10/08/2016

The Boomerang Clue or Why Didn't They Ask Evans? (by Agatha Christie)

We seem to have acquired rather a large collection of Agatha Christie books; I didn’t start reading them until about ten years ago, but they’re widely available second hand and various members of the family have picked them up for us. I haven’t read all of them; I have to be in the right mood for a bit of crime fiction.

I decided to read ‘The Boomerang Clue’ a few days ago. This is an alternative title for the novel also known as, ‘Why didn’t they ask Evans?’ This phrase is uttered by a dying man, and triggers a long and convoluted investigation by two young people: Bobby, the Vicar’s son, and Frankie, a close friend of his otherwise known as Lady Frances.

Both are convinced that there’s something suspicious about an apparent accident when someone falls over a cliff, and soon realise that things are not what they seem. They evolve a complex scenario where Frankie pretends to crash her car - an old one, bought from Bobby and his hapless friend Badger, who are trying to run a second-hand car dealership. This throws them into the heart of a somewhat troubled household; an unpredictable man, a worried wife, an accident-prone small son, and the charmingly friendly brother of the household head.

As with most of Christie’s novels there are false clues everywhere, although rather than leaving it to the reader to figure out, Bobby and Frankie themselves set out on many trails, some of them more useful than others. They ask questions, leap to conclusions, aren’t entirely sure who to trust or who to suspect… and only after an exciting finale do they gradually figure out the truth.

I’m not sure I could have guessed exactly what happened, as the plot is complex, involving wills, forgery, impersonation, drugs and more… but I liked the friendship between Bobby and Frankie and was content to go along with their reasoning, albeit with one or two of my own suspicions. Christie isn’t known for making the greatest characters, but I thought the two main protagonists were better drawn than typical for her books, and I got quite a feel for some of the others in the cast too.

The dialogue is perhaps stilted, but not untypical of the mid-20th century upper class scenario, and I found myself quite caught up in the storyline. By the time I was half-way through I wasn’t too keen on reading it at bedtime; by the last third, I could barely put it down.

Definitely recommended to anyone who likes crime fiction.

Review by copyright 2016 Sue's Book Reviews

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