Lord Harold asks Jane Austen to keep an eye on Netley Lodge near the ruins of the ancient Netley Abbey. He fears there are French spies plotting mischief in the area. Jane takes her paint box and pretends to sketch the abbey ruins while keeping a close watch on all the comings and goings at the Lodge. But her watchfulness is in vain. A ship in the dockyards is set on fire and the shipwright is murdered. It is definitely the work of spies and traitors against the British crown.
Hannah is the owner of the Cookie Jar bakery. When the delivery guy is late, she goes out to the alley and finds his body. Her brother-in-law is the police detective on the case, and he asks for Hannah’s help. She hears all the gossip at the bakery and their small town neighbors might be more willing to talk to her than to a police officer. Hannah begins to poke around, discovering secrets and mysteries, but only one clue will eventually lead to the killer.
Myrtle’s father has tonsillitis in the hospital and witnesses a mysterious attack. While he is confined to bed, Myrtle will have to investigate with the assistance of her courageous governess, Miss Judson. Myrtle sets out to prove the identity of Ethel Snowcroft, who could be a long-lost heiress believed to have perished in a shipwreck years earlier.
I love the exciting mystery plot in this fourth book of the series! There are two different mysteries happening at the same time, but then the clues begin to converge and overlap, and only Myrtle can possible unravel the web of lies surrounding the hospital. This plot really kept my attention and had me guessing right up to the end!
Vera has this strange empty feeling inside her, as if something is missing from her life, but she can’t remember what is missing. She finds herself crying at odd things. She seems to half-remember random objects, but can’t remember why they are important. When Vera realizes that her family and some of her classmates are also experiencing that same empty feeling, she begins to investigate what she can’t remember.
This plot completely broke my brain! It was so exciting and masterfully constructed. It was amazing to see how the plot unfolded, since the reader CAN remember all the people and things that Vera is gradually forgetting. The reader has so much more information than Vera does, and that made it really interesting to see how Vera tries to reconstruct the facts from what is left over after a memory is gone.
(also published as “Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?”) Bobby witnesses the death of an unknown man, and hears his last words, “Why didn’t they ask Evans?” Bobby thinks nothing of it, until he is poisoned days later. The words must have some meaning. Why else would someone try to kill him? His childhood friend, Lady Francis, is intrigued by the mystery, and agrees to help Bobby track down those involved in the stranger’s death. They are surrounded by suspicious characters and possible enemies. Just when Bobby and ‘Frankie’ think they know who to trust, they are betrayed by the last person they suspected, and their lives are in danger every minute.
Miss Marple goes on a holiday to London and stays at the highly respectable Bertram’s Hotel. She begins to notice little ordinary things that aren’t quite right around the hotel, which become helpful to the police when they investigate the disappearance of an elderly clergyman.
We follow a lot of different characters, but we don’t see Miss Marple very much. She’s only in a few scenes, and she does very little to actually solve the mystery, but she does provide the final clue for the police to resolve their investigation. I wish she were a more prominent part of the plot, and I wish she took more action.
Major Burnaby takes part in a séance, even though he doesn’t believe in such foolishness. But when a supposed “spirit from the beyond” tells the group that the Major’s best friend has been murdered, Major Burnaby decides to trek through the snow to check on his friend. He discovers the body, brutally murdered. When her fiancé is accused of the murder, Emily Trefusis sets out to assist the police in tracking down the true killer.
I guessed the solution of who the real murderer was at about page 65. The mystery was sort of obvious. However, that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book! There were a couple of other little minor mysteries that were fun, and I loved all the character studies. I was a little bored by the red herrings though. They all seemed to lead nowhere, and they were full of coincidences.
(Also published as “Funerals are Fatal”) Strange old Aunt Cora shocks everyone at her brother’s funeral when she lets it slip that she thinks he must have been murdered. The family tries to hush it up, but when Cora herself is murdered the very next day, only Hercule Poirot can unravel the clues that led to her death. Did she know too much? As Poirot investigates, one person is nearly poisoned, and another is “coshed” on the head. Can Poirot catch the murderer before more people are attacked?