Tennis star Nevile Strange and his snow-white-like-pretty wife Audrey Strange were leading a happy life until the beautiful red-haired Kay entered the picture. It was not long before Nevile divorced Audrey and married Kay. A year or so later, a guilty conscience makes Nevile think that if Audrey and Kay became friends, things would be much better. So when he happens to meet Audrey he tells her about his idea. Audrey agrees to give it a try at Gull’s Point, Lady Camilla’s house at Saltcreek. Kay naturally detests the whole thing.
Lady Camilla Tressillian’s husband had been Nevile’s guardian. She had been more like a mother to him. When she knows of Nevile’s plan, she considers it preposterous as she foresees the awkwardness that could arise when this meeting occurs. And it does. To make things even more complicated Thomas Royde, a Malayan planter who had a crush on Audrey for a long time arrives at Gull Point. Also there is Ted Latimer, a very close friend of Kay, who is obviously in love with her. Kay’s jealousy, Nevile’s confusion and Audrey’s careful reserve makes everyone uncomfortable. Mary Aldin, the efficient companion of Lady Tressillian is at her wit’s end to smooth things over and soon she starts counting the days when the guests would leave.
Then Mr. Treves arrives, a very famous solicitor and a friend of the late Sir Mathew Tressillian. He narrates an unusual crime in which both murderer and victim were children. But the murderer was acquitted. Mr. Treves hints that he will recognise this person if ever he meets him/her. The plot thickens when Mr. Treves is found dead the next day.
The theme of the novel is bringing together unconnected people and incidents, such as a suicide attempt and a wrongly accused crime, to the vital point when the actual event occurs; towards zero hour. Agatha Christie, renowned as the Queen of Crime, is the author of 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections. The idea of husband betraying wife and the mental breakdown that she suffers has some resemblance to Agatha Christie’s own life. Published in 1944, the novel features Superintendent Battle. It is a quick read and has an unexpected twist in the end.