Book Review: Evil Under the Sun (1941)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the classic murder mystery novel published by Agatha Christie in 1941.

Synopsis: Beautiful Arlena Marshall is the type of woman men would do anything for and a woman other women despise as a result. In fact, she has been described as being "evil." When Arlena is murdered at a secluded resort, Hercule Poirot is asked to help determine which of the guests despised her enough to strangle her.


I was elected to serve as a board member of my daughters' skating club and one of the drawbacks of that is I don't get as much time to read at the ice rink as I used to. As a result of this, it took me longer to get through this book than it would have in the past. However, I was able to finally finish reading this murder mystery yesterday evening (one day before it was due back at the library) and wound up being impressed with it.

Evil Under the Sun
Evil Under the Sun
Photo by Steven Helmer

At first, I wasn't really sure if that would be the case because, like many of Agatha Christie's novels, there were a bunch of characters (many of them not even involved with the murder) that needed to be described in detail and, at first at least, I felt as though the book were getting a bit bogged down as a result. But, as the story progressed, it ended up being much more interesting.

One of the things that really stood out for me was the way everyone, with the exception of Poirot and Arlena's husband, seemed to think she had it coming to her. Their victim blaming kept just about everyone as a potential suspect and, in some ways, made Poirot's case seem a lot more difficult to solve.

In addition, the fact Arlena was seemingly murdered by a man also threw a bit of a wrench into Poirot's case. After all, men were infatuated with Arlena and, other than her husband (who had a motive but also had an alibi), would be the least likely to kill her. Yet, Poirot insisted it was unlikely a woman strangled her.

Ultimately, I was able to accurately guess who the murderer was. But, even though I was correct, I was not able to figure out how that person pulled it off or what their motive was and had to read until the very end to find those things out. That definitely made the book a lot more exciting than it would have been if I solved the case completely.

Evil Under the Sun: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries)

The Queen of Mystery has come to Harper Collins! Agatha Christie, the acknowledged mistress of suspense—creator of indomitable sleuth Miss Marple, meticulous Belgian detective H...

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Final Opinion

I wasn't sure what to think about this book at first. But, it turned out to be an interesting murder mystery and one I would recommend taking the time to read.

My Grade: A

More By Agatha Christie

And Then There Were None

A PBS Great American Read Top 100 PickOne of the most famous and beloved mysteries from The Queen of Suspense—Agatha Christie—now a Lifetime TV movie."Ten . . ."Ten strangers ar...

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Death on the Nile: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries)

Soon to be a Major Motion Picture from Twentieth Century FoxFollowing the success of Murder on the Orient Express directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh, Twentieth Century Fox...

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Updated: 10/04/2018, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 04/02/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
The library system here does have Evil Under the Sun amongst its Agatha Christie books. It also has two film versions, one with David Suchet and another with Peter Ustinov interpreting Poirot.

Would you happen to have seen either or both of the film versions?

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