I’ve heard about Agatha Christie’s Cat Among the Pigeons during a brainstorming session with my colleagues in the film industry many years ago. The method with a mirror intrigued me.
Last year, I got hold of an e-book version and recently, I read this using my Kindle app.
Prince Ali Yusuf, the liberal ruling monarch of Ramat, gave a small bag of jewels to his pilot, Bob Rawlinson, for safekeeping. The prince feared that some coup plotters were after him. So Bob devised a plan for their escape.
Bob’s sister, Mrs. Joan Sutcliffe, and her daughter Jennifer, were in Ramat for a vacation. But with the revolution coming, they had to leave for London immediately. So Bob went to their hotel and secretly concealed the bag of jewels into their travel belongings. Unknown to Bob, a Spanish dancer hid at the balcony next door and saw him. Later, Prince Ali and Bob died in a plane crash.
Three months after, in London, the prestigious Meadowbank School for Girls started their school term. Miss Bullstrode, the headmistress, just hired four new staff. They were Miss Ann Shapland, her secretary, Miss Blanche, the French teacher, Miss Springer, the gym teacher, and Adam Goodman, the gardener.
On the first day of school, Miss Bullstrode welcomed parents and students. Jennifer returned to school and Mrs. Sutcliffe mentioned about their trip to Ramat, his brother’s death, and a recent burglary at home.
Princess Shaista, cousin of the late Prince Ali Yusuf, arrived as a transferee from Switzerland.
During the welcome, Mrs. Upjohn, a parent who just happened to have worked in military intelligence, looked out the window and recognized someone whom she knew and whose presence at the school surprised her.
Miss Bullstrode dismissed Mrs Upjohn’s comment as she was thinking of her retirement. Everyone assumed that Miss Vansittart will succeed Miss Bullstrode. Although Miss Bullstrode had other things to consider.
One night, someone shot Miss Springer dead in the school’s new Sports Pavillon. Inpsector Kelsey interviewed everyone. Adam Goodman revealed himself to a select few as an undercover agent for the British intelligence.
Meanwhile, Jennifer, a tennis player, wrote to her mother for a replacement of her racquet. Julia Upjohn, her classmate, offered to exchange racquets instead.
Later, a woman came and gave Jennifer a new racquet from her Aunt Gina and took the old one. Jennifer thanked the woman and said that she’ll write her Aunt Gina back. But Aunt Gina denied sending anything to her.
One weekend, Miss Bullstrode attended a dinner and left the school under Misses Vansittart’s and Chadwick’s care. Also, the school received an information that the Emir would be fetching Princess Shaista.
So the Princess entered a car that arrived as everyone thought that it was the Emir’s car and chauffeur. The princess didn’t return that night and in a separate incident, someone hit Miss Vansittart on the head.
Julia, thinking about the two previous deaths, locked herself in her room and inspected her racquet which was originally from Jennifer. She found a small bag with jewels.
The next day, she fled from the school and met Hercule Poirot. At that time, the police were focusing on Miss Blanche, the new French teacher because she seemed to have an idea who killed Miss Springer. Unfortunately, by the time Julia returned to school with Mr. Poirot, Miss Blanche was dead.
So Poirot appeared on Chapter 17, past the story’s midpoint. And I found it unusual. Again, as in any Poirot investigation, everyone in the school became a suspect. Somehow, given the situation in Ramat, it looks like a spy thriller without Tommy and Tuppence. Well, this time I was correct with my hunch on who killed Miss Vansittart. But I’m still giving this 4 out of 5 stars.