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Arlena Stuart, the famous actress, is enjoying—like our favorite Belgian detective Hercule Poirot—a summer holiday on Smugglers' Island, and will become a common enough sight, sunbathing on the hot sands. Then one azure morning her beautiful bronzed body is discovered in an isolated cove, in the shade. She is dead, strangled. And Poirot, as luckless as ever when he attempts some down-time, will learn in the course of his investigation that nearly all the guests of this exclusive resort have some connection to Arlena. But who had the capacity and the motive to kill her?

Topics: Vacation, Murder, Jealousy, Adultery, Stepparents, Private Investigators, Made into a Movie, Love Triangle, 20th Century, Female Author, British Author, Suspenseful, Series, Beach, Island, England, and 1940s

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 3, 2006
ISBN: 9780061741937
List price: $5.99
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Incomparable is sensation and plotting.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Incomparable is sensation and plotting.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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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Agatha Christie is thus far the only female author which I read, and indeed the only other woman besides my wife that I return to again and again for pleasure. Within Christie's writings—such as within "Evil Under the Sun"—we find such unique pleasantries of minutiae as the description of the quality of a man's briar pipe; of the tired old stories of a retired officer—Major Barry—who fought in India; of the dual nature of men; of waxed mustaches...I first saw, a while back, the Poirot made-for-TV episode, "Evil Under the Sun". The book was reminiscent, but I still was unsure who the murderer was until the end. I dislike viewing anything before I have read it, but in the case of Poirot, it was irresistible. My wife and I too have just acquired the Wii video game, "Evil Under the Sun".Let it not be said that I am without gripes however. The character of the Reverend Stephen Lane stands out as rather lame. The other characters are quite complex; the parson however, simply a fanatic—all too common a fallback in modern fiction, which reveals how misunderstood the Christian religion is. Then again, with what such real-life scandalous reverends that make the news each month, it is only to be expected, I suppose.My other gripe is that Captain Kenneth Marshall and Rosamund Darnley's morals are quite disturbing. The result of their amorality, at least in the case of Marshall's, manifests in his daughter Linda Marshall, who attempted to kill her stepmother by means of witchcraft, and then attempted suicide, believing she indeed succeeded in matricide. Rather than to face up to the consequences, rather than to talk it out with Poirot, she seeks to kill herself, ending her misery. Here is why I find Ken and Rosamund to be alarming: Each suspected the other of murder. Rather than seeking to allay their suspicions, each swallows them and each tries to protect the other, going to such lengths as to lie to the authorities. Not only this, but they each plan a future together, never mind each suspecting the other of being a murderer. Each is also willing to place the girl Linda in this horrid nightmare of a homicidal home. Evil under the sun, indeed.I found most fascinating the psychological profile of Arlena Stuart Marshall—the murdered woman— which Poirot propounds upon. I just happen to be reading C.S. Lewis' "Perelandra" at this time. Arlena is the Lady of Perelandra—tragically and totally transformed into a self-centered materialist. Indeed, Arlena was the victim. We offer ourselves as unknowing Andromeda; as perfumed Jezebels, loath, accursed creatures, blind to our destination of decrepitation. Reverend Lane here was a nutter—was unlearned, with bad theology—he mistook the Whore of Babylon for a literal person, rather than the personification of a materialist self-centered society.
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