Saturday, December 19, 2015


答えはどこに隠されてるの somebody knows
 あきらめないでもうちょい考えて Question! Answer! 

The answer lies hidden somewhere / Somebody knows
Don't give up / Think a bit more / Question! Aswer!
"Q&A" (B'z)

Don't you just hate false covers? The scene on the cover of today does not actually happen in the book. The designer probably came up with this after reading golf links + dead body in the summary, but you'd think the publisher would say something about that.

A game of golf between Bobby Jones and the local doctor ends with the discovery of a man who appears to have fallen off a small cliff. While the man is still alive, the doctor declares that it's only a matter of time, so he returns to the village to make the necessary arrangements, while Bobby stays to watch over the man's last moments. Just before the man dies however, he utters the line: "Why didn't they ask Evans?" This seems to be the end of the tragic affair, but some time afer the body had been identified by his relatives, suspicious job offers from abroad arrive at Bobby's place, which are then followed by attempts on his life. Bobby and his friend Lady Frances Derwent (Frankie) suspect it all has to do with the dead man on the golf course and his last words and decide to find out what really lies behind his death in Agatha Christie's Why Didn't They Ask Evans? (1934).

Why Didn't They Ask Evans? is a title that made an enormous impression on me the first time I read it. It is a simple title, but it conjures up so many questions. Who is Evans? What didn't they ask Evans? Why would they need to ask Evans? Who are they? I had absolutely no idea what the book was about, but to me, it appeared to be one of those titles that look silly, but make so much sense in hindsight, if you know the story. I think I've known the title for more than 15 years, so I have to admit: my expectations were rather high, as I'd finally know the answer to the question.

And the answer was...a bit disappointing. Why Didn't They Ask Evans? is a clever title, but I can't say the usage of it in the book is particularly smart. I had expected a dying message puzzle or something like that, but there is actually a very straightforward answer to the question and you're almost given no time to think about it once you've been given the proper hints, so this is a good example of me having way too much expectations based on just the title.

But overall, I did quite enjoy Why Didn't They Ask Evans? as a lighthearted thriller-type of novel. At least, I enjoyed a lot more than the more tedious The Secret of Chimneys I read a while back. I think it's because Why Didn't They Ask Evans? is a lot like The Secret Adversary, which I absolutely love. Like Tommy & Tuppence's first adventure, Why Didn't They Ask Evans? features a young couple (the parents of one being a vicar), who go out on an adventure that is filled with thrills and misadventures and a lot of coincidence and luck. The masquerades, the bluffing, the romantic subplots, the two novels are actually very alike. In fact: the 1980 TV adaptation of Why Didn't They Ask Evans? starred Francesca Annis and James Warwick, who would go on to co-star again in the TV adaptation of The Secret Adversary and Partners in Crime a few years later (there is no such thing as a recent Tommy & Tuppence TV series. Nope).

Of course, like The Secret Adversary, Why Didn't They Ask Evans is rather simplistic in actual mystery plot (despite a locked room murder!), with immense coincidence pushing the plot forward despite a serious lack of suspects and such, but I found it fairly entertaining as something light. But you are probably looking for something different if you want something memorable or impressive.

I personally enjoyed Why Didn't They Ask Evans?, but I am very well aware that is is also a very flawed work by Christie. The Secret Adversary dates from 1922, but more than ten years later, Christie basically gave the readers a very similar work, even down to the flaws. I wouldn't put Evans high on the to-be-read-list, but it can be fun if you like Tommy & Tuppence, I think.


  1. '... (there is no such thing as a recent Tommy & Tuppence TV series. Nope).' Try the recent BBC adaptation of the T&T escapades in Partners in Crime.

    More here:

    1. I remember watching a show called Partners in Crime on the BBC a few months back, but the way that was done, I'm pretty sure that weren't Tommy & Tuppence *cough*

      It really wasn't what I had hoped it would be. Oh well, perhaps And Then There Were None will be good. Perhaps...