This is a story told/described by Hastings (many of Poirot’s stories are told from Hastings’ perspective).
All starts with Hastings meeting a mysterious lady in the train from Calais to London. They have a quick chat and she names herself “Cinderella” before she disappears… That’s all what Hastings knows about her!
Meanwhile at Poirot’s place in London, Poirot receives a letter from a business man (Paul Renauld) requesting his services in France, saying that he fears for his life. On the way to France, Poirot and Hastings have a small talk about two types of detectives: the ones who use the brains ( as Poirot sees himself – work of a great specialist using grey cells), and the ones who run behind any (ir)relevant evidence like a dog. Poirot clearly doesn’t have these kind of detectives in great consideration… He clearly minimize those to a lower level.
These remarks above about “Cinderella” and the type of detectives will be of relevance later on.
The mystery starts when they arrive at the House of the Paul Renauld, to hear from the local police that he was found dead in the golf area. What I immediately find very confusing is the amount of officers that belongs to the local police, and for some kind of reason another detective(Monsieur Giraud) will join them !Why? The only reason I see is to “bother” Poirot 🙂 and to give a meaning to the remark I’ve mentioned above!
Later on, another body (unknown/ vagabond) is found in the shed of Renauld’s property. This person has been “murdered” apparently the same way as Mr. Renauld.
It is a good mystery, with too many unnecessary situations, clues, and amount of people involved! My feeling it was just to feed the two rival detectives. Also to make Hastings look like a loser, when he takes a girl who he barely knows to the crime scene, falls in love with her and helps her run away from the authorities.
- Renauld’s wife tells a story which Poirot doesn’t believe completely. Her actions seems to be seems to be suspicious.
- Renauld’s son -Jack – didn’t travel as he should have, and he’s dating the neighbor girl (Marthe)
- Too many secrets surround the neighbors ladies (Marthe and her mother who was blackmailing Mr Renauld).
- Renauld’s wife is hiding something. Jack is hiding something, which might be related to “Cinderella” (Bella or her sister).
- Some things could have been done better: explain a bit better why Poirot “disappears” in between to get information and he gets them; The info given by the maids are also very confusing, almost not trustful, the doctor fails during the autopsy of the “vagabond” without registering the real cause of death, while Poirot can do it of course!!
- Hastings looks like a loser, when he takes a girl who he barely knows to the crime scene, falls in love with her and helps her run away from the authorities.
It is an amazing , complicated and too far-fetched story, with too many unnecessary situations, clues, amount of people involved, an old case, 3 countries (UK, France and Argentina), Hasting’s betrayal to justice, too many French statements in between, twin girls, rivalry between 2 detectives(In the TV series the two detectives even make bet on their mustache!! 🙂 That would be amazing, if Poirot needed to shave his mustache if he lost. :-))
Again Poirot shows who is the boss and Agatha surprised me again, specially revealing the added value(or not) of Hastings as Poirot companion! LOL