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‘Evil Under The Sun’ by Agatha Christie

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The beautiful bronzed body of Arlena Stuart lay face down on the beach.

But strangely, there was no sun and Arlena was not sun-bathing… she had been strangled.

Ever since Arlena’s arrival the air had been thick with sexual tension.

Each of the guests had a motive to kill her, including Arlena’s new husband.

But Hercule Poirot suspects that this apparent ‘crime of passion’ conceals something much more evil

AGATHA CHRISTIE (1890-1976)

Image Of Author Agatha ChristieAgatha Christie is without doubt the world’s best-known mystery writer. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and another billion in 44 foreign languages. She is the most widely published author of all time in any language, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare.
Her writing career spanned more than half a century, during which she wrote 80 novels and short story collections, as well as 14 plays, one of which, ‘The Mousetrap’, is the longest-running play in history. Two of the characters she created, the brilliant little Belgian Hercule Poirot and the irrepressible and relentless Miss Marple, went on to become world-famous detectives. Both have been widely dramatized in feature films and made-for-TV movies.

Agatha Christie also wrote romantic novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. She also wrote four non-fiction books, including an autobiography and an entertaining account of the many expeditions she shared with her archaeologist husband, Sir Max Mallowan.

Plots come to me at such odd moments, when I am walking along the street, or examining a hat shop…suddenly a splendid idea comes into my head.

WORDS FROM THE BOOK

‘It is romantic, yes,’ agreed Hercule Poirot. ‘It is peaceful. The sun shines. The sea is blue. But you forget, Miss Brewster, there is evil everywhere under the sun.’

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK

“There is evil everywhere under the sun”

From start to finish, this story was nothing more nor less, than I have come to expect from the pen of Agatha Christie, together with the deduction and crime solving expertise of the pernickety Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, the product of her vivid imagination.

I find that Agatha Christie’s characters always carry a certain amount of predictability, which is quite comforting to know and almost look forward to, when I pick up one of her books that I have not read before. That is not to say that the characters are in any way not well developed and have grown in stature and confidence, to fill the role she has created for them.

The Christie plot building and storytelling skills are legendary, with every detail carefully thought through and catalogued. Written in the language of a bygone time, this complete package offers me, the reader, a totally immersive experience.

On this occasion, Piorot is taking a much needed holiday, but of course, wherever he travels, murder always seems to sniff him out and follow him.

The plot of ‘Evil Under The Sun’, is not particularly deep, although there are several twists and turns, in what I wrongly thought was a case to be quickly solved. I became embroiled in amateur witchcraft and drug smuggling, as well as the inevitable femme fatale, lured and deceived by the unscrupulous cad, with murder the only possible outcome.

Every one of the suspects has an alibi, that either seems to protect themselves, or someone else and I suspect that Poirot has worked out the probable identity of the killer long before he lets it be known, only prolonging the investigation further to confirm his suspicions, by watching the way that the suspects interact with one another and the manner in which his chosen perpetrator keeps up their own role of pretense, both within their own adopted personality and with the other group members.

As with most murders, there always has to be someone suspected of the crime, who turns out to be an innocent party, although in this case, the third party, really believes themselves to be guilty of the crime, thereby throwing Poirot slightly off the scent of the true killer, for a few short moments. Happily, this third party is made to realise that their actions are not those of a murderer and thus there is something of a happy ending in the offing for them.

If, like me, you are already an Agatha Christie fan, this is a great story, full of some real twists and turns in the plot, with the usual great, in depth characterizations of all the suspects, and the expected final flourish as the unexpected perpetrator is revealed.

Of course, I cannot read a Poirot case, without visualising the face and hearing the precise tones of the character, as so eloquently portrayed in the UK television series, by David Suchet. I fear that the poor man will be forever typecast, but he does fit the Christie brief of the character so well, that when I then read one of his casebook stories, it is almost as if  I know him personally and I am there, looking over his shoulder, as he makes his deductions and unmasks the criminal.

This book was a paperback edition, charity shop purchase. Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.

I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a 4 out of 5.

 

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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10 comments
  • I am afraid that David Suchet has become Poirot in my head as well. I’ve been collecting Christie novels from the charity thrift store when I see them, now I just need to read more of them.

    • Hi Katy,

      Hope that you had a good weekend. Spring has sprung, here in Somerset UK. The sun has been shining all weekend and it has been lovely and warm.

      I used to read Agatha Christie novels avidly when I was a teenager, but haven’t read any for years now. I can’t remember ‘Evil Under The Sun’ at all, so it was as if I was reading it for the first time, which was great.

      They are just fantastic light crime reading, with characters that are so quintessentially English, by a great pillar of English writing, what more could you want?

      I hope that you enjoy them, when they reach the top of your TBR pile!

  • I haven’t read Christie since I was a teenager, when a friend of my mother lent me all her works one after the other. I really should go back and enjoy her again because as you say there is something comforting about knowing how the characters are going to react.

    One of the advantages of living so close to Stratford is that many of those actors who get typecast later in their career you have known since they were spear carriers and so they never quite become linked to characters like Poirot. Suchet will always be that rare thing, an Orlando as strong as Rosalind, for me and I must be one of the few people who can see Pat Stewart without thinking of Jean-Luc Picard, despite being a Star Trek fanatic.

    • Hi Annie,

      I have to count Christie among the classic writers of our time, although I’m not sure that you would agree with the term ‘classic’.

      She seems to have that same endearing, enduring quality as Enid Blyton and young and old alike, have heard of Miss Marple, if not Poirot.

      It must be very strange for actors who are continually typecast and I can well imagine that theatre offers a great opportunity for them to break the cycle and exercise their true acting talents.

      I am not a Star Trek fanatic, although husband is a little more of an addict. The trouble is, we both remember it from our childhood days and will always associate the show and films with William Shatner and his crew, we both rather lost interest in it when he left.

      I still watch all the re-runs and re-makes of the Christie TV adaptations, they never fail to provide good, clean, comforting entertainment, rather like the books.

  • There’s something terribly reassuring about those stereotypes, isn’t there? And about David Suchet’s voice echoing in you head! When I read this one the first time, in my teens, I didn’t care for it, but as an adult it works beautifully. I understand now that all of those people were visiting the coast not from love, but because it was the thing to do.

    • Hello Jane,

      It’s nice to ‘meet’ you and thanks for stopping by.

      I have always been an Agatha Christie addict and I guess always will be. Her stories are reassuringly comfortable, when I am looking for a light-hearted, easy flowing read, that doesn’t require too much concentration.

      I’m sure that at one time or another, I have read all of her books, so I can’t understand why this one was still on my bookshelves, as I never generally keep a book once I have read it.

      I didn’t recall any of the story, so re-reading it wasn’t a problem and reminded me just how much I enjoyed Christie’s style of writing.

      It does seem strange to think that people ‘took the sea air’, simply because it was the ‘done thing’ and was the place to be seen and noticed. How prim and proper everything was back then and oh!, how times have changed.

  • I have lost my copy of Evil Under the Sun and I cannot remember why the murder is committed. How is the perpetrator going to get hold of the victim’s money, as I can only remember that it is willed to her widow. Pointers gratefully received!

    • Hello Judi,

      Thanks for stopping by today and for leaving your comment and questions.

      So that I don’t give any ‘spoilers’ away for anyone else who may want to read the book and therefore won’t want to know the identity of the perpetrator, I will reply to you directly by email, with a link that may answer all your questions.

      I never tend to keep books when I have read them, so my copy will have already found its way, either to family or friends, or onto the bookshelves of the charity shop where I volunteer.

      Needless to say, ‘Evil Under The Sun’, was up to the usual high standards of ‘The Queen’ of English crime writing.

  • This is the first Agatha Christie book I have read and I enjoyd it a lot..
    I liked how Poirot solved the mustery…
    and now I guess I am gonna start reading more of her books..!!!

    • Hi Arushi,

      If you liked this book, then you are bound to become an Agatha Christie fan, as all of her stories follow much the same format, whether it be her character Hercule Poirot, or Miss Marple.

      They are a good, light read, nothing too complicated or violent. Good wholesome mysteries, solved with logic and thought.

      I hope that you enjoy your new found author.

Written by Yvonne

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