Dead Man's Folly

  •  Hercule Poirot & Ariadne Oliver
  • Novel
  • 1956

A charity murder game at a Devon house turns into the real thing. Sir George and Lady Stubbs, the hosts of a village fête, hit upon the novel idea of staging a mock murder mystery. In good faith, Ariadne Oliver, the well known crime writer, agrees to organise their murder hunt. Despite weeks of meticulous planning, at the last minute Ariadne calls her friend Hercule Poirot for his expert assistance. Instinctively, she senses that something sinister is about to happen…Beware – nobody is quite what they seem!

I am not, like the English, romantic. To arrange a good marriage, one must take more than romance into consideration.

Hercule Poirot, Dead Man's Folly

More about this story

Dead Man’s Folly sees the return of Ariadne Oliver, who summons Poirot to a country house to investigate a lingering suspicion, which she fears might lead to something serious.

The country house in question was inspired by Agatha Christie’s own holiday home, Greenway House in Devon, which looks over the River Dart and contains many of the features mentioned in the novel. Now owned and managed by the National Trust, it was also used in the filming of the TV adaptation in 2013, starring David Suchet and Zoë Wanamaker, one of the final episodes in series 13 of Agatha Christie’s Poirot.

The main plot first saw the light of day in the form of a novella only recently published as Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly. In 1954, Agatha Christie wrote the story with the intention of donating the proceeds to a fund set up to buy stained glass windows for her local church at Churston Ferrers, and she filled the story with references to local places, including her own home of Greenway. But having completed it, she decided instead to expand the story into a full-length novel, Dead Man’s Folly, which was published two years later, and donated a Miss Marple story (Greenshaw’s Folly) to the church fund instead.

Dead Man's Folly was dramatised for BBC Radio 4 in 2007, starring John Moffatt as Poirot and Julie McKenzie (better known for her role as Miss Marple) as Ariadne Oliver. I-play released a downloadable hidden objects game in 2009 based on the story and a graphic novel adaptation was published in late 2012.

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