Sheila Webb, a typist at Miss Martindale's agency, arrives at her afternoon appointment at Wilbraham Crescent in Crowdean, Sussex. She finds a well-dressed older man, stabbed to death, surrounded by six clocks, four of which are stopped at 4:13, while the cuckoo clock announces it is 3 o'clock. When a blind woman enters the house about to step on the corpse, Sheila runs screaming out of the house and into the arms of a young man passing down the street. Sheila was raised by an aunt after being abandoned by her mother at birth. The only memento from her mother is a blue clock with the word Remembrance on it.