The villagers of Chipping Cleghorn, including Miss Marple, are agog with curiosity over an advertisement in the local gazette which reads: "A murder is announced and will take place on Friday October 29th, at Little Paddocks at 6.30 pm." A childish practical joke? Or a hoax intended to scare poor Letitia Blacklock? Unable to resist the mysterious invitation, a crowd begins to gather at Little Paddocks at the appointed time when, without warning, the lights go out . . .