ith summer in the air, wealthy squire Sir George Stubbs and his fragile, childlike wife Hattie plan a grand fête for their Devonshire neighbors to celebrate their recent acquisition of Nasse House. Fancy dress, fortune telling, and a coconut shy are all scheduled, as well as a murder hunt designed by mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver. But Mrs Oliver is convinced something is amiss, and asks Hercule Poirot to attend the festivities as a means to put her mind at rest. Poirot scrutinizes the eclectic lot, which includes officious politicos, a put-upon secretary, a rakish architect, warring holidaymakers, a garrulous ferryman, an urbane foreigner, and Nasse's former matriarch, now content to be a humble lodger. They certainly have secrets to hide, but are any of them likely murderers? Or victims? When Mrs Oliver's fears are realized, however, the events are far from how she imagined them to unfold. A murder occurs as anticipated, but bizarrely, the victim is Marlene Tucker, a local Girl Guide who was assigned the role of the victim in Mrs Oliver's murder game! Her seemingly senseless death precipitates an even greater intrigue when Hattie Stubbs vanishes into thin air, clothes and all. Then the ferryman dies in a seemingly unrelated accident. What could all of this mean? Was Marlene silenced as a witness? Was Hattie abducted against her will? Was Mrs Oliver unknowingly manipulated by an unscrupulous murderer? And how does Sir George's hideous folly figure into the mystery, if at all? Poirot is on the case, determined to put the follies of Nasse House to rest once and for all.

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