Title: Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?
Author: Agatha Christie
Year Written: 1934
Publisher, Year Published: Fontana, 1984
My detective book summer has continued with another crime novel from Agatha Christie, though this time not a Poirot mystery. Why Didn’t they Ask Evans? Is about Bobby Jones, who witnesses someone die, though he is unaware at the time it’s a murder as he thinks he fell off a cliff, but as it’s an Agatha Christie it couldn’t be that simple. It is set in the early twentieth century, I can’t remember a date being mentioned but as it was originally written in 1934 I would assume around then, and is a quiet country setting as with a lot of her books, that hides a story of murder with twists and turns.
This book has been sat in my parents bookshelf so I thought, having enjoyed the other Agatha Christies I’ve read recently, I’d give it a go. It was adapted into a Miss Marple story fairly recently for TV so it may be familiar if you watch the ITV dramas but it’s not originally one of that series. I have to say I didn’t remember the storyline from the TV series so it was like reading it without any previous knowledge which was a bit of a change from the others.
Another Agatha Christie book, this is from a series of ten that Penguin published that she chose herself as favourites. I already reviewed Death on the Nile, another from this series, and this has the same green cover that the Penguin Crime books do. It’s The Labours of Hercules by Agatha Christie, a book of twelve short stories about Hercule Poirot. Each one is inspired by one of the Labours of Hercules, the classic book about the Greek myths of Hercules.
This edition was published in 1955 (it’s the reprint, he original Penguin was in 1953) but as it’s one of the more well known Agatha Christie books and part of the Poirot series it has been published many times over the years. Hercule Poirot is one of Agatha Christie’s more famous characters and there are TV adaptations of all of the stories, though I don’t remember all of these being made. Each of the stories is short, ranging from around 15 to 30 pages, and covers a wide range of mysteries from dog kidnapping to murder.
I don’t know why but in the past when I’ve tried to read Agatha Christie books I haven’t got on with then, despite loving the TV and movie adaptations I’d seen, or maybe because of them. However, I started reading some of the ones my parents have last summer and have loved reading them so I thought I’d try one of the ones I know better from TV now that the weather has improved and is better for sitting outside reading.
Hallowe’en Party is a Poirot story, I think he’s probably the most well known of Agatha Christie’s characters though I don’t know how well known her books are outside of the UK. It also has another recurring main character from the Poirot series in Ariadne Oliver, a crime novelist who comes up with unlikely answers to solve the crimes and is pretty much the opposite of the quiet, methodical Poirot when it comes to questioning. The book revolves around the murder of a young girl at a Halloween party whete Ariadne is a guest and so she brings Poirot in.
Title: By the Pricking of My Thumbs
Author: Agatha Christie
Year written: 1968
Publisher and year: Wm. Collins, 1975
ISBN Number: This edition predates ISBN numbers, there are plenty of more recent ones printed, though I won’t list them all.
Until last year I don’t think I’d ever heard of Tommy and Tuppence Beresford as characters by Agatha Christie, it was the TV adaptations of a few of the books with David Walliams and Jessica Raine, called Partners in Crime by the BBC, that introduced them to me. This edition of By the Pricking of My Thumbs is one that’s been in the bookcase as long as I can remember and, after enjoying Death on the Nile so much, I thought I’d give it a go and see if I liked one of the lesser known character stories as much.
As far as the number of books about these characters that there are I don’t know but as this book has a small paragraph at the beginning, on the page with publication dates and that information, by Agatha Christie saying it was written as people were wondering what happened to the pair I would assume there were quite a few books and that this was written quite a while after the previous one.
Title: Death on the Nile
Author: Agatha Christie
Year written: 1937
Publisher and year: Penguin Books, 1953
ISBN Number: Pre-dates ISBN numbers, later versions will have them but there are so many I can’t list them all
I have always loved watching Agatha Christie books that have been turned into TV shows or movies, especially the David Suchet Poirots, but I have never seemed to get on with reading her books. I don’t know if it was that I picked bad ones to try as a first by her or there was another reason but I’ve tried a few times to read them and given up part way through. This summer I decided to read some of the ones we have in our bookshelf and, as I know this story well though I couldn’t remember who did it to start with, I thought it was a good place to start as I knew I enjoyed the story and knew Poirot as a character. It is hard to read these without imagining David Suchet’s Poirot speaking in my head and walking around the boat.
This copy of the book pre-dates the ISBN system but it’s been published so many times in a lot of languages so I think you should be able to find it somewhere near you in a second hand book shop or online, I’ve found this exact copy for around £4 despite being the first print of the first penguin release, so they’re around and cheap if you want to pick it up or your library should be able to get it I’d expect, it may depend on how popular she is as an author in your country.