“In a big grandfather arm-chair, the biggest and most imposing of all the chairs, sat the thin, shriveled figure of an old man. His long clawlike hands rested on the arms of the chair. A gold-mounted stick was by his side. He wore an old shabby blue dressing-gown. On his feet were carpet slippers. His hair was white and the skin of his face was yellow.”
Old Simeon Lee, the millionaire, invites all his children, even the prodigal son and the unknown granddaughter, to spend Christmas with him. Is he turning into a kind and soft grandfather, or does the old man have other motives for gathering his family around him?
Soon after the family reunion, he lets it slip that he is going to call his lawyer, and afterwards he tells his four sons that he regards them all as weak and useless. Small wonder that the next scene offers “a horrible high wailing scream that died away in a choke or gurgle.” Someone has had enough of the unpleasant tyrant and killed him in an orgy of blood.
Fortunately the local Superintendent Sugden is on the spot, and a vigilant Hercule Poirot is not far away either so though the traditional English Christmas has been spoiled, the innocent can relax and begin to lay plans for the future before New Year´s Eve.
This review is part of Kerrie´s Christmas meme: Suggest a Christmas Title.