This version published by Fontana 1980
Source: second hand book table at a market
In 1945 Agatha Christie rewrote the novel as a play.
Among the towering red cliffs and ancient ruins of Petra sits the corpse of Mrs. Boynton. A tiny puncture mark, the only sign of the fatal injection that killed her. Hercule Poirot recalls a remark he overheard back in Jerusalem: "You do see, don't you, that she's got to be killed?" Mrs. Boynton was, indeed, the most detestable woman he had ever met. With only 24 hours to solve the case, can Poirot find the killer amongst so many suspects?
Mrs Boynton's American family are in thrall to her. She dominates their lives like a giant spider and saps their individual wills to rebel. Only one of her family are actually her own child. Three of the remaining are her step children and one of the women is married to her eldest step-son. They are all totally dependent on her for financial support, although they will all inherit a massive fortune equally at her death.
- " What a horror of a woman!" Old, swollen, bloated, sitting there immoveable in the midsts of them - a distorted old Buddha - a gross spider in the centre of a web!
By the end of Part I, nearly half way through the novel, Mrs Boynton keeps her appointment with death while visiting Petra. Hercule Poirot had already observed the family in Jerusalem. Just now he is visiting Colonel Carbury in Amman with a letter of introduction from Colonel Race. Mrs Boynton's body is brought to Amman and Carbury invites Poirot to assist him in the investigation.
- Hercule Poirot ... the egg-shaped head, the gigantic moustaches, the dandyfied appearance and the suspicious blackness of his hair.
Poirot says he will succeed through
- ... methodical sifting of the evidence, by a process of reasoning.... And by a study of psychological possibilities.
- I am gifted.... I know my own ability.
My rating: 4.4