This is one of my favorites of Agatha Christie’s books, and I read it often.
The book opens with two old school friends, one of whom is a British pilot. The other is the ruler of a small middle eastern country. There’s a coup coming and their lives are in danger. The prince hands the pilot a small bag of jewels and asks him to find a safe way out of the country for them, in case the two of them are killed. After some thought, he goes to the hotel where his sister and her teenage daughter are staying and hides them in their luggage.
He is forced to leave the country with the prince before he can tell anyone where he hid them. He and the prince are both killed in the escape attempt.
His sister and niece travel by sea back to England, where, after the state department searches their luggage, the niece goes to her boarding school. His sister’s house is robbed and then the boarding school starts having trouble.
Muddying the waters a bit, there’s a girl at the school who is also middle eastern royalty and who claims to have been engaged to the dead prince. She knows about the missing gems, and she is constantly talking about how she’s likely to be kidnapped for them, or perhaps that someone will find the gems and bring them to her for a reward.
And then the game’s mistress is killed. Although many people have often thought about killing their physical education teacher, most people don’t actually do it.
Not long afterwards, one of the school administrators is also killed in the gymnasium.
The French teacher tries to blackmail the murderer and is killed herself.
Will the jewels be found? Who is the killer?
I love this book.