Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Book Review: Evil Under the Sun

Evil Under the Sun is one of Agatha Christie's mystery novels that features the quirky Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. I've read several of Christie's novels, but never one with Poirot as the central character. I've seen lots of his adventures on PBS, where he is expertly played by David Suchet, and the novel was just as good. Poirot is such a great character! He is conceited and a little snooty and of course overly observant. He views the world completely differently than the other police detectives involved, so of course he can comprehend the convoluted crimes long before Scotland Yard and the local constables.

In this particular novel Poirot is on vacation at a fashionable seaside hotel called the Jolly Roger. He meets several other interesting guests and spends quite a bit of time visiting with all of them. The subject of all of their gossip is the beautiful stage actress Arlena Marshall and her penchant for collecting men....despite the fact that she is married to the handsome, quiet, and long suffering Capt. Marshall. The other guests watch aghast as Arlena seduces another younger vacationer right out from under the eyes of his newlywed wife. As the lovers spend more and more time together his mousy wife becomes increasingly distressed and withdrawn.

On the other hand Arlena's husband seems not to notice anything amiss at all and continues to live in his own little world, ignoring both his wife and his teen aged daughter Linda, who incidentally, hates her step mother and her philandering ways. As is sure to happen in a Christie novel, Arlena is found strangled to death on the beach one afternoon and her husband, her step daughter and her new male companion's little mousy wife are all suspects. Her new boyfriend has an airtight alibi or he would have been a suspect too.

I won't tell you what happens in case you want to read it (it is a very good book after all) but of course Poirot solves the murder and two other cold cases in the process. The least likely people are discovered to be in cahoots and behind it all. He also uncovers a drug ring and some secret witchcraft goings-on. Man, that guy is amazing. But what does all of this have to do with LOST?

One of the obvious connections is that the Jolly Roger hotel is on an island that is cutoff from the mainland during high tide. Almost all of the action takes place on a beach and the only mode of transportation is row boat. But the bigger connection, and the reason I think this book was featured, is the love triangle.

Sawyer was reading Evil Under the Sun in the episode entitled "Expose". Remember that one? Yeah, that's the one where we see the back story of Nikki and Paolo. They conspire to rob and kill a rich guy and then start to mistrust each other when it comes to finding the money on the island. In the end they are bitten by Artz' poisonous spiders and are buried alive. This book totally parallels that story line. Those LOST writers get more and more brilliant all the time, don't they?


  1. Very interesting! To be honest, the Nikki/Paolo plot was one of my least favorite on the island but their deaths TOTALLY creeped me out. I still get chills just thinking about it.

    But you're right, the LOST writers are brilliant at bringing so many varying influences into the story. That's part of what makes this reading challenge so much fun - discovering things you wouldn't have gotten simply from watching the show.