Agatha Christie: Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?

I’ve been reading Agatha Christie’s books in publication order. This is the 17th book and one of the few that does not feature one of her famous detectives. There is no Hercule Poirot, no Miss Marple, nor Tommy and Tuppence.

In Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? Ms. Christie introduced Bobby Jones and Lady Frances or Frankie. These two don’t show up again in another novel and that’s fine with me. I just couldn’t connect with them. Maybe Ms. Christie didn’t like them either.

Bobby and Frankie have been friends since childhood although they are separated by class. Bobby has been serving in the navy so they haven’t seen each other in a while. But now they team up to solve a murder mystery.

While golfing Bobby discoveres a man who has fallen over a cliff. When Bobby got to him the man died shortly after opening his eyes and asking Bobby, “Why didn’t they ask Evans?” The only hint as to the man’s identify was a picture of a beautiful young woman. While Bobby is waiting for help to arrive another man comes along and offers to stay with the body so Bobby can go to his father’s church. Bobby is late and he had promised his father he would play the organ. Frankly, I thought his father would have understood but . . .

Bobby actually forgot about the dead man’s final words until much later. In the meantime there is an inquest and the appearance of some people Bobby doesn’t trust. When Bobby is nearly poisoned, Frankie and Bobby are convinced the man who died on the cliff must have been murdered. They set out to prove it.

This is not my favorite of Agatha Christie’s mysteries. The two main characters didn’t work for me and I thought the story rambled around.  The ending took forever. If you haven’t read any of Christie’s works, I wouldn’t start with this one. (My choices would be Murder At the Vicarage and/or Murder On the Orient Express.)

If you are interested in accepting a challenge to read  Agatha Christie’s books, visit Kerrie at Mysteries In Paradise.

Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? was published in the UK in 1934.  It was published in the US as The Boomerang Clue (Dodd, Mead & Company, 1935). My Rating: C+.

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12 Responses to Agatha Christie: Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?

  1. Kerrie says:

    I love that cover Joy. You are going to submit this for the Blog Carnival aren’t you? http://blogcarnival.com/bc/cprof_6057.html

  2. Kerrie says:

    BTW – in the TV version they put Miss Marple into this one!

  3. cerrin says:

    I love the TV version’s They are always so colorful and fun.

  4. It is a wonderful cover. It reminds me of the Illinois railroad posters.

  5. Staci says:

    I like how you thought that maybe she didn’t like them either. Maybe she wrote it and thought what the heck, let’s see if they’ll publish this one too??? I have a little pile of Agatha’s books that I plan to read this summer…can not wait 😀

  6. This sounds like one to skip! Thanks for a great review.

  7. I’m reallay enjoying my own private Agatha mini-challenge — can’t even think about trying to read them in order of publication. Just been grabbing what I can find at the Library. And planning to raid the used book stores when I get a chance. I just finished one that doesn’t have one of the detectives in it but mentions Herucle’ — the policeman remembers working with him and comes to a conclusion after using his own ‘grey matter.” It’s called ‘Towards Zero.”

    I agree with you that Murder on the Orient Express would be a good one for anyone to start with. I don’t think I’ve yet read your other recommendation. What about “the Murder of Roger Ackroyd”. I loved that one too (both Orient and Roger I actually remembered reading years ago, but I still enjoyed them immensely on re-reading recently.)

  8. Bumbles says:

    I agree with Staci – I thought it was funny that maybe Agatha didn’t really like these characters either and that’s why they were left behind, never to be heard from again!

  9. kaye says:

    are you reading all of her mysteries? I enjoyed your review today.

  10. stacybuckeye says:

    I’ve now acquired a few used Agatha Christie novels and want to try this challenge, but only after I catch up on the ones I’m currently working on!

  11. BooksPlease says:

    I thought this one was very light hearted, almost farcical, with staged accidents, disguises and subterfuges. I rather enjoyed it, but I can see what you mean about Bobby and Frankie – he’s a bit of a twit and she’s very self-confident and bossy.

  12. Sharon says:

    I quite like Bobby and Frankie. And I really like their fathers! It’s one of Christie’s lighthearted adventure-style mysteries, in which she often did not feature a series detective. Examples are The Secret of Chimneys, The Seven Dials Mystery (with some common characters), The Secret Adversary (Tommy & Tuppence, who featured in several Christie works, but were not originally intended to), the Man in the Brown Suit and perhaps a couple I’ve forgotten. These books were all written early in Christie’s career, and I actually prefer them to her early classic mysteries, including Murder at Styles, Murder on the Links and the very silly The Big Four. I think the adventure ones need to be read in a sort of playful 1920s spirit – there’s a sort of PG Wodehouse feeling to them that makes them fun vacation or sickbed reading.

    Christie also wrote some later stand-alone novels. One of my favourites in this group is Crooked House (a favourite of Christie’s). And of course the very famous And Then There Were None. Her late stand-alones were often much more serious than her early ones. Still, the fun thing about reading Christie (and I’ve been reading her for 45 years, have read all her published novels, plays and short stories more than once – sometimes many times) is that there seems to be something for everyone.

    What number are you at now?

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