Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dead Man's Folly by Agatha Christie

Book Details
Dead Man's Folly by Agatha Christie
Paperback, 208 Pages
1992, Harpercollins
ISBN: 0061003670

Well-known mystery writer Ariadne Oliver organizes a Murder Hunt as the main event at the Fete held on the grounds of Nasse House. Every detail is arranged -- and the stage is set for murder. Suspecting that something isn't quite right Ariadne Oliver telephones her old friend, Hercule Poirot, for help.

A murder mystery game, with Poirot and Ariadne Oliver! Dead Man's Folly had all the makings of a fantastic Agatha Christie novel. Unfortunately, while the story was very well done, the mystery itself left much to be desired.

I enjoy the mysteries that showcase Ariadne Oliver. I love the character, who seems very much to be a caricature of Agatha Christie herself. Her calling for Poirot to help her prevent a murder that hasn't happened yet set the stage for a wealth of possibilities. And Dead Man's Folly made great use of the investigative collaboration.

The problem with Dead Man's Folly, and it's a huge one, was the ending. Agatha Christie usually gives us the clues, lets us figure out who we think is the murderer, and then shows us how naive we really are in the end. While there were clues in Dead Man's Folly, all were basically pointless. The killer, while being a complete surprise, came out of nowhere. No one could have figured it out, as it seemed to be a case of picking a random character at the last minute and creating evidence to make it all seem plausible.  A wonderful premise, but a lackluster ending.


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