Saturday, August 28, 2021
Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie
I loved it mostly because of one character: Bob, the dog. Yes, he is the fox terrier you usually see on the cover (at least I noticed that some editions use the dog's image on their covers). Does it mean Bob IS the dumb witness in this story? I wish!! Imagine, if only Bob did see the murderer did something, and unwittingly, when he asks Hastings to play, eventually leads Poirot to a clue - it would have been wonderful! But unfortunately, no. Bob just lends his careless habit of putting his toy ball on the top stair to inspire an accident.
Bob's owner is Miss Emily Arundell, a wealthy but prudish spinster. She makes it clear that after her death, her wealth would be divided equally to her nephew and nieces: Thomas, Theresa, and Bella - whom, in a way or other - need the money badly. One night during the stay of the nephew and nieces, Emily Arundell fell from the stairs after tripping over something. They found Bob's ball laid on the top stair in the morning, but is it really the cause? Later on Hercule Poirot found a nail covered with varnish on the top stairs (on which, deduced Poirot, the murderer tied a string that has tripped Emily Arundell). So, it's a murder attempt after all! - and poor Bob has been wrongly accused!!
There'd be a real murder at some point, but the one stuck in my memory is always the stairs accident, for two reasons. First, since it's the only incident which linked Bob with the case. And then, the incident itself seems to be rather forced. How can someone think of hammering and varnishing a nail in the middle of the night, while the nearest bedroom door is slightly opened?
As I said, it's a weak crime story; not one of Christie's brilliant works, I admit, but memorable and heartwarming nevertheless. Far from disappointed, I admired Christie more for writing variable crime novels which are are always entertaining!
Rating: 4 / 5