Short summary - Taken at the Flood - Agatha Christie

British literature summaries - 2020

Short summary - Taken at the Flood
Agatha Christie

Part one

One of the Coronation club members, Major Porter, finds in the newspaper a note about the death of millionaire Gordon Cloud. An explosion occurred in his London home. Mr. Cloud himself was killed, a married couple of servants and a maid girl. Two weeks before the explosion, Cloud married. His wife, Rosalyn, who is twenty-five years younger than her husband, and her brother David survived.

Major Porter knew Mrs. Cloud's first husband, Robert Underheray. Mr. Underhei met Rosalyn in Africa, where she toured with the troupe. Life in the jungle quickly tired of her, and they parted. Catholic Underherah was against divorce, but soon news came that he died of a fever. Anderhey could spread the rumor of his death to free Rosalyn from marriage. In this case, Rosalyn will not be able to claim the money of Gordon Cloud. This message is of interest to attorney Jeremy Cloud, the younger brother of Gordon, who is present at the club. Also in the club there is the famous detective Hercule Poirot.

Two years later, the wife of Mr. Cloud's second brother, Lionel, turns to Hercule Poirot for help. She asks the famous detective to go to Africa to find Robert Underherhey. The woman aroused the spirit, and he told her that Underha was alive. Being constrained in the means, she can now rely on the money of the late brother-in-law. Poirot refuses to help, but soon notices a note in the newspaper that a certain Inok Arden was killed in the village where the Cloud lives, and decides to start an investigation.

After the death of Gordon Cloud, his entire large family was left without a livelihood. Brothers Jeremy and Lionel, the widowed sister of Edela with their daughter Lin and Rowley, the son of another brother of Gordon, received checks from him during the life of a millionaire. Now they decide to ask for help from Rosalyn, who in the eyes of the Cloud family is a short-sighted uneducated girl who is completely subordinate to her brother.

The whole family gathers in Lionel’s house, Rosalyn and David are also invited. Lin, who has been engaged to Rowley for many years, meets with David, who condemns their relationship, considering Rowley a booby.

After the party at the Clodes, Rosalyn is crushed. She wants to leave, but David is against, he is amused by the Cloud. Previously, they were on the maintenance of Gordon, but now they need it. Having improved the moment when Rosalyn is alone, Edela asks her for money. Upon learning that Rosalyn gave the required amount, David thwarts further attempts of such requests. David tells Lin that the Cloud don’t get anything else. Outraged, Lin tells her mother not to beg for money anymore.

Rowley accidentally meets Rosalyn. He works on his farm and notices how she is interested in everything that happens there. It feels that she is versed in agriculture. During the conversation, Rosalyn forgets his lighter. Suddenly, a stranger appears in the village, whose appearance seems Rowley familiar. Rowley finds it strange that a person did not pre-book a hotel room. He learns that the man’s name is Inok Arden, and he came from Cape Town.

The monk Arden immediately tells David that he has information about Robert Underherhey. When meeting at the hotel, Arden says that Underhey is alive and demands a large amount of cash for silence. The frightened Rosalyn and David urgently seek money and sell jewelry. Rosalyn, who has long been afraid of the Clodes, offers to leave, but David does not intend to lose capital. Nevertheless, he sends his sister to London.

The hostess overheard the conversation between David and Arden hands him over to Rowley. Rowley decides to consult with Jeremy Cloud as a lawyer. While waiting in Jeremy’s living room, he looks at the photographs of his wife’s family displayed there and leaves without waiting.

David admits Lyn to love. The girl begins to doubt her feelings for Rowley, but David, who went to London to Rosalyn, unexpectedly calls Lin on the phone and refuses her. Meanwhile, Inok Arden was found murdered in a hotel room. There are no documents confirming his identity.

Rowley tells the police inspector about the conversation between Arden and David. He also admits that he came to the murdered man and tried to bring him to clean water, but nothing came of it.

The inspector studies the facts. The murder was committed between eight and eleven o'clock in the evening. Arden fell and hit his head, and then he was hit by fireplace tongs. Lipstick and an expensive lighter with the initials of D.H. were found in the room. The inspector goes to David and Rosalyn in London, but David refuses to tell where he was during the murder. Rosalyn agrees to the identification of the deceased and says that he does not know this person.

Part two

Hercule Poirot visits Rowley, who is interested in the personality of the murdered. He asks the famous detective to find a man who could identify Arden. Together they go to Major Porter, and he recognizes Robert Underher from a photograph in the newspaper. During the conversation, Major Porter offers visitors cigarettes and recalls that Rowley does not smoke.

At a judicial inquiry, David refutes the words of the hostess of the hotel - the victim did not say that Underhey was alive, but simply demanded money. David refuses to say where he was during the murder, but admits that the lighter found in the room belongs to him. He probably lost her when he spoke with the deceased. Major Porter recognizes Robert Underherhead as murdered, but Rosalyn denies this. The jury accuses David of intentional murder. He is being arrested, and Rosalyn is left without support.

Poirot accidentally meets Rosalyn in a church. The girl admits that she is sinful and wants to repent. The murdered woman was not really her husband, and what Underhera looked like, she did not want to talk.

Poirot visits the room occupied by the slain. From the old lady who constantly lives in the hotel, the famous detective learns that a makeup woman came to the murdered woman, wrapped in a scarf. This news surprises the hostess who has not seen anyone.

Poirot visits Jeremy Cloud's house. He wants to consult with him, as a lawyer, about the will of Gordon Cloud. Seeing his wife, Poirot is amazed at her poor appearance and resemblance to his father, whom he sees in the photograph. Then the news comes that Major Porter shot himself. Having searched his room, Poirot does not find the note that is usually left by the suicides.

Poirot again comes to Jeremy Cloud and talks with his wife. Seeing family photos, he realizes that the murdered Inok Arden was her relative. Having found herself in a difficult financial situation, she decided to marry Arden, an unprincipled man, for her first husband, Rosalyn. But she did not persuade Major Porter to confirm this.

In the meantime, the inspector finds out that the woman who was painted up was seen in the village. But Poirot’s thoughts are more concerned with Rosalyn and David. Rosalyn is definitely afraid of something, and David easily went on about a stranger. In a conversation with Lin, the famous detective expresses concern for Rosalyn, who has recently turned into a shadow. They decide to visit her and find out that Rosalyn died in a dream. She left a note stating that she was a sinner and could no longer live like that. At this point, David rushes into the room, from which the suspicions of murder were removed. He accuses the Cloud family of killing Rosalyn.

The police inspector believes that Rosalyn, having changed clothes, killed the newcomer and committed suicide, but Poirot is interested in the powders that Rosalyn took for the night as sleeping pills. He also wondered if anyone had called Rosalyn. The famous detective believes that Rosalyn was killed. Of the three deaths, one was an accident, one was suicide and one was murder.

After thinking, Lin decides to break off the engagement with Rowley and marry David. Upon learning of this, Rowley is furious. He says he has already killed two and will not stop before the third murder. Poirot and David come to stifle the girl.

Poirot gives an explanation. The Cloud unconsciously wished for Rosalyn's death, as she had lost her livelihood. Upon learning that Robert Underhei may have been alive, Rowley went to Jeremy but saw pictures of his wife's family in the living room. Guessing that the newcomer is a relative of Mrs. Jeremy Cloud, Rowley came to the hotel to expose him. During the conversation, a fight broke out and the newcomer fell. Rowley's Rosalyn lighter fell out of his pocket, and then he arranged everything as if the killer was David. After that, Rowley came to Hercule Poirot with a request to find a witness who knew Robert Underheray. Then Rowley conspired with Major Porter, and he confirmed that the murdered man was Robert Underhera. In their conversation, the famous detective guessed that they knew each other. But the major was tormented by conscience, and he shot himself, leaving a suicide note that Rowley destroyed.

At this time, David came to the hotel to give money, and saw that a murder had occurred. He went home, changed into a woman, returned to the hotel, and made him notice. With the help of Rosalyn, who contacted the telephone operator, he called Lin allegedly from London - in fact, David arrived in London in the morning. But then there was a problem with Rosalyn, who was actually neither his sister, nor Rosalyn Cloud. The real Rosalynne Cloud died in the explosion, the maid, a girl of the same age, survived. David persuaded the shell-shocked girl, with whom he most likely already had close relations, to impersonate Rosalyn. She was very nervous and turned to Dr. Lionel, who prescribed her sleeping pills. Over time, her nerves began to fade, she interfered with David's relationship with Lin. He replaced her sleeping pills with morphine, confident that

David is arrested, and Lin returns to Rowley. Rowley is tormented by conscience, because on his account two deaths. Lin reassures him that the first is an accident, and Major Porter himself had to think about what to do.