Read our read review of Agatha Chrisite's  - Lord Edgeware Dies

Also know as 'Thirteen at Diner' this is the tale of Carlotta Adams who seeks help from Poirot to divorce her husband Lord Edgeware. However Poirot's help becomes unnecessary when Lord Edgeware Dies !

 

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Agatha Chrisite

Lord Edgeware Dies

 

 

 

The was publised in 1933 by Agatha Christie and was the eights book to feature her Belguin sleth Hercule Poirot. It also features two other Christie regulars Captain Hastings and Inspector Japp.

Jane Wilkinson, an actress, is suspected of murdering her husband, the fourth Baron Edgware, so that she can marry the Duke of Merton. The plot begins with Jane asking Hercule Poirot to convince her husband to agree to a divorce. When Poirot reluctantly does so, Edgware says that he has already agreed to a divorce and written a letter to Jane informing her of the fact.

When Poirot reports this to Jane, she denies ever having received such a letter. Lord Edgware is portrayed as a rather unsympathetic character. On the night of the murder, Wilkinson supposedly goes to the Edgware house, announces herself to the butler, and goes into her husband's study. The next day, Lord Edgware is found murdered and Chief Inspector Japp tells Poirot all about it. Numerous friends and acquaintances of Jane have described her as amoral, someone who only thinks of herself and would certainly commit a crime if it would help her get what she wants, without a care for others. But in that morning's newspaper, they discover an article about a dinner party that was held the previous evening where Wilkinson was a guest.

At the party, there were thirteen guests at the dinner table. Given the amount of murders, parties and dinner parties that appear in the Agatha Chrisite novels it is surprising that more of her characters are not clinnically obese. Life insurance for overweight people seems to be a prerequisit for anybody appearing in a Christie story. One guest mentioned that thirteen people a table means bad luck for the first guest to rise from the table (hence the alternative title of the book, Thirteen At Dinner) and Jane Wilkinson was the first to rise. Among the guests is an actor named Donald Ross, who spent a lot of the evening speaking with Jane. So the police are, at first, baffled with the case, as is Poirot. On the same morning Lord Edgware's murder is discovered, comedienne/actress Carlotta Adams, known for her uncanny impersonations, is found dead due to an overdose of Veronal. A mysterious gold case with the sleeping powder in it is found among her possessions. The case bears an inscription reading: "From D, Paris, November, 10th Sweet Dreams". Poirot tries to decode this and arranges the evidence together.

A few days later, Jane makes an appearance at another dinner party, (more food) where the guests (there must be some overweight people) talk about Paris of Troy. However, the Jane Wilkinson at this dinner party thinks that the guests, again including actor Donald Ross, are referring to the French capital. Ross can't understand this because, at the party on the night of the murder, Jane was speaking knowledgeably about the mythological Paris. Ross goes to ring up Poirot about his discovery, but before he can say what he discovered, he is stabbed to death at his home, but Poirot is on the verge of solving the case, anyway.

Poirot gathers the suspects and details the trajectory of the crimes (the three murders): With Carlotta Adams impersonating Wilkinson, Jane simply takes a taxi to the Edgware house, where she murders her husband. She is overseen by her husband's secretary but the secretary's vision and impartiality were called into question at trial. Later, Jane (in the person of "Mrs Van Dusen", an elderly American widow) and Carlotta meet up in a hotel where they toast Carlotta's successful "performance" and ostensibly so Jane can pay Carlotta. However, Jane slips Veronal into Carlotta's drink, and Adams dies. Jane discovers a letter Carlotta has written to her sister and is panicked by how Carlotta talks openly in the letter about their arrangement. Rather than destroy the letter, Jane sees a way she can use the letter to her advantage. At the top left hand corner of the second page is the word "she" (referring to Jane); she tears off the "s", leaving the word "he", making it seem a man had hired Carlotta. Jane then puts the remaining Veronal inside the gold case to make it seem Carlotta was a Veronal addict. Jane ordered the gold case the week prior (as "Mrs Van Dusen"), which Poirot discovers when he questions the engravers. Poirot also realises that "November" was engraved on the case specifically to throw him off.

Unbeknownst to Jane, Carlotta had been knowledgeable about Greek mythology, so she talked a lot about the subject with Donald Ross. At the second dinner party, Jane realizes she's made a potentially very serious mistake about Paris, leaves the party and heads to Ross's home to kill him before he can tell Poirot. Her motive for killing Lord Edgware was because the Duke of Merton was a staunch Anglo-Catholic and would not marry a divorced woman; a widow, however, is a different matter. In the last chapter, she writes a letter to Hercule Poirot, remarkably devoid of any animosity, which ends with her wondering why hangings are not done in public anymore.

 

 

 

 

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