Evans Who?


Agatha Christie is not especially known for her humor.

In her script for the play Witness for the Prosecution there are perhaps two or three lines that might draw laughter from the audience; it took Billy Wilder to add some real comic moments to that property.

Her Hercule Poirot novels tend to be rather humorless except for a few brief descriptions of her aging detective or his sometimes absurd personal habits.

The Miss Marple novels fare a bit better in the humor department as Christie describes the understated reactions of the residents of St. Mary Mead to murders in their midst.

But it’s in some of her stand alone novels where Christie really cuts loose, so to speak. Take Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?, for example.

The novel is perhaps best described as a comic thriller. So comic, in fact, that it sometimes veers into absurdity. Imagine that Phoebe and Joey set out to solve a murder. Assuming that Joey is the son of a Vicar and Phoebe is a Lady, both of them sporting British accents, of course.

The plot is set in motion when during a round of golf, Bobby Jones discovers a fatally injured man. Just before dying, the man utters the cryptic words, “Why didn’t they ask Evans?” Shortly after conveying those dying words to the dead man’s relatives, Bobby is offered a job in South America. When he turns it down, an attempt is made on his life. His best friend, Frankie, or Lady Frances Derwent, convinces him to investigate.

Their investigation gradually uncovers an extremely convoluted Christie plot, and as it turns out there was a reason why they didn’t ask Evans and even why they thought they needed to get Bobby out of the way. 

Like nearly every Christie book, this one has been dramatized more than once. The most recent time being just last year in a version that is now available on Britbox. I haven’t seen that one yet, so I can’t pass judgment on it, but the book is a fun read—at least if you don’t take it too seriously.



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