““Isn’t it odd?” she said. “We seem, somehow, to have got in between the covers of a book. We’re in the middle of someone else’s story. It’s a frightfully queer feeling.”
“I know what you mean,” said Bobby. “There is something rather uncanny about it. I should call it a play rather than a book. It’s as though we’d walked on to the stage in the middle of the second act and we haven’t really got part in the play at all, but we have to pretend, and what makes it so frightfully hard is that we haven’t the faintest idea what the first act was about.”” (page 159)
Title: Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?
Written by: Agatha Christie
Publisher: Collins Crime Club
Publication Date: September 1934
Paperback: 288 pages
Bobby Jones (the vicar’s fourth son – not the famous golfer) was out golfing with Marchbolt’s village doctor when the two of them discovered a dying man. After declaring the man beyond medical help, the doctor runs to town for the police leaving Bobby alone with the unfortunate man. Just before the man takes his final breath, he asks a question which shoves Bobby into the middle of a complex and deadly mystery. Bobby, along with his childhood friend, Frankie, set out to expose who killed the man known as Alex Pritchard all the while trying to puzzle out: “Why didn’t they ask Evans?”
The top questions of the human race are:
1. Is there a God?
2. What is our purpose in life?
3. Why didn’t they ask Evans?
This blog post will only focus on number three.
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (or alternatively titled for no apparent reason: The Boomerang Clue) is about the lackadaisical, fourth son of the vicar, Bobby Jones, who lackadaisically (and while swearing) discovers a dying man in the middle of a golf course.
Then things get crazy, scary, and very convoluted.
The first time I read this book I found it nightmare, spinetingle, and goosebump inducing.
This time – not so much.
Maybe it was because I’m two years older than when I first read it, or maybe it was because I know the story now.
But even on the second round the book was still good.
I love how Why Didn’t They Ask Evens? has plot twist after plot twist. Just when you think things can’t get any more strange or confusing another element is thrown into the story.
You start with a man who fell off a cliff and somehow end up inside an insane asylum and impersonating prestigious lawyers.
This twisting of seemingly random plot elements is something very few authors can pull off and I am very pleased to say that Agatha Christie does it splendidly.
I’d love to go on and on about this but I risk spoiling the plot if I do.
It’s just that I love it so much.
Also, I love the how the dying man’s last words were a cryptic question.
My word, I love Frankie.
I want to be Frankie.
Frankie (AKA – the Lady Frances Derwent) is spunky, funny, and occasionally makes rash yet exciting decisions.
For example: buying a car for the sole purpose of crashing it into the outer wall of a house she wants admittance to.
Yep, love her.
Bobby on the other hand, I find annoying. He’s (somewhat) stupid, flippant, and his perpetual cheerfulness gets annoying after only a few chapters.
I stated earlier that I didn’t find this book as creepy as I previously did.
Note the phrase: as creepy.
Doctor Nicholson runs an insane asylum which is visited by and/or discussed about by many characters. All of the scenes talking about or actually being in the asylum grounds are disturbing, and most defiantly NOT something I would recommend for children.
However, as this book is a perfect example of Agatha Christie at her finest, I do recommend Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? for every (teen/adult) Queen of Mystery diehard and/or plain-Jane murder mystery fans.
For More Information about the Book and Author Click: HERE
Age Range: 14 and up
Cautions – *Contains Slight Spoilers*
Violence: A man is shot. A man falls off a cliff and breaks his back. A boy falls from a swing and almost drowns. Frankie acts out a car accident. Bobby is hit unconscious on the back of the head.
Sensuality: Frankie wonders if a man has feelings for her. Two characters kiss and become engaged. People pretend to be married. A man is married for ulterior motives. A woman thinks her husband is in love with another woman.
Profanity: a–, gosh, d–n, b—h, swine and h–l are said.
Other(drugs/alcohol): Disturbing scene described of a woman trying to escape the insane asylum. A man is poisoned. The vicar and his son don’t understand each other’s personalities. Bobby train jumps. Frankie is a partier. Frankie has morbid curiosity. A person thinks of suicide. Frankie is chloroformed. Bobby and Frankie fight. Frankie uses her charm to con the ticket collector. Badger is constantly being putdown for his stutter. Frankie throws up. People drink. People lie. People break and enter a house. A man is taking drugs. A man runs an insane asylum (for nerve cases and drug addicts). Reference to villains keeping cheetahs or other dangerous animals on the premises of their house as a blood curdling remembrance that they are evil. War, serving in the Navy, blackmail, indiscreet letters, maids stealing, corpses strewn everywhere, a man throwing things at people, and gangs are mentioned.
Personal Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Cleanness Rating: 4 out of 5 stars