Lord Edgware Dies
Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings are enjoying the performance of an American actress called Carlotta Adams whose ability of do impressions of famous people has been taking London by storm, when they are approached by an even more famous actress called Jane Wilkinson. She takes Poirot to her Savoy hotel suite and without further ado says, 'Mr Poirot, somehow or other I've just got to get rid of my husband.'
Poirot, somewhat taken aback but amused informs her that getting rid of husbands is not what he is about. Jane tells him that her husband is refusing to divorce her and she desperately wants her freedom to marry the wealthy Duke of Merton. She begs Poirot to call and see Lord Edgware to try to persuade him to give her a divorce and adds 'If you don't, I'll have to call a taxi and go round and bump him off myself.' And when she makes this laughing remark, the door to the room is ajar...!!
It will come as no surprise to the reader then, when sometime after this conversation, his Lordship is found dead - stabbed through the back of the neck. And there are witnesses who will swear that Jane Wilkinson visited her husband just prior to his murder. A cut and dried case? Well, what do you think?
Lord Edgware Dies is an example of Agatha Christie's unique sleight of hand - she has the reader looking in all the wrong places and when the villain is finally unmasked, realising that the truth was really so obvious.
This novel is a bit short on likeable characters. Jane Wilkinson is completely self-obsessed, the Duke of Merton is a repressed, mother dominated prig and Lord Edgeware a tyrannical bully.
However, there is good old Inspector Japp and the faithful Hastings and though the reader may not care about the people involved very much, like Poirot we 'do not approve of murder' (and there are more than one) and it is intruiging to follow his brilliant thinking to a satisfying conclusion.
This is clever, clever stuff and I maintain could only have been written by Agatha Christie. I might add that I think this is one story that does not translate particularly well to the screen, so please, if you've only seen the dramatised version, do read the book.
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