Poirot’s ongoing Middle East holiday is interrupted by the murder of an elderly woman who had been traveling with her family. Even stranger, nobody, not even her own daughter, seems sorry that she’s dead. And strangest of all: some days before the murder, Poirot overheard a young man talking about how “she’s got to be killed.” Now it’s up to Poirot to seek out and bring to justice the murderer of this unlamented victim–within 24 hours.
This novel is a bit unusual in that it begins not with Poirot’s perspective, nor with that of an associate, but with the perspective of Sarah King, a fellow holidaymaker who has her own reasons for not being completely honest with Poirot.
Christie once again takes the opportunity to sprinkle allusions to Poirot’s earlier cases, with Colonel Race and the events of Cards on the Table again being mentioned, as well as an allusion to The A.B.C Murders, the events of which one of the characters recalls following in the newspapers. Interestingly, the ending of Murder on the Orient Express is mentioned by one of the characters, including details which would have been known only to someone who had been there–leaving Poirot to wonder from whom the character in question might have obtained that information.
Although the reddest of red herrings are on display in this work (and, alas, still no Hastings), Appointment with Death kept me guessing up until the end, and has perhaps the happiest ending of any of the Poirot novels I’ve read so far. Highly recommended.