When you are disappointed by a large fiction novel, it’s best to pick a murder mystery next, especially by a reliable author, so that you can avoid back-to-back disappointment. And who better to pick than the queen of crime? So I went with ‘Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?’, which is an engaging whodunit By Agatha Christie. Funnily enough, the timing couldn’t have been better, because it’s getting adapted into a three-part series soon.
The title of this murder mystery happens to be the last uttered sentence of the victim. It’s significance only revealed towards the end, which was almost exaggeratedly comical & absurd. But apart from that, this Christie mystery was a fun read, with two friends doing their own private digging into the murder of a stranger. One is an eyewitness Bobbie & the other is his wealthy friend Lady Frances.
While playing a game of golf with a doctor, Bobbie hears a cry and wonders if the ball hit someone close-by. As the two look around, they find a man fatally injured by the cliff-edge. What is first declared as an ‘accident’, seems to sound suspicious after Bobbie has a near death escape days later, after his beer is poisoned with an opioid. He teams up with his affluent friend Frankie (Lady Frances) and they slowly find themselves thrust into a story that had already been hurtling at a dangerous speed.
Think I enjoyed this a lot more than the ones with Poirot, because the investigators are amateurs and have a lot of interesting adventures along the way. Frankie was a plucky protagonist, without any cliches attached to her. A lot of the incidents that help them in unraveling the case are incredible co-incidences and sheer luck, but that’s what fun fiction is all about. The usual Christie plot tricks are there, where the reader is constantly thrown off the scent of the main culprit. Although, this one was a little more convincing than some of the other Poirot novels I have read.
‘Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?’ was completely entertaining, and since we do not have an aging Poirot or Marple heading the probe, there aren’t any fuddy-duddy jokes or outdated sentiments unintentionally sprinkled over the pages. It was largely breezy and gripping. And yes, you will keep wondering till the last few chapters – “Just who the hell is Evans?!”.