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Agony Agatha 2

Thursday, 2 April, 2015

I was chatting with someone on Tinder and we hit it off. But then I accidentally blocked him – what do I do? I have his first name and a screenshot I took of his profile to show my friends. I HAVE TO FIND HIM!

See this? This is exactly the sort of question this column was created to answer – it’s both a relationship dilemma and also a genuine mystery. How do you find this guy with a trail of so little clues – and what’s more, should you?

Immediately, one particular Christie mystery springs to mind – and not just because of my several full-body tattoos of Agatha and the fact that I’m surrounded by mirrors. I’m thinking of Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? – a tale that doesn’t star any of Christie’s regulars (discounting the marginally racist 2008 adaptation that jammed Miss Marple in). In the book, newbie sleuth Bobby comes across a dying man while playing golf. With his final breath, the man cryptically asks, “Why didn’t they ask Evans?” Bobby, who has some pressing piano recital or swinger’s party to attend, leaves the body in the care of a mysterious stranger. It later becomes apparent that the stranger tampered with some evidence to muddle the case. Bobby, alongside his childhood friend Frankie, dives headfirst into the mystery.

The question of “Why didn’t they ask Evans?” was the key to solving this mystery – if they could only figure out who the hell Evans was! Just like you, all they had to go on is a name and a couple of Tinder screenshots.

In order to find Evans, Bobby and Frankie constructed false identities, faked a car crash, and broke into an asylum so… I guess you’ll have to do the same? It all depends on how important this is to you. Keep in mind that you’ve consulted a column in a monthly magazine… Even if you do find him, are you really going to message a guy you blocked on Tinder a month ago and say you’re in love?

The beautiful thing about Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? is that it is in fact a romance masquerading as mystery. Bobby and Frankie’s sleuthing is really just high-stakes flirting, and the end of the book isn’t the unveiling of the killer, but the pair’s decision to wed. The mystery of finding Evans distracted them from realising their true feelings for one another, and only with its resolution could their love truly blossom. So just remember that, while there’s nothing wrong with being doggedly determined to solve a mystery, Christie wants us to know that it shouldn’t so occupy our attention that we aren’t open to other opportunities for love.

Trouble in paradise? Need love advice? Email Alistair <alistairb@student.unimelb.edu.au>