AKA Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?
Our story begins with Bobby Jones, the fourth son of the Vicar of Marchbolt, who is playing golf with his friend, Dr. Thomas. Bobby, whose “best friend could not have said that he was handsome, but his face was an eminently likable one, and his eyes had the honest brown friendliness of a dog’s,” is not particularly good at golf, and a nasty slice sends his ball down into a steep-sided chasm. Scrambling down to find his ball, Bobby instead comes across a man, who has apparently stumbled over the cliff and fallen. The doctor examines the unconscious man and says that it appears his back is broken and that he won’t make it. Leaving Bobby with the soon-to-be-dead man, Dr. Thomas goes for help. As Bobby stands guard, the man regains consciousness for just a few moments – long enough to ask, “Why didn’t they ask Evans?” before he dies.
The death is ruled accidental, but Bobby begins to have his suspicions about various little niggling things that don’t quite add up. With the aid of Lady Frances Derwent, daughter of the local nobility, (and Bobby’s childhood friend), Bobby begins to explore the man’s death. The story is wildly impractical at times, but Bobby and Frankie make an endearing duo, and the whole thing is such great fun that it’s easy to gloss over some of the raised-eyebrow moments.
Honestly, the main issue I had with this book wasn’t the book’s fault at all. It was this niggling feeling that the phrase “Why didn’t they ask Evans” had been used elsewhere by Christie. Like I detective myself, I finally Googled around until I found what I was looking for. I was positive that it had been in a Poirot book, and lo! Thirteen at Dinner had what I was looking for – Poirot and Hastings are crossing a street when Poirot overhears a chance remark from someone who is leaving the theater – “Idiotic story. If they’d just had the sense to ask Ellis right away, which anyone with sense would have done – ” This leads Poirot to his final clue. Ellis, not Evans, but close enough that it nagged at me the whole time I was reading The Boomerang Clue!
On the whole, Christie ties things together on the end, although I was still left with a few ??? items. It especially seems unlikely that the bad guy would write them a letter in the end just to explain his perspective, but, you know, whatever works. All in all, The Boomerang Clue isn’t my favorite Christie, but it is quick and fun, and a solid read. 3/5.