Appointment with Death
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3.87 / 5

"Appointment with Death" Summary

By Agatha Christie

mystery | 303 pages | Published in NaN

Among the towering red cliffs of Petra, like some monstrous swollen Buddha, sat the corpse of Mrs Boynton. A tiny puncture mark on her wrist was the only sign of the fatal injection that had killed her.With only 24 hours available to solve the mystery, Hercule Poirot recalled a chance remark he’d overheard back in Jerusalem: ‘You see, don’t you, that she’s got to be killed?’ Mrs Boynton was, indeed, the most detestable woman he’d ever met.


Estimated read time: 6 min read


In "Appointment with Death," the renowned mystery writer Agatha Christie takes readers on a thrilling journey filled with suspense, intrigue, and murder. This classic crime novel, first published in 1938, features her famous detective Hercule Poirot as he unravels the perplexing mystery surrounding a suspicious death. Set in the exotic backdrop of the Middle East, this gripping tale explores the dark depths of human nature, secrets, and the consequences of past actions.

Brief Synopsis

The story is set in Petra, Jordan, where a diverse group of characters find themselves entangled in a haunting murder case. The Boynton family, consisting of the manipulative matriarch Mrs. Boynton, her three stepchildren, and their spouses, are vacationing in this ancient city. Mrs. Boynton, a controlling and malevolent woman, seems to have a sinister hold over her family, keeping them under her oppressive influence.

When Mrs. Boynton is found dead in a seemingly natural manner, it is initially assumed to be a result of her ill health. However, the astute Hercule Poirot, who happens to be vacationing in Petra, suspects foul play. Poirot's suspicions are further fueled by the peculiar behavior of the family members, all of whom seem to have a motive for wanting Mrs. Boynton dead.

As Poirot delves deeper into the lives and secrets of the Boynton family, he uncovers a web of hidden motives, past tragedies, and dark secrets. With time running out and the murderer still at large, Poirot must use his keen intellect and powers of deduction to solve the perplexing puzzle and bring the killer to justice.

Main Characters

Here are some of the key characters in "Appointment with Death":

Character NameDescription
Hercule PoirotThe brilliant and meticulous detective who is vacationing in Petra and becomes involved in solving the murder. Poirot is known for his remarkable deductive skills and attention to detail.
Mrs. BoyntonThe domineering and malevolent matriarch of the Boynton family. Her controlling nature and manipulation over her stepchildren make her a despised figure.
Lennox BoyntonOne of Mrs. Boynton's stepchildren, Lennox is a troubled and disturbed young man who seems to be harboring deep secrets.
Sarah KingA young doctor who is drawn into the investigation and assists Poirot. She is kind-hearted and empathetic, providing a contrast to the dark nature of the Boynton family.
Raymond BoyntonAnother stepchild of Mrs. Boynton, Raymond is engaged to Sarah King. He appears to be trapped in his stepmother's clutches and is desperate to break free.

Main Events

Chapters 1-5: Introduction and Setting

The story begins with the introduction of the Boynton family and their arrival in Petra. Mrs. Boynton's oppressive control over her stepchildren is established, and her malevolence is hinted at. The diverse group of characters, including Hercule Poirot, is also introduced, and the stage is set for the unfolding mystery.

Chapters 6-10: The Murder

Mrs. Boynton is found dead in her hotel room, and the cause of death is deemed to be natural. However, Poirot begins to suspect foul play due to the suspicious behavior of the family members. He starts questioning them and gathering clues to uncover the truth behind the murder.

Chapters 11-15: Uncovering Secrets

Poirot delves deeper into the lives of the Boynton family, uncovering hidden secrets, past tragedies, and motives for murder. The twisted dynamics within the family are revealed, and Poirot starts piecing together the puzzle of the murder.

Chapters 16-20: The Final Revelation

As Poirot gets closer to the truth, tensions rise among the suspects. The murderer's identity is revealed in a dramatic climax, and the motivations behind the crime are unveiled. Poirot skillfully exposes the killer and ensures they face justice.

Themes and Insights

"Appointment with Death" explores several themes and provides valuable insights into the human psyche. Some of the key themes include:

  1. Control and Manipulation: The novel delves into the destructive power of control and manipulation, as Mrs. Boynton exerts her influence over her stepchildren, causing them immense psychological harm.
  2. Consequences of Past Actions: The consequences of past actions and the impact they have on the present are central to the story. The characters' past experiences and choices play a significant role in shaping their motives and behavior.
  3. Secrets and Hidden Motives: The book explores the theme of secrets and hidden motives, highlighting the lengths to which individuals may go to protect their dark pasts or achieve their desires.
  4. Justice and Morality: The concept of justice and the moral implications of the characters' actions are examined. The novel raises questions about the boundaries of justice and the lengths one should go to seek it.

Reader's Takeaway

"Appointment with Death" is a gripping and intricately plotted mystery that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Agatha Christie's masterful storytelling and her ability to create complex characters make this novel a captivating read. The book also offers valuable insights into the complexities of human nature and the consequences of our actions.

Throughout the story, readers are challenged to unravel the puzzle alongside Hercule Poirot, testing their own deductive skills. The plot twists and turns, keeping readers guessing until the final revelation. With its exotic setting and compelling cast of characters, "Appointment with Death" is a must-read for fans of classic crime fiction.


Agatha Christie's "Appointment with Death" is a timeless classic that showcases her brilliance as the queen of crime fiction. Set against the backdrop of the Middle East, the novel takes readers on a thrilling journey filled with suspense, intrigue, and murder. With Hercule Poirot at the helm, the story unravels a complex web of secrets and hidden motives, ultimately leading to a shocking and satisfying conclusion.

Through its exploration of themes such as control, consequences, and justice, "Appointment with Death" offers readers valuable insights into the human condition. Christie's meticulous plotting and engaging storytelling make this novel an unforgettable reading experience. Whether you are a dedicated mystery fan or simply seeking an enthralling tale, "Appointment with Death" is sure to leave you captivated from beginning to end.

Appointment with Death FAQ

  1. Who is the author of 'Appointment with Death'?

    The author of 'Appointment with Death' is Agatha Christie.

  2. What is the genre of 'Appointment with Death'?

    'Appointment with Death' is a mystery novel.

  3. When was 'Appointment with Death' first published?

    'Appointment with Death' was first published in 1938.

  4. What is the setting of 'Appointment with Death'?

    'Appointment with Death' is set in Jerusalem.

  5. Who is the main character in 'Appointment with Death'?

    The main character in 'Appointment with Death' is Hercule Poirot.

  6. What is the plot of 'Appointment with Death'?

    In 'Appointment with Death', Hercule Poirot investigates the death of Mrs. Boynton, a tyrannical and manipulative woman, while on holiday in Jerusalem with a group of fellow tourists.

  7. Is 'Appointment with Death' part of a series?

    Yes, 'Appointment with Death' is part of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot series.

  8. Are there any film adaptations of 'Appointment with Death'?

    Yes, 'Appointment with Death' has been adapted into a film in 1988.

  9. Is 'Appointment with Death' a standalone novel?

    No, 'Appointment with Death' is part of the Hercule Poirot series.

  10. What are some other popular books by Agatha Christie?

    Some other popular books by Agatha Christie include 'Murder on the Orient Express', 'And Then There Were None', and 'The Murder of Roger Ackroyd'.