Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? – Agatha Christie

When I mentioned I was having somewhat of a rough time reading wise recently Claire suggested that I either turn to Mitford or Christie (wise words indeed) I actually went for ‘The Graveyard Book’ but then when another slump hit almost instantly after I pulled down on of Dame Agatha’s lesser known novels ‘Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?’. It amazes me that people can be rather snobbish about Agatha Christie’s writing because she always, well so far, comes up trumps… even with her lesser known works it now appears. (Oh and mini-fact for you I collect these old Fontana editions of Christies books, I just love the covers.)


I specifically chose ‘Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?’ as my latest Christie read, and I have a fair few, because it was one I know I have never seen on the telly (though I have heard that it became a Marple TV show despite her not being in the book at all?!?) and so as I opened the book I genuinely had no idea what I was going to be greeted by. When I started reading about golf I thought ‘oh no Agatha’ (I should have guessed from the cover – I know!) but four pages later, or a chapter in Christie terms, Bobby the golfer in question has discovered a body at the bottom of the cliff when his ball goes AWOL. As he waits with the body, his friend having gone to get the police, the man who is not quite dead mutters ‘Why didn’t they ask Evans?’ before taking his last breath.

This is dismissed as a tragic accident however after Bobby’s friend Lady Frances Derwent (or ‘Frankie’) reminds him of the words he lets the deceased’s family know. Soon after strange things start to happen such as mysterious job offers in Buenos Aires and even Bobby being poisoned and so Frankie and Bobby decide to play sleuths leading them into a dark mystery involving the 1930’s upper classes, dark Granges and sinister nursing homes. I will say no more as I don’t want to spoil the utter pleasure this book is to read to get to the final solution (which I didn’t guess). I will say it’s absolutely brilliant stuff; I could barely put it down.

Some people have said this was a ‘light hearted romp’ in Christie’s career and there is a feeling of an adult ‘Famous Five adventure’ about it, well more a slightly hapless duo in this case. Don’t let that stop you reading it though because the characters are superb (especially the wonderful head strong Frankie who calls someone a b*tch within seconds of being gracing a page with her presence) the plot has lots of twists and there are more red herrings that you could find at a fishmongers. Oh and Christie very cleverly and wryly shows you just how easy it was to work it out, even though it’s unlikely you will – seriously, in the final chapters as the lead characters discuss it. This could be my favourite Christie yet! I am quite disappointed that this isn’t the first in a series as I could read much, much more of Frankie and Bobby. 9/10 (And I don’t care if you judge me on giving a Christie a 9, with this book she deserves it!)

Has anyone else read this, or have you never heard of it? Where do you stand on Christie? Is she a cosy writer or a plotting mastermind in your opinion? Which is your favourite (no spoilers though please) of her works?



Filed under Agatha Christie, Harper Collins, Review

36 responses to “Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? – Agatha Christie

  1. I’ve certainly heard of it and I think I may have read it but if so it was a long time ago. It sounds great, anyway. I love Dame Agatha and she is definitely a plotting mastermind for me. I have never guessed any of her solutions. Can’t say which is my favorite but I prefer Marple to Poirot.

  2. I have wanted to read Christie for a little while now (another to add to the pile) I think she seems to be going through a bit of a revival at the moment. She is mentioned alot on blogs lately and she was mentioned on Sky Arts the book show by Stephen Fry as his recommended reading.

    For me its more of a childhood thing, I remember watching all the TV versions on TV when I was a kid.

  3. This book is my favourite Christie and I’ve recommended it to just about everyone. It’s a sadly underrated book which IMO is million times better than say Murder On The Orient Express. Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

    • I think that this is my current favourite of the Christie’s that I have read to. I think its because it felt like a bit of an awfully big adventure that evokes childhood reading in some ways.

  4. I have read it, years ago, and don’t remember anything at all about it… except was someone stuck in an attic at some point? I hope that’s not a big spoiler! I remember I chose it because the title is so good.

    My view on Agatha Christie is that she is more or less a genius when it comes to plot, but that she won’t win any awards for her writing style. Not that it’s bad – more serviceable. Which is fine. And I like, with her plots, that she does lay clues along the way – I never work them out, but it’s not like some (e.g. a recent Margery Allingham I read) where there’s a huge revelation at the end which it would have been impossible to guess.

    My favourite is actually one with none of her famous detectives – And Then There Were None. If you’ve not read that one, make sure you do soon!

    • There is indeed two people stuck in an attic at one point, thats not a plot giveaway though, its one of the moments where out hapazard hero and heroine get rather more than they bargained for!

      I do have And Then Then There Were None… somewhere! I shall have to dig that out soon. I haven’t read an Allingham though have a couple mixed in the TBR here and there.

  5. I haven’t read this one, though I do remember seeing the Marple tv episode (how clever of them to cash in on a book Miss Marple doesn’t even grace with her presence). I read Christie’s The Moving Finger recently, the first Christie I’d read in several years, and was delighted by how enjoyable I found it! I had realised or perhaps I forgotten how amusing she could be and how caustic. I am looking forward to reading more of her works and sounds like this might be the next book I should try!

    • I remember getting a little peeved at Miss Marple barley appearing in At Bertrams Hotel which IS a Miss Marple mystery so why they turned this into a Miss Marple I do not know. You need the duo to move the story along and make it such gripping fun. Is it me or have I started to respond in a 1930’s tone? Ha!

  6. Hmm it sounds like I need to read more Christie! I’ve only read one, The Pale Horse, but it was quite good. Left me guessing until the end!

  7. Well, Simon T. pretty much stole my answer, right down to the favorite Christie! LOL. I’ve only guessed the solution to a Christie once, and that was more luck than skill, I think! I do tend to find her characters to be types rather than fully fleshed out people, and since character is a huge thing for me in my reading, I tend not to read Christie these days. I go for Sayers instead (if only she were as prolific as Christie).

    Even though I’m nonplussed by her novels, I love her plays (most of which are adaptations of her novels). I suspect part of my affection comes from fond memories of performing in a couple of my high school and community theatre days, but I think her stories work really well on stage.

    • I have never read a Sayers is she really that good? If so I think I should give her a try really.

      I saw one of Christies plays last year at Wimbledon Theatre and it was superb!

  8. I am embarrassed to say that as much as I enjoy a good mystery, I have yet to read one written by the great Agatha Christie. This will be remedied this summer!

    I can understand why you collect this particular edition of the books….the cover is just wonderful.

    • Definitley give Christie a read over the summer Molly, I am wondering if any of them are particularily summery, as some of them can be bleaker settings, but this one would do for a jolly summer murder mystery.

  9. Armen

    I love Agatha Christie and have read a lot in the past (i should read again), but never heard of this one. added to the never ending list of unread books.

  10. Sue

    It was part of an Agatha Christie series that did the non-Poirot/Marple books. It was filmed on video rather than film (I think that is why they look so different)and it is very 80s in feel. It also does the 7 Dials – one of the Tommy and Tuppence stories. ITV3 shows them from time to time. They are not a patch on the Joan Hickson, Poirot or new Marples.

    • Yes I have since heard that this was a series in its own right but they do also now include it in the modern filmings of Miss Marple apparently whcih seems so random.

      My favourite marple will always be Margaret Rutherford she plays her wonderfully in fabulous in some older black and white movies.

  11. Jennifer

    I have never read Agatha Christie either! I have it on reserve at the library. Thanks for a great post.

  12. I went through an Agatha Christie phase in my mid-teens. I used to read the book, see the film. I’ve not read any of her stuff for 25 years, but your review has made me wonder whether I shouldn’t revisit her work.

    My favourite was definitely Murder on the Orient Express. I think I’ve been fascinated by train travel ever since!

    • It seems a lot of people had a phase of Christie in their teens. (Does that technically make her crossover hahahaha.)

      I have never tried Murder on the Orient Express though I do love travels by train, its something that upsets me as you cant travel by train in Brazil they dont do passenger train, so maybe tahts one to stop and read soon.

  13. This is one of my favorite Christie novels as well. I adore most of her books and really don’t care if they are cozy or deep — they get the job done when it comes to entertaining me and making me think a bit! Since I own over 60 of her books and have read all but maybe five, it’s hard to choose a favorite! “The Mysterious Mr. Quin” is probably my favorite collection of short stories. I liked Nemesis and At Bertram’s Hotel (both Marples) quite a bit too.

    • At Bertrams Hotel bothered me a little, only because I wanted more marple and less back story hahaha. I have never heard of The Mysterious Mr. Quin but I do like the title.

      Its intrigued me that a few other bloggers and book lovers have this as a favourite Christie, what good taste we all have.

  14. You might like to contribute this post to the imminent edition of the Agatha Christie Blog Carnival. The contribution collecting place is here

  15. Simon T has nailed it. her plots are wonderful. In that sense she doesn’t date because she feeds in the curiosity bug in us all that loves a page turner. She does date in her attitudes of course. I keep reading her though and I am glad she was so prolific. I prefer the writing of the other Golden Agers but they all struggle to match Christie for plot.

    • ha I had forgotten about her attitudes, yes they do date its true. Then again on the same hand that only transports you to the era a little more, maybe that’snot a very PC thing to say?

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  17. Rhian

    I started reading Agatha Christie as a teenager, and managed to collect most of them (some I “borrowed” from my parents). She’s not a great writer, but she is a great plotter. Being fickle my favourite is often the one I have just read but And Then There Were None (or 10 Little Niggers, in my 1970s edition) is a good one, and I’ve got a lot affection for The Clocks which was the first one I read. If you want something totally different try Death Comes as the End, set in ancient Egypt.

    • Here plots are indeed fantastic Rhian and the fact she plots in the clues for you to read (and yet completely miss) makes her even more clever in my humble opinion.

      Oh I like the idea of Christie writing ancient Egypt, that i might have to try!

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