Thursday, April 4, 2013
Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie
Synopsis From Back Cover:
Everyone blamed Emily Arundell's accident on a rubber ball left on the stairs by her frisky terrier. But the more she thought about her fall, the more convinced she became that one of her relatives was trying to kill her....
On April 17th she wrote her suspicions in a letter to Hercule Poirot. Mysteriously, he didn't receive the letter until June 28th... by which time Emily was already dead....
I feel like I've reviewed so many Agatha Christie books by now that I'm starting to sound like a broken record. There are only so many different ways I can say brilliant and well worth reading. Even her weaker books, which this is not one of, deserves to be read by even the most picky reader. I have yet to read one of her books, even The Big Four or Murder on the Links, that doesn't rise above most of the cozy mysteries being churned out today. So I hope you get the point, that I enjoyed this one as well.
The one item I did want to mention is the way the book ends. I'm going to have to spoil the ending, or at least what happens to one particular person, so if you don't want to know what happens, stop reading now.
At first I thought this was a trend I was mainly seeing from male authors, but upon further reading, I've came to realize it's more about the sex of the detective in the book. In an alarming amount of books, when the killer is a female, instead of apprehending her, the male detective lets her know that he knows it's her, and then allows her to eliminate herself. So many of these female killers are allowed to kill themselves at the end of the book, as opposed to facing charges and possible hanging. This isn't even the first time Hercule Poirot has allowed a woman to take herself out in this manner.
I'm not even sure how I feel about the whole thing. I'm not sure what it is about the times, that authors were okay with the idea of allowing a woman to kill herself, rather than face justice. I'm not sure if it's the way society looked at woman during those years, or if it's something else. Did they just assume that women weren't strong enough to face the consequences of their actions, or was it more about not wanting to shame her publicly. Most of the cases I've seen, when the woman does kill herself, it keeps the truth of the crimes from getting out to the public.
I'm not sure it's a plot device that would be either used or sit well with most audiences anymore. It feels sexist to me, a little degrading to women. I could be completely off base. I could be the only one who feels this way. Or I could simply be rambling right now, and nobody who reads this will have a clue of what I'm talking about.
Challenges: VM (Repeat Offenders)