Captain Hastings arrives in the flat that he now shares with Poirot in London, eager to tell the Belgian detective about a woman with whom he has fallen hopelessly in love on the train from Paris to Calais. But Poirot is busy sorting his mail, impatiently tossing aside bills and banal requests "recovering lost lap dogs for fashionable ladies". Then he finds an extraordinary letter from the south of France: "For God's sake, come!" writes Monsieur Paul Renauld. Poirot decides to investigate and he takes Hastings to France and the Villa Genevieve in Merlinville-sur-Mer on the northern French coast where Renauld wrote from. Asking for directions near the Villa Genevieve, they are watched by a young girl outside another smaller villa who has "anxious eyes".