Why Didn't They Ask Evans?

  • Novel
  • 1934

While playing an erratic round of golf, Bobby Jones slices his ball over the edge of a cliff. His ball is lost, but on the rocks below he finds the crumpled body of a dying man. With his final breath the man opens his eyes and says, ‘Why didn’t they ask Evans?’

Haunted by these words, Bobby and his vivacious companion, Frankie, set out to solve a mystery that will bring them into mortal danger.

Read an extract

What rotten luck there was in the world! A swirl of mist on a fine evening, a false step – and life came to an end.

Agatha Christie, Why Didn't They Ask Evans?

More about this story

Almost a year after The Boomerang Clue appeared in the American magazine Redbook, Collins Crime Club published the complete and unabridged novel as Why didn't they ask Evans? in September 1934. Dodd Mead followed with a US first edition in 1935.

This light-hearted murder romp pleased the critics, with Mortimer Quick writing in the Chicago Daily Tribune, “In spite of a murder or two there is scarcely a grim moment so light-hearted are all concerned.” Isaac Anderson in The New York Times Book Review (18 September 1935) concluded, "Frankie and Bobby are not nearly so brilliant as amateur detectives usually are in books, but you are sure to like them, and you may even be able to forgive Agatha Christie for leaving out Hercule Poirot just this once."

A story that tickles and tantalizes but never exhausts the readers’ patience or ingenuity.
Times Literary Supplement

In 1980 this novel was filmed for television as a three-hour special, starring Francesca Annis and James Warwick who went on to play Tommy and Tuppence (with whom Bobby and Frankie share certain lively characteristics). The budget was said to be £1 million. It was adapted again in 2009 with the addition of Julia McKenzie as Miss Marple and very many plot changes. A simplified Collins English Reader edition for non-native English speakers was published in 2012.

Did you know?

  1. At the time Bobby Jones was the name of a famous golfer so the reference to our Bobby Jones' lack of ball skills was very appropriate.

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