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VINE VOICEon 7 April 2006
This is one of Dame Agatha's more light-hearted romps. No Poirot, no Jane Marple, or Inspector Japp, or even Tommy and Tuppence. Instead a very likeable pair of Bright Young Things (and I don't normally like them in the early Christie works!), called Lady Frances (Frankie to her friends) Derwent, and Bobby Jones. Bobby is the sort of handsome, amiable, but not exactly intellectual young man that the author clearly enjoyed writing about, and Frankie is another of the strong, spirited and resourceful young women who are often a staple of the classic Christie novel. The title "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?" (and if you don't know the story, I guarantee you'll never guess who Evans turns out to be!), are the suitably cryptic words of a dying man who has fallen off a cliff. Add to the mix a spooky sanatorium, a gang of international drug-dealers (Christie-style), a Terry-Thomas style bounder, and plenty of madcap adventures, and you have a very fast-paced enjoyable read.
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on 19 August 2000
Christie wrote many books and so, as you read through them, you notice that understanably some are masterpieces (And Then There Were None, Orient Express etc.) and some were obviously hard work to write. This is one of Christie's best, and thankfully a breath of fresh air away from a certain correct little Belgian detective...
Why Didn't They Ask Evans? is a fantastic yarn just wandering around 1930s upper class England, full of buffoons and jolly ripping fellows! Frankie and Bobby are the best ever heroes I've come across in an Agatha Christie - they are shamelessly melodramatic and self confident. Frankie loves all of her wonderful plans and schemes and fancies herself and Bobby as being rather wonderful amateur sleuths! And Bobby's hasn't fallen for Moira at all! No...
You've got to read Evans to appreciate the wonders of Bobby and Frankie's adventure, trotting from Wales to London to Hampshire and back to Oxford Street! And all in order to find out about that "blighter fell off a cliff. Tragic really."
Love it! Prove me wrong! It's a hell of a lot of jolly good, clean fun!
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on 19 May 2010
I specifically chose `Why Didn't They Ask Evans?' as my latest Christie read, and I have a fair few, because it was one I know I have never seen on the telly (though I have heard that it became a Marple TV show despite her not being in the book at all?!?) and so as I opened the book I genuinely had no idea what I was going to be greeted by. When I started reading about golf I thought `oh no Agatha' but four pages later, or a chapter in Christie terms, Bobby the golfer in question has discovered a body at the bottom of the cliff when his ball goes AWOL. As he waits with the body, his friend having gone to get the police, the man who is not quite dead mutters `Why didn't they ask Evans?' before taking his last breath.

This is dismissed as a tragic accident however after Bobby's friend Lady Frances Derwent (or `Frankie') reminds him of the words he lets the deceased's family know. Soon after strange things start to happen such as mysterious job offers in Buenos Aires and even Bobby being poisoned and so Frankie and Bobby decide to play sleuths leading them into a dark mystery involving the 1930's upper classes, dark Granges and sinister nursing homes. It's absolutely brilliant stuff; I could barely put it down.

Some people have said this is a `light hearted romp' in Christie's career and there is a feeling of an adult `Famous Five adventure' about it, well more a slightly hapless duo in this case. Don't let that stop you reading it though because the characters are superb (especially the wonderful head strong Frankie who calls someone a b*tch within seconds of being gracing a page with her presence) the plot has lots of twists and there are more red herrings that you could find at a fishmongers. Oh and Christie very cleverly and wryly shows you just how easy it was to work it out, even though it's unlikely you will - seriously, in the final chapters as the lead characters discuss it. This could be my favourite Christie yet! I am slightly gutted she didnt make this a series.
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While you are reading this book you will be continually wondering - just as the main characters are - exactly who is Evans and what someone should have asked him or her. The words are uttered by a dying man who has fallen/been pushed over a cliff. Bobby Jones - Vicar's son - discovers the dying man during a round of golf and is the sole witness to his dying words. He would have thought no more of it if it hadn't been for the fact that someone seems to want to get him out of the way by fair means or foul.

Bobby enlists the help of Lady Frances Derwent, a childhood friend, to try and find out exactly what is going on and why the question that forms the title of this book is so important. This is a very well plotted and complex story with many touches of humour. The amateur detectives are times cack-handed but at others quite brilliant in their efforts to uncover the truth of what is going on.

All the characters are well drawn and their motivations are totally believable. I enjoyed the 1930s background to this novel and it has stood the test of time very well. If you want to read one of the very best crime novels by one of the masters of the genre then try this one.
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on 7 May 2012
This is my first Agatha Christie and I have to say as a complete novice to this wonderful authors work ,i am more than impressed.

Agatha Christie is in a differnet league to those other crime writers of today.What struck me with almost immediate affect was her ability to be most descriptive of places , people or situations in such short paragraphs .The creative writing was second to none that of pure and absolute class.

I absolutely felt transported back in time to the 1930's within the first few pages and i adored the narration and its terribly "english" upper crust language.

We begin the story with the vicars son and his friend the Dr having a round of golf high above sea level near some clift tops .During a terrible shot (played by the son) a cry is thought to have been heard.Whilst looking for his ball Bobby is at the edge glancing down and happends to see a body lying at the bottom of the cliffs sprawled out on the stones.

He stays with the body while his golf partner the Dr, goes for help and whilst waiting the man managed to utter some dying words "why didnt they ask evans"

I defy anybody to work out what this means early on in the book, needless to say it is a few chapters in before everything starts to take off.The introduction of Lady Francis Dewent comes along and the duo embark on a murder mystery together.

Its a good page turner , i found myself having to go backwards and forwards a few times to remind myself of who was who but this isnt any fault of writers and not because it is complicated , this has more to do with the fact that i couldnt put this book down . At every opportunity i was picking it up and reading a few pages (This is no mean feet when you have a demanding 3 1/2 year old i can tell you)..

Great conclusion, although i must say i had kind of guessed half way through but there was plenty of "surprises" too along the way to keep you interested.

My mother who has been a prolific reader all her life and has read all Agatha Christies works is delighted i have finally got round to reading them i am asking myself why did i wait so long ..shes recommended several more to me and i shall look forward to picking them up from the library this week ...

If you are reading this review and you want to know whether this Agatha is worth pursuing from a first timers point of view then i would give you a big resounding fat yes ..dont waste time there is plenty to enjoy
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on 5 April 2013
I really enjoyed reading this book on my Kindle. I first read it many years ago as a paperback. The awful production of 'Why Didn't They ask Evans?' which was recently on tv prompted me to read it again to prove to myself that the way I remembered it was correct and the tv version was a travesty. There is no Miss Marple in this story!
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As expected another superb read. Twists and turns in almost every chapter. Nothing but five stars for Agatha . Mystery readers can't fail to get pleasure out of the finest crime writer of all time. Fully recommended to kindle readers.
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This must be one of Christie's most delightful novels. Bobby Jones is the likeable, if not very intellectual, young man who discovers a dying man on a golf course and hears his cryptic last words, "why didn't they ask Evans?" Events that follow what originally seems an accident, lead Bobby and the plucky Frankie (Lady Frances Derwent) to try to unravel the mystery of who the man really was and who murdered him. What follows is a wonderful, humorous and interesting novel, involving a sinister doctor, his beautiful wife, mysterious accidents, swopped photographs and the riddle of who Evans is - you will never guess!

Christie is at the very top of her game here, with great characters, an enjoyable storyline and a difficult mystery to unravel. Bobby and Frankie are excellent investigators and this is a lovely stand alone novel. If you wanted to try Agatha Christie and not plunge straight into the Poirot or Marple books, this would be a great choice to get a feel for her writing and what a real master of her craft she really was.
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on 11 August 2016
'The Boomerang Clue' is an alternative title for the novel, ‘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.

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

The plot is complex, not one I could have worked out myself. But I liked the friendship between Bobby and Frankie and was content to go along with their reasoning, albeit with my own suspicions. I thought the two main protagonists were better drawn than typical for Christie's books, and some of the minor characters were interesting too.

Believable dialogue for the mid-20th century upper and upper-middle classes, and a nicely crafted plot that was difficult to put down. Definitely recommended to anyone who likes light crime fiction.
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VINE VOICEon 24 July 2011
Why Didn't They Ask Evans? is another Agatha Christie novel that I've really enjoyed and one of my favourites so far. This is one of Christie's standalone novels (i.e. not Poirot, Marple or any other series).

Bobby Jones, son of the vicar of Marchbolt, is playing golf near the sea one day when he discovers that a man has fallen over the cliff. Left alone with the body while his friend goes to get help, Bobby is the only person who hears the man's dying words: "Why didn't they ask Evans?" As soon as Bobby informs the dead man's family of his last words, a number of strange incidents start to occur, ending in Bobby's beer being poisoned. After consulting with his friend Lady Frances Derwent (known as Frankie), they decide that someone must be trying to silence Bobby before he uncovers the truth behind the man's death. As Frankie and Bobby attempt to find out what's going on, they find themselves caught up in a mystery which leads them to a sanatorium run by the sinister Dr Nicholson.

The plot quickly becomes very far-fetched and ridiculous with lots of disguise-wearing, last-minute rescues and amazing coincidences. Frankie and Bobby constantly stumble upon clues and it seems that people give confidential information to them very freely - if it was really that easy to get people to tell you things, every crime would be solved in no time! Frankie and Bobby themselves even remark on the unreality of the situation and that they feel as if they've fallen into the pages of a novel.

Due to the number of red herrings and twists in the plot, the mystery is a more complex one than I thought it would be at first. If you could work out the significance of the phrase "why didn't they ask Evans?" before it is revealed you must be a genius! I would never in a million years have guessed who Evans would turn out to be as it's not something that can easily be deduced until you've been given all the pieces of the puzzle.

Why Didn't They Ask Evans? is a fast-paced, light-hearted read with a very likeable pair of amateur detectives (particularly the courageous, quick-thinking Frankie). The melodrama and silliness are all part of the fun - this book never takes itself too seriously and despite topics of murder, drug use and kidnapping it never becomes too dark. Be prepared to suspend disbelief for a while, then sit back and be entertained.
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