Hercule Poirot, old and now retired is on the scene of the crime. The prime suspects are: Derek Kettering, husband of the victim, who is in trouble financially. The billionaire's daughter was about to divorce him which would have landed him in deep trouble; Comte de la Roche, Ruth Kettering's former lover and a man who knows how to seduce women and trick them into giving him money; the Marquis, an elusive jewel thief whose identity remains unknown to the police. Was the murder committed by the robber? Or are the two crimes separate?
According to the evidence of the maid, Ruth Kettering had an unexpected male visitor on the train. The clue to the murder lies in this evidence along with the fact that Ruth Kettering's face had been disfigured. Why did the murderer feel it necessary to distort his victim's face? Hercule Poirot, as the private detective on the scene, takes up the case.
With a similar plot to the short story The Plymouth Express, I found myself guessing who the criminal was. I liked the characters in this novel and the small romance. I had forgotten some of the details and re-reading this was fun, although as a first-time read, I didn't really enjoy it. For someone just starting Christie, I would suggest to start with one of my four star rating books.
An interesting feature of this novel is that Katherine Grey, one of the characters in the novel, is from St. Mary Mead! For those that don't know, St. Mary Mead is Miss Marple's village. Although many fans had requested a novel featuring both Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, Agatha Christie felt that they could never work together on a case. But what is so fun about her books is that she has created a whole fictional world in which she re-uses certain detectives, suspects and even places so that we feel that Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot both exist, but in separate spheres.