Dr. John Christow lies near the swimming pool in a large puddle of red paint, and his meek and timid wife stands over him holding a gun. The rest of the party, scattered around the scene look shocked.
What Poirot doesn't realize immediately is, that this is no scene. However fake it may look, Christow is dead and the immediate suspect is his wife, the seemingly simple-minded Gerda Christow.
What follows is a complicated series of confessions, allegations, and complete psychological evaluations. Poirot follows the minds of Gerda Christow, the deceased's wife. He understands the life of Henrietta Angkatell, John's secret lover. Was it Edward Angakatell, the distant cousin who's love for Henrietta has never been returned? Or was it Lady Angkatell whose passion for irregularities and quirky mindset lead her to do inexplicable things?
Could the death possibly have been a result of Johns' many affairs? Veronica Cray, the love of his youth, who suddenly shifted in across from the Angkatell's, claims she and John had a tiff. How bad was this tiff? Was it bad enough for this dramatic, self-obsessed actress to murder her lover in a crime of passion?
Like in most Poirot novels, in this book we see the Belgian detective using his "little grey cells". But what is so different about this story is the ending. Is the crime as simple as it was made out to be, or is it an act of conspiracy?