Special Sub-Topic: The Christie Couples, Vol. IV
|In which novel has the murderous spouse done away with their better half long before the story even begins and replaced them with an impostor?|
"Dead Man's Folly". James Folliat, the black sheep of the Folliat family, is married to an Italian woman. However, when his mother hooks him up with the rich but naive Hattie, he decides to keep his marriage secret and marries Hattie, only to kill her shortly after and bury her on the property. His real wife thenceforth plays the role of Hattie, and he poses as Sir George, the new owner of the Folliat family manor. When a cousin of the real Hattie announces his visit, the fake Hattie stages her disappearance and murders two people who know more than is good for them.
Poirot and Mrs. Oliver investigate, with Mrs. Oliver suffering a traumatic experience as to staging murder hunt games.
|Which is the novel where the wife kills her husband, and even plainly states that intention to none other than Hercule Poirot?|
"Lord Edgeware Dies" (a.k.a. "Thirteen At Dinner"). Jane Wilkinson is certainly not the most knowledgeable person on earth when it comes to Greek mythology, but she is cunning enough to confuse even the great Hercule Poirot. When her husband tells Poirot that he is not opposed to a divorce, her apparent motive for carrying out the deed she announced is gone. Moreover, she has arranged an alibi that makes it look as if someone had eavesdropped on her statement and is now trying to frame her.
|"Murder in Mesopotamia": Louise Leidner is killed by her first husband, Frederick Bosner, who has kept a vigilant eye on her even after he was presumed dead, and threatened to harm her every time she got too close to another man. Under which identity does he appear in the novel?|
Dr. Eric Leidner. Some might think it unrealistic for a woman not to recognize her first husband, much less to get married to him again and still not knowing. But that is exactly what happens to beautiful but difficult Louise Leidner. She meets her end when she falls in love with another man - something which her jealous husband cannot put up with.
|In which novel does the murderer go to great lengths to make his wife's apparent suicide plausible, intending to marry the beautiful governess of his two young sons?|
"The Moving Finger". Richard Symmington has set his eyes on Elsie Holland, a governess of unearthly beauty (but with a horrible voice). His wife, Mona, is of the cantankerous kind, and when she receives an anonymous letter (one in a series of many that turn up all over the village of Lymstock), no one is too surprised that she took an overdose of a sleeping drug. After all, "No smoke without fire...".
|Which is the novel where the murderer passes for single, because they have lived in separation from their spouse, and ends up killing them because they want to remarry and the spouse would not agree to get divorced?|
"4.50 From Paddington" (a.k.a. "What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw"). Miss Marple's friend Elspeth McGillicuddy knows what she saw: A man strangling a woman to death on a train that went parallel to her own. Luckily for her Miss Marple does not doubt her eyes, or sanity, for a second and sets out to investigate.
It transpires that the murderer wanted to remarry and asked his wife for a divorce, but she refused for religious reasons. He killed her instead and hid her body on the Crackenthorpe estate.
|Which is the novel where the victim gets killed by their spouse, but with their dying breath begs the witnesses to protect the murderer?|
"The Hollow" (a.k.a. "Murder After Hours"). The theatrical, seemingly staged scene of the woman standing above her husband's limp body with a gun in her hand, blood dripping slowly into the swimming pool, the victim breathing a name as he dies, makes Hercule Poirot furious at first - until he realizes the murder is real.
Even though it appears obvious at first that Gerda Christow killed her husband, the whole story gets more confusing when fake clues appear and every lead seems to be a dead end. The witnesses did a fairly good job, after all, even though they cannot fool our favorite Belgian forever.
|In which novel is it not the murder of the wife but that of the mother-in-law that is the main event, with the wife's death only following later?|
"Death in the Clouds". No one knows, of course, that Norman Gale is actually married to the victim's daughter, and that this daughter was on the plane as well. The couple conspired on the murder of Madame Giselle, but the Norman got greedy and killed his wife, too.
|Which murderous spouse kills their other half in an exceptionally clever way and then acts guilty on purpose in order to take advantage of the double jeopardy rule?|
Alfred Inglethorp in "The Mysterious Affair At Styles". This is Agatha Christie's first novel, of course, where nothing is as it seems, and all the murderer had to do was sit back and wait for his plan to succeed. Alfred Inglethorp acts guilty on purpose in order to be charged with murder, but has arranged for a subsequent alibi to be revealed. That would have made it impossible for him to ever be charged with the murder again, even if his guilt had been proven later. Poirot, however, is on to him early, stating that Inglethorpe must by no means be arrested now.
|"Murder At The Vicarage": What is the name of the murderous spouse?|
Anne & Anne Protheroe. No one mourns the loss of Colonel Protheroe, but Miss Marple will not let the spouse and her lover get away with murder.
|In which novel did one of the protagonists kill their spouse years before the events of the story, but cannot resist to use the same pattern again to kill someone else?|
"Evil Under the Sun". Poirot gets suspicious during the investigation of Arlena Marshall's death - it seems so smooth, so practiced, that he supposes the murderer used the same pattern before. So he unburies the case of the murder of Alice Corrigan, where the husband had a rock-solid alibi and simply could not have killed her - unless the murder occurred later than everyone thought.
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