An outbreak of kleptomania at a student hostel was not normally the sort of crime that aroused Hercule Poirot's interest. But then he saw the list of stolen and vandalized items: a stethoscope, some old flannel trousers, a box of chocolates, a slashed rucksack, and a diamond ring found in a bowl of soup. He congratulated the warden, Mrs Hubbard, on a "unique and beautiful problem".The list made absolutely no sense at all. But, reasoned Poirot, if this was merely a petty thief at work, why was everyone at the hostel so frightened?
"Poirot's return to the happy hunting grounds of detective fiction is something of an event...The thumbnail sketches of the characters are as good as ever and in spite of the over-elaborate nature of the puzzle there is plenty of entertainment." (Times Lite)
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Enter Miss Lemon!
I love that the indefectible Miss Lemon (Poirot's secretary) not only gets a backstory but finally makes a mistake. Of all the minor characters Agatha Christie weaves into her narratives (she's in most Poirot novels) Miss Lemon and her filing system has always appealed to me as the perfect match for Poirot's meticulous nature. Agatha Christie clearly had a ball destroying Poirot's calm and he sets out to solve a clever case of theft just to get his well-ordered domain back. But before long there's murder thrown into the mix...
Many Poirot fans will recognise Hugh Fraser's voice from some of the TV adaptations as Captain Hastings.