Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie was first published in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1956 and by the Collins Crime Club in the UK the same year.
Mrs. Oliver is organizing a game of ‘murder hunt’ at a country house. Something in the atmosphere makes her feel uneasy, uneasy enough to call her old friend, M. Hercule Poirot. At first Poirot dismisses her unease as merely her imagination. But soon Mrs. Oliver’s intuition proves to be fatally correct as a young girl is found murdered and the lady of the house goes missing.
What I enjoy about this mystery is that how nobody is what they seem to be. The whole plot is based on the actions of duplicitous people.
Dead Man’s Folly is one of those mysteries where things are not clear until the very end. All of the characters and their actions are very mystifying. I found myself suspecting all of them one time or the other.
The characters Sir George and his wife Hattie felt underdeveloped to me. Sir George’s secretary, Miss Brewis, the architect Michael Weyman, Alec Legge and his attractive wife Sally Legge are all stock Christie characters.
Mrs. Folliat is described as being strong but to me it seemed like she is a rather weak sort. I didn’t like her all that much.
I really enjoy the mysteries featuring Mrs. Oliver. She is one of my favourite recurring Christie creations. In this book too she is her usual ‘unusual’ self. Surprisingly, Poirot seems kind of listless in this story. He is not his normal sharp self.
Christie really brought the country home, the Nasse House, to life. It is said to have been based on her Devon home, the Greenway House. It felt like I was actually seeing the place with my own eyes and how easy it would be for someone to commit the murder in a place like that. Kudos to Christie for creating such a realistic atmosphere.
The final revelation left me quite surprised. I had suspected the first part of it but not the second one.
The motive for the murder is not original but the way the whole deception is carried out and the final solution are.
I don’t really enjoy the latter Poirot stories. However Dead Man’s Folly is one of the better late Poirot mysteries. Recommended to all mystery buffs and also as a good place to begin reading Agatha Christie’s works.
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