Friday, March 28, 2014

Why didn't they ask Evans?

Why didn't they ask Evans is a novel by Agatha Christie, who is, as you probably know, one of my favourite authors. Written in 1933, it features neither Hercule Poirot nor Miss Marple, for a change. In fact, it's more of an adventure and love story than a mystery, which was typical for her pre- WWII books.

Bobby Jones, 28 years old, is the youngest son of a country preacher who just returned home after being discharged by the Marines due to health problems. He is planning to start a garage together with an old friend, but in the meanwhile he just enjoys life as it is and spends his time hanging around which profoundly irritates his father who is of an opinion that young men should have some purpose in life.

One evening Bobby goes out to play golf with Doctor Thomas and becomes a witness of a deadly accident. A stranger obviously takes a wrong step and falls from the rocks breaking his back. The doctor urges Bobby to stay with the dying man while he himself goes to the village to get help. Just a moment before he dies, the stranger opens his eyes and says: "Why didn't they ask Evans?"

And so the story begins. At first, everybody is sure that the death of the strange man was really just an accident, but Bobby changes his mind after a murder attempt on his own life. Luckily, there is someone who can help him discover what really happened. It's an old childhood friend, who happens to be a daughter of an earl - Lady Frances Derwent, or Frankie, as Bobby used to call her.

Together they experience many adventures, find out who was that mysterious Evans and what connection this person had to the death of the stranger, and what is probably the most important, find  true love, but not before both are deceived by some unscrupulous characters.

The story has its own charming scoundrel who manages to escape justice and flee to South America while his accomplice is evidently going to hang. Life isn't always fair, but Bobby can't complain as he wins both the girl's heart and the good will of her father who provides him with a well-paying job in Kenya. The story which started with a murder ends with a wedding.

To sum it up, Why didn't they ask Evans is a highly entertaining book and I would recommend it to everyone, young and old, but especially to those who like everything British.

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