Jane Wilkinson is a famous and an extremely beautiful American actress who is also married to Lord Edgware. According to Jane/Lady Edgware, her husband is a horrid man and she wants out. She comes to Hercule Poirot, a master at solving problems, to see if he could help her “get rid of the man.” There is someone else she wishes to marry.
Poirot, of course, will not be a party to murder but he agrees to talk to Lord Edgware about a divorce. Lord Edgware says he has no objection to a divorce and, in fact, had already sent a letter to his wife telling her that.
But then, the very next morning, Lord Edgware was found murdered in his study. Both the butler and a housekeeper saw Lady Edgware come to visit him the night before. She is presumed to be the last person to see him alive. Inspector Japp believes he has the case wrapped up only to discover that Lady Edgware was somewhere else the night before. Lady Edgware was at a dinner party, one in which there were thirteen people around the table. Uh-oh – that’s bad luck.
Solving this mystery means looking at many different options. For one thing, how could Lady Edgware be in two places at one time? Could it have something to do with Carlotta Adams, the fabulous American impersonator? Before our detectives can pursue that line of questioning, Carlotta is also found dead.
What about the motives for killing Lord Edgware? Lady Edgware already knew she could have her divorce. Lord Edgware’s nephew, who had severe financial problems, would be the one to inherit Lord Edgware’s fortune. And, Lord Edgware’s daughter really hated her father. Both of these two characters were at the theatre that evening. How could they have done it. Is there someone else?
We have suspects and motives but dead-ends everywhere we turn. Thank goodness we have Hercule Poirot’s clever little gray cells. He, of course, solves the case. We hear all about this case from Poirot’s friend, Captain Hastings. It’s hard for the reader (me) to rely on what Captain Hastings tells us. I want to solve the case before Poirot does but Hastings gets in the way. He is often mis-led by beautiful women and he doesn’t see the clues right in front of him. Agatha Christie, in this novel, does give the reader all the clues and, for a change, I had this one all figured out.
To make it even more fun, I was able to watch the television movie version of the book. It wasn’t exactly the same as the book but close enough. The version I saw was the A & E production with David Sachet as Hercule Poirot. It’s so much fun to watch him walk and do all the other little Poirot actions. What I loved most about the movie was all the glamour, the costumes and the sets based on life in the 1930’s. See it if you can.
This is my 14th novel read as part of the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge. I’m reading them in order of publication date. If you are interested in the challenge, please visit Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise.
I own a copy of this book. 13 At Dinner (Lord Edgware Dies is available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)