Saturday, July 7, 2012

Why Didn't They Ask Evans?

 "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?" is what a dying man said to Bobby, the Vicar's Son. Bobby was playing golf with the local doctor and he hit a ball over the edge of a cliff. In trying to retrieve the ball Bobby saw a dying man on the rocks, the dying man said these words and passed away.

Few days later the man was identified and his death was attributed to an accident. Bobby who had all forgotten about this was enjoying a chilled beer under a tree after consuming the beverage he went for a nap only to wake up in a hospital. Apparently, Bobby had been poisoned by someone. 

Bobby's rich, aristocrat and vivacious friend Frankie thinks that his poisoning is somehow connected to the business over at the cliff. Frankie and Bobby take up the role of amateur sleuths and start investigating this mystery. The deeper they get into it, the more they realize that this mystery is an abyss with layers and layers of obscurity and that the only way the two would ever solve it, is if they find out "Why didn't they ask Evans?"

Review: I have in the past few weeks read and reviewed some below par or sub standard Christie's, and most of these were written outside the golden age. So, I decided to pick up a golden age non-series(no Poirot or Marple) book for my next read and picked this 1934 piece of detective fiction, but does this stand up to the golden age reputation?

It sure does. "Why didn't they ask Evans?" turns out to be a very enjoyable read. The most important and main thing about the book is the Plot. The Plot is so intricate, detailed and layered that you will be left baffled and surprised at many instances in the story. I tried to find flaws and pick mistakes in the story but I just was not able to. The Author thought of everything well in advance and page by page started pouring in the details.

The Collins edition that I have has close to 360 pages but it never gets boring. The mystery is "cunning" and the book is not bereft of twists, even the identity of the murderer is not easy to figure out, but not very well hidden.


The Characterization is well done. Frankie in my opinion is the Heroine of the story and is a lovable character. She is witty, highly intelligent, high spirited and noble. Bobby on the other hand is a plain character who is unable to match up to the piece's heroine or the villain. Although Frankie and Bobby do seem to act a lot on their whim and that a few times gave me the impression of them being characters out of a detective novel and not real people.

The setting of the story keeps changing and moving so that the reader is never bored and the narration is clear and eloquent. No Christie formulas are used and that is pleasing and refreshing. This book is strongly recommended.

3.5 out of 5 stars.


I'm submitting this as part of the Vintage Mystery Challenge.

2 comments:

  1. One of the more memorable titles from the Christie canon. I know I have read this book because this name stands out, much like "And then there were none" and "The murder on the orient express." And then there are the ones that I have to read a few chapters before I can even tell if I have read them previously.

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    Replies
    1. hi Peter,

      That's an interesting observation, this happens a lot with me too especially when reading Carr.

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