot is convinced the criminal will be apprehended, but he does not foresee the eventual, disastrous outcome: not only does Marrascaud pinch the painting, but Lucinda herself is brutally murdered, and her jewels are stolen as well. The catastrophe weights heavily on Poirot's conscience, and he sinks into a steady depression, despite the entreaties of his physician, Dr Burton. Three months after Lucinda's murder, a lonely chauffeur asks Poirot to find his true love, the maid of celebrated Russian ballerina Katrina Samoushenka. Pitying the man, Poirot agrees to reunite the lovers pro bono and sets off to the Hotel Olympos in Rochers ...Written by
May I ask you something? Why do you insist on referring to yourself in the third person? It is intensely irritating!
Because, Doctor Lutz, it helps Poirot achieve a healthy distance from his genius.
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Hercule Poirot is depressed: he set a trap for ruthless killer and master-thief Marrascaud and the woman who was wearing the jewels as bait is now dead. Furthermore, Marrascaud escaped with the jewels and a priceless painting. A romantic errand sees him in Switzerland, at a hotel high in the Alps. Coincidentally, the local police are staking out the hotel, as they expect Marrascaud to be arriving there. His interest piqued, and eager to catch the criminal who has eluded him, Poirot joins in the attempt to unmask Marrascaud. One of the guests is Countess Rossakoff, an old friend of Poirot's whom he hasn't seen in many years. Moreover, his affection for her seems to exceed that of friendship.
Quite intriguing, dark and edgy. Being set in the Swiss Alps, some great scenery too. Also a rarity in that there is a hint of romance in the air for Poirot, so there is a nice emotional angle to the story.
Not perfect. The reasons why Poirot is in Switzerland in the first place are quite clumsy, and then the fact that Marrascaud just happens to be in exactly the same place as Poirot is just too coincidental. In addition, the identity of Marrascaud is not that difficult to figure out.
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