Review: “Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?” by Agatha Christie

Title: Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (AKA The Boomerang Clue)
Author: Agatha Christie
Rating: ****
Publisher/Copyright: Berkley, 1992 (Originally 1934)

If you’re going to read a mystery novel, Agatha Christie is one of the great masters (mistresses?) of the genre. I’ve not read a lot of hers, so far only this and the first two Tommy And Tuppence books, both of which I liked. This particular book wasn’t her strongest showing, but it was still a very fun read.

Bobby Jones is playing golf with his friend one misty evening when they hear a startled cry from the cliffs beside the links. Thinking maybe he’s beaned some poor stranger with his ball, Tommy goes rushing over only to find that a man has fallen over the cliff. By the time he manages to climb down and reach him, the man has time only to mutter “Why didn’t they ask Evans?” before breathing his last. Not exactly portentous last words, but relating them earns Bobby a poisoning attempt and sets him and his friend Frankie on the trail of a few very simple yet very important questions: was the poor man pushed? And if so, why? And who on Earth is Evans?

Like I said, this was a very enjoyable tale. I loved the characters, the setup was interesting, and the solution just as convoluted as you would expect coming from Agatha Christie. Bobby and Frankie definitely reminded me of Tommy and Tuppence, which is cool because I really liked them. Where this one I think fell a bit short was the overabundance of coincidences that led our characters to their goals. There are only a couple of really brilliant moments of deduction, such as [EXAMPLES DELETED]. In between are semi-miraculous occurrences, like Bobby inexplicably surviving a dose of Morphia that would kill a man his size ten times over or [EXAMPLE DELETED]. I enjoyed it, but there was a lot more deus ex machina than I would usually expect from Ms. Christie.

CONTENT: I don’t recall any profanity, and if there was any it was very mild. There’s some violence, not a lot, and a good deal of what would be classed “mild peril” for a PG-rated kids movie. No sexual content–Christie doesn’t even explicitly show the characters kiss–although there is some implication that a character being discussed was involved in an affair.

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