Evil Under The Sun

  • Hercule Poirot
  • Novel
  • 1940

It was not unusual to find the beautiful bronzed body of the sun-loving Arlena Stuart stretched out on a beach, face down. Only, on this occasion, there was no sun… she had been strangled. Ever since Arlena’s arrival at the resort, Hercule Poirot had detected sexual tension in the seaside air. But could this apparent ‘crime of passion’ have been something more evil and premeditated altogether?

It is deplorable! To remove all the romance - all the mystery! Today everything is standardized.

Hercule Poirot, Evil Under the Sun

More about this story

It seems that no matter how hard he tries, Poirot never quite gets a holiday. This story sees him in Devon, Agatha Christie’s home county, and, of course, among the scantily clad sunbathers, a murdered woman is found.

On the release of the novel in June 1941 a reviewer for The Guardian wrote “Is it going too far to call Mrs Agatha Christie one of the most remarkable writers of the day?” While WWII ravaged Europe, Christie’s writing was in full stride and she was publishing at least a novel a year, often two. Evil under the Sun follows the same themes as her earlier short story, Triangle at Rhodes (1936), with Poirot assuming the role of liaison between two marriages. It is, in fact, one of the Agatha Christie Seven Deadly Sins reading list – lust.

Among Christie’s most popular works, the story has been adapted multiple times. It became a feature film in 1982 and was the second to star Peter Ustinov as Poirot. The TV adaptation in 2001, starring David Suchet, made perhaps the most alterations to the story, including adding the characters of Hastings, Japp and Miss Lemon, none of whom appear in the original novel. This was also the last time Japp and Miss Lemon were to appear in the series until 2013. Both of these versions were filmed on location at Bigbury Beach in Devon.

Evil under the Sun has even been adapted for PC. The game lets players take on the role of Hastings, while Poirot guides them through the clues and encourages them to solve the mystery as he would. In 1999, BBC Radio 4 adapted the story, with John Moffat as Poirot. The most recent incarnation of the story is in graphic novel form, released in 2013.

Did you know?

  1. It is thought that the story's setting is based on Burgh Island, Devon, where Agatha Christie stayed on a few occasions.

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