Taken at the Flood

  • Hercule Poirot
  • Novel
  • 1948

A few weeks after marrying an attractive young widow, Gordon Cloade is tragically killed by a bomb blast in the London blitz. Overnight, the former Mrs Underhay finds herself in sole possession of the Cloade family fortune. Shortly afterwards, Hercule Poirot receives a visit from the dead man’s sister-in-law who claims she has been warned by ‘spirits’ that Mrs Underhay’s first husband is still alive. Poirot has his suspicions when he is asked to find a missing person guided only by the spirit world. Yet what mystifies Poirot most is the woman’s true motive for approaching him.

What a queer topsy turvy world it was, thought Lynn. It used to be the man who went to the wars, the woman who stayed at home. But here the positions were reversed.

Agatha Christie, Taken at the Flood

More about this story

The story follows Hercule Poirot as he untangles the family history of a young widow and those who would rather she weren’t the sole inheritor of her second husband’s fortune.

The title is taken from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Act IV spoken by Brutus: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood leads on to fortune…” The quotation is given in full in the novel’s epigraph.

It was dramatised on BBC Radio 4 in 2004 and starred John Moffatt as Poirot. And in 2006 it was adapted for TV. David Suchet was Poirot and the cast included several other famous faces including Celia Imrie as Kathy Cloade and Jenny Agutter as Adela Marchmont.

Did you know?

  1. The story was originally published in the US under the title There is a Tide.

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