Reader reviews for Evil Under the Sun

Pretty good mystery, lots of indirection; Poirot as usual picks up on the little clues that the police ignore, and doesn't make the assumptions that they make. Numerous characters have somewhat plausible motives, and there are a couple of red herrings. The solution is quite convoluted and depends on information that Poirot obtained but we didn't see, which is a bit frustrating. The characters are quite dated. Enjoyable but not fantastic.
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Hard to believe, with all the books I read, that I've never read an Agatha Christie before, but indeed, I have not. This was my first, and I can certainly see why Christie is the world's most-published novelist. If there's one thing Christie can do, it's tell a good story. And that's precisely what she does in Evil under the Sun. I can see why readers find Christie's work compelling; she draws her readers in quickly, with a large cast of thickly-described characters and a vivid sense of surroundings. Evil under the Sun brings us to a seaside resort, where a group of holiday-makers, including Christie's famous Inspector Poirot, find themselves attempting to deal with a broad range of personalities. Likely the most abrasive of all is the beautiful and capricious socialite Arlena Marshall. When she turns up dead in a remote part of the beach, it becomes Poirot's calling to determine her murderer. The resort's island location makes it unlikely that anyone outside the hotel could be responsible. Thus, Poirot must discover the murderer in his midst. Everyone, it seems, had a motive. Yet everyone too had an alibi. The answer turns out to be far more complicated than anyone had anticipated. Christie's gift is clearly to tell a gripping story. While there are no great lessons on morality or statements on the human condition within this it is certainly entertaining, enjoyable, and just a bit scary.
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It had been many years since I read Christie, though I think I read everything of hers at one time. Lately I've been picking up and re-reading one or two, and may do more of them. After so long, I remember little about the books, so they are like new discoveries, except that reading about Poirot or Miss Marple is like catching up with an old friend one hasn't seen in a while. What I discover is that there are reasons Christie is still so popular. Oh, sure, we can condemn her now for her occasional racist and imperialist stereotypes, but like all writers, she was a mirror of her times. What is so pleasurable about Christie are that her books are character-driven puzzles. You get to know the people in the books and that reveals the puzzle of who could do such a terrible thing as murder and why. And her characters are superbly ordinary people. In this book, for example, you've got the husband, stiff upper lip but inner fires type, the chattering Americans, the athletic spinster, a successful businesswoman, the coltish teenage girl, etc. Stereotypes in some ways, but the characters come alive. The victim in some ways isn't ordinary, an incredibly beautiful woman who attracts men, but in the end her character is shown to be a sad and rather pathetic one.One gets tired, in our television and movie culture, of the pretty people, and that's another thing that made Christie extraordinary. Poirot was a rotund egocentric eccentric, and Miss Marple an old spinster who looked entirely unremarkable, yet both were keen observers of humanity and the heroes of the works. It is a lesson that there is value in all of us.
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It's hard to review classic authors such as Christie. To me, she's a master of creating suspicion and changing your mind, only to create suspicion again. I really enjoy these.
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Vintage Poirot. When the man-eater Arlena Stuart is murdered the motive seems obvious, jealousy, revenge... but papa Poriot is on hand to reveal just who really did it...
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A story in which almost everyone has a motive and an alibi for the pre-meditated murder. Of course Poirot ferrets out the truth. Deservedly a classic.
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Is EVIL UNDER THE SUN the perfect holiday read? Or will it make you look askance as your fellow holiday makers? Certainly the Jolly Roger Hotel, Smugglers’ Island, Leathercombe Bay sounds attractive and the setting exudes a feeling of summer. Captain Roger Angmering had only one great love, the sea. So he built his house—a sturdy house too, as it needed to be, on the little windswept gull-haunted promontory—cut off from land at each high tide. The sturdy house was added to and embellished. A concrete causeway was laid down from the mainland to the island. ‘Walks’ and ‘Nooks’ were cut and devised all round the island. There were two tennis courts, sun-terraces leading down to a little bay embellished with rafts and diving boards. The Jolly Roger Hotel, Smugglers’ Island, Leathercombe Bay, came triumphantly into being. And from June till September (with a short season at Easter) the Jolly Roger Hotel was usually packed to the attics. It was enlarged and improved in 1934 by the addition of a cocktail bar, a bigger dining-room and some extra bathrooms. The prices went up. People said: ‘Ever been to Leathercombe Bay? Awfully jolly hotel there, on a sort of island. Very comfortable and no trippers or charabancs. Good cooking and all that. You ought to go.’ And people did go.Several of the holiday makers recognise Hercule Poirot. (who wouldn't?) resplendent in a white duck suit, with a panama hat tilted over his eyes, his moustaches magnificently befurled, lay back in an improved type of deck-chair and surveyed the bathing beach.and go as far as to ask if he is there on "business". He replies: let me assure you, Madame, that I am here simply in the same way that you are here yourselves—to enjoy myself—to spend the holiday. I do not think of crime even.There is some discussion about whether crime could ever happen in such an idyllic spot: ‘No, I don’t believe even Mrs Gardener would have believed in a crime staged here. This isn’t the sort of place you’d get a body!’ Hercule Poirot stirred a little in his chair. He protested. He said: ‘But why not, Mademoiselle? Why should there not be what you call a “body” here on Smugglers’ Island?’ Emily Brewster said: ‘I don’t know. I suppose some places are more unlikely than others. This isn’t the kind of spot—’ She broke off, finding it difficult to explain her meaning. ‘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.’Some even privately express a belief (a murderer amongst them) that if a crime does occur Poirot is probably "past it". He’s Hercule Poirot. You must have heard of him.’ Mr Blatt said: ‘Didn’t catch his name properly. Oh yes, I’ve heard of him. But I thought he was dead. Dash it, he ought to be dead. What’s he after down here?’ ...... ‘He’s pretty old. Probably more or less ga ga.’Well, the reader knows from the beginning (because of the publisher's blurb) that a murder will occur. Poirot knows it will too but can't see how he can prevent it. And we readers even know who the victim will be. What we don't know is when, how, and why.One of Poirot's problems is that, although he is pretty sure who one of the murderers is, he likes her. She has qualities he appreciates in the 'modern' young woman - plenty of resolution, courage and good sense - and so he is reluctant to place her in the picture until he gets irrefutable evidence of an earlier crime and then the penny drops. It is a dilemma that often crops up for Poirot - feminine wiles can get the better of him.For those who need it in their holiday reading, there is also romance, and a young life saved.EVIL UNDER THE SUN is an enjoyable read, well constructed, fairly complex plot, but I think quite a way from Christie's best. I was particularly exasperated by the final chapter in which Poirot lays everything out before us. This was one case where perhaps Christie could have left it to the reader to put it all together. (Kindle tells me the chapter is 5% of the total book.) Perhaps Christie could have finished when the murderer lunged to get his hands around Poirot's throat. The explanations of chapter 13 got a bit tedious.
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This is a fine piece of Christie's writing. The mystery unfolds in standard style with every person involved seeming to be a possible murderer except of course the one who actually did it.
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Didn't get in to ths one as much as I did with some others by her. Not bad nonetheless.
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A great read (with a summer vacation theme) from Dame Christie. I thought I had figured out the murderer this time around... but I was wrong. Like most of Christie's work, though, I don't mind at all that I'm completely on the wrong track. It's just too interesting to see how it all works out.
*side note: watched the taped episode of Doctor Who where he meets Agatha Christie right before she disappears for 2 weeks - it was very well done and if the Sci Fi channel repeats the Doctor Who series at all, I highly recommend.
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