Written in 1969, this is a police investigation case that aims at finding the causes that triggered a series of criminal events. The chain of happenings reaches its peak when Joyce Reynolds is found dead after having stated that she had witnessed a murder three years earlier.
The girl’s homicide draws the attention of fad writer Ariadne Oliver who attended the Hallowe’en party as special guest where the events occurred. Thus, Ariadne hires the services of detective Hercule Poirot with the object of unravel the true motives that prompted Joyce’s murderer to perpetrate such a brutal act. The search results will show the relation in the sequence of murders preceding Joyce’s killing.
Halloween night is coming and Ariadne Oliver takes part in the preliminary preparations for the celebration that will take place the next day. Neighbors and visitors have come to the house, especially pre-teens like Joyce Reynolds to make all the necessary arrangements.
During one of those trivial conversations Joyce claims to have seen a crime long ago when she was still a child, but no one gives credit to her words since Joyce is well-known for her tendency of drawing others’ attention with her stories of sensationalism.
However, the situation changes when the girl is found lifeless right at the end of the party they carefully planned. Meanwhile the writer Ariadne Oliver sets out to rackt the culprit and in the process discovers that there is a strange link with other similar events whose perpetrators were never identified.
This way the story unfolds, exposing each case, interviewing the people involved and gathering evidence leading to the responsible for the murder of Joyce Reynolds.
This is a typical argument in the work of Agatha Christie, and as usual, the writer manages to catch the reader’s attention; this book like many of her others leads the viewer to delve into endless possibilities until the real murderer is identified. The author urges the reader to make a thorough analysis of each character and speculate on the reasons everyone of them could have to commit homicide.
Unless the reader truly enjoys undertaking an exhaustive search through the reading, it is likely to fall into boredom with this kind of stories, because a times, as it frequently happens in real criminal investigations, findings lead to dead ends which require to start the search over again.
The same scenes often occur again and again; they become so repetitive that the enterprise becomes a vicious circle. To my mind expectation is the determining factor that keeps the reader hooked to the plot till the end, but like everything else, it should come in the right dose as not to overexceed the reader’s expectation.