agathiechristiereadalong

Ugh. I am so late with this review! I’m sorry! I finished reading Deadman’s Folly ages ago and watched the PBS Masterpiece Mystery episode on August 3, I just haven’t had a chance to write up my review. Better late than never? Maybe.

This is another Agatha Christie novel that I read when I was much younger. But again, Christie’s plots are always so twisty that while I remember some of the story, there were definitely parts that I forgot. Even with having read the book before (admittedly over 20 years ago), I was still surprised at the ending. To me, that just goes to show what a great mystery writer Christie really is.

Poirot is my favorite Christie detective. I’ve read more of his novels than any of the others, so I was tickled to re-read this and watch the Masterpiece Mystery version on television. They took a bit of liberty with the plot for the TV adaption, but the costumes and characters of Poirot and Ariadne Oliver were so well done that I didn’t mind a bit.

deadman folly PBS

On to the questions!

Questions for Discussion from Book Club Girl

Both Ariadne and Mrs. Folliat hint to Poirot of an evil lurking at Nasse House. Why do you think Poirot cared to listen to the warnings, instead of chalking it up to empty suspicions?

Poirot is a very intuitive sort and he realizes that others are intuitive as well. While Ariadne was unable to put her finger on exactly what was troubling her, Poirot knew something had the dear lady’s spidey senses tingling.

Throughout Poirot’s investigation he was so close to uncovering the truth. What were some of the clues he couldn’t decipher along the way?

There were a few red herrings in this novel. Poirot missed the significance of the cousin’s visit (and his luxury yacht accommodations) until well near the end. All of the various rendezvous at the Folly weren’t really central to the principle crime.

The Chief Constable, Inspector Bland and Ariadne all doubted if Poirot could solve this mystery towards the end. Do you think Poirot himself was starting to give up?

I do. So much time had passed that it seemed as if a solution would not be forthcoming. But although Poirot’s confidence was flagging, he’s not one to give up. That stubborn determination is what led him to the answer in the end.

Do you think Mrs. Folliat should be held legally accountable for her son’s actions? Does her lack of action make her guilty?

Yes. She’s definitely an accomplice. It’s all the worse as she was responsible for Lady Stubbs, as she was her ward. I can sympathize with not wanting to turn over her son, but she seemed fine with one murder. Why would a second one bring her so low? If she was such a good-hearted woman, shouldn’t her depression and decline have started after the first death?

In the book, Sir George (a.k.a. James Folliat) was not overly painted as an evil, murderous person; however, in the TV episode his sinister traits were apparent towards the end. Do you think Sir George was inherently capable of performing multiple murders? Or, do you think he was caught in a spiral of deceit that he would stop at nothing to protect?

In the book, it seemed more like James Folliat was a sort of feckless chap who got caught up in the wrong crowd. In the TV version, he was definitely more sinister. I really missed him having a beard, because that was pretty much his only “disguise” in the novel.

Lady Stubbs was described as “subhuman” from the beginning. Did you suspect her of being anything but what she claimed to be?

I took all the talk of her being “subhuman’ as a rather uncaring anachronism that wouldn’t work in today’s language. I did believe she was an unwitting dupe for much of the novel (the first time I read it) and even the second time I read it, I didn’t realize quite how implicated she was until very near the end.

Supporting character development played a big role in the novel and was only touched upon in the TV version. Do you think the relationship between architect Michael and Mr. and Mrs. Legge was pivotal to the plot or served as background filler?

There were several red herrings in the book that did not get fully explored in the TV version. Etienne de Sousa became an easy scapegoat, which frankly was a bit off-putting as it came off as racism and xenophobia. The framing of Etienne served to show James Folliat’s evil intentions that were absent from the book.

There were some major plot differences between the TV rendering and Christie’s book. What were they? How did you feel about them?

As mentioned above, I felt the framing and subsequent arrest of the foreign cousin was all a bit much. And it took up time that could have gone towards other red herrings and suspects that were not touched on in the TV adaption. Where was the man in the turtle shirt?!?

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