An advertisement in the Chipping Cleghorn Gazette reads: "A murder is announced and will take place on Friday October 5th at Little Paddocks at seven p.m." Thinking it is a new style of party game, many townspeople find a variety of pretexts to call at the appointed hour. There they are served sherry by the impressively charming owner of Little Paddocks, Miss Blacklock, but later when shots ring out it is no longer a game. The victim is identified as Rudi Scherz, a waiter at the local Spa Hotel. Inspector Craddock is put onto the case. By chance, Miss Marple is also staying at the hotel.