I am finally able to reveal the title of my third Poirot novel, which will be published in August. It’s called The Mystery of Three Quarters.
I love the title (if I’m allowed to say that, having thought of it myself). I love it because it sounds so much like a very traditional mystery title in one way (The Mystery of…) but also because what comes next is so unexpected. I think ‘The Mystery of…’ makes you expect a place name or a house name. Not ‘Three Quarters’. Three Quarters of what? Aha – you will have to wait to find out the answer to that question! But here, in the meantime, is a short plot teaser:
The Mystery of Three Quarters
Hercule Poirot returns home after an agreeable luncheon to find an angry woman waiting to berate him outside his front door. Her name is Sylvia Rule, and she demands to know why Poirot has accused her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met. She is furious to be so accused, and deeply shocked. Poirot is equally shocked, because he too has never heard of any Barnabas Pandy, and he certainly did not send the letter in question. He cannot convince Sylvia Rule of his innocence, however, and she marches away in a rage.
Shaken, Poirot goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him — a man called John McCrodden who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy…
Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. Who sent them, and why? More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?
Unlike my first two Poirot novels, both of which started with ideas for endings/twists/solutions, this mystery started with the opening plot hook. So instead of working backwards, this time I had to work forwards. I always start in one of these two ways – with my contemporary crime fiction too. It’s always either a beginning or an ending that inspires me! I can’t wait to see the cover art, both for the UK edition and for all the International editions too. So far, deals have been finalised with (I think) thirteen countries, with many other international deals still being negotiated.
The Mystery of Three Quarters will be published in hardback, ebook and audio in August.