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Wealthy crime novelist Harlan Thrombey invites his family to his mansion for his 85th birthday party. The next morning, Harlan’s housekeeper Fran finds him dead, apparently having slit his own throat. An anonymous party pays private detective Benoit Blanc to investigate.

Blanc learns that Harlan had alienated much of his family: he had threatened to expose his son-in-law Richard for having an affair; cut off his daughter-in-law Joni’s allowance for stealing money meant for her daughter’s tuition; fired his youngest son Walt from his publishing company; and cut his lazy grandson Ransom out of his will.

Unknown to Blanc, after the party Harlan’s nurse Marta Cabrera, giving Harlan his daily medications, had a fatal mix-up between similar-looking bottles of ketorolac and morphine. Recognizing that he was likely minutes from death from an overdose, Harlan told Marta how to avoid suspicion by making it appear he was still alive after she had driven home, and then slit his own throat. Carrying out Harlan’s instructions, Marta was seen escaping the house by Harlan’s very elderly mother, who mistook her for Ransom.

Marta cannot lie without vomiting, so she gives technically true but incomplete answers when Blanc questions her. Blanc asks her to assist in his investigation. As they search the property, Marta attempts to conceal evidence. The family is shocked to learn from Harlan’s lawyer that Harlan left everything to Marta. They turn on her, but Ransom helps her escape. At a restaurant, Ransom tricks Marta into confessing to him, and offers to help her in exchange for his share of the inheritance. The other Thrombeys realize that, under the slayer rule, Marta will lose the inheritance if she is found guilty of killing Harlan, but Blanc tells them that they all are still suspects. They try to persuade Marta to renounce her inheritance.

Marta receives a blackmail note with a partial photocopy of Harlan’s toxicology report. She and Ransom drive to the medical examiner’s office, but it has been destroyed in a fire. Marta receives an email with a time and address to meet the blackmailer. When Blanc spots her and Ransom, Marta speeds away. The police catch them and arrest Ransom. Blanc explains to Marta that Harlan’s mother had seen Ransom climbing down from Harlan’s upstairs rooms on the night of his death.

Marta goes to the address in the email and discovers Fran drugged. She performs CPR and calls 911. Marta confesses everything to Blanc, but Ransom has already informed on her. At the house, Marta finds a copy of the full toxicology report hidden in Fran’s cannabis stash. Marta is about to confess to the family, but Blanc interrupts her after reading the report. He brings Marta, Ransom and the police to a room to reveal his deduction.

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