Years ago I read as many of Agatha Christie’s books as I could find, but I don’t remember ever reading Dead Man’s Folly before. This one features Hercule Poirot and Mrs Ariadne Oliver. There is of course a murder with a most unlikely victim. It kept me guessing to the end as there is such a misleading tangle of evidence.
Mrs Ariadne Oliver has devised a Murder Hunt for Sir George Stubbs at the Fete to be held at Nasse House, a big white Georgian house looking out over the river (based on Agatha’s own house Greenway in Devon). She has a feeling that something is wrong and summons Hercule Poirot to join her, ostensibly to present the prizes.
I did find the number of characters a bit bewildering – there are so many, including the bluff Sir George and his exotic and beautiful, if simple wife, Hattie; Miss Brewis (Sir George’s secretary); Mrs Folliat whose ancestors had lived at Nasse House for generations; a Member of Parliament and his wife; an atomic physicist and his wife; an architect; the butler; Lady Stubbs’s cousin; and a couple of girl hitch hikers in shorts who cause Poirot to shut his eyes in pain and reflect
… that seen from the back, shorts were becoming to very few of the female sex. Why, oh why, must young women array themselves thus? Those scarlet thighs were singularly unattractive!
The Murder Hunt goes badly wrong when the young Girl Guide, Marlene playing the part of the murder victim, is discovered in the boat house garotted with a piece of clothes line. Just who could possibly have a motive for killing Marlene? And what is the significance of the little white “Folly”, set high in the woods above the river?
The police have no idea and even Poirot is baffled for a while. The chief constable thinks he may have been “a little Belgian wizard in his day – but surely, man, his day’s over. He’s what age?”
In the end, of course, it is Poirot who makes sense of it all. I didn’t think this was as good as some of Agatha Christie’s other books, but it was still enjoyable.
To read more reviews of Agatha Christie’s books visit Kerrie’s Agatha Christie Reading Carnival.