Agatha Christie’s Evil Under the Sun and Triangle at Rhodes are eerily similar. A feeling of deja vu will bound to happen, either one is reading or watching. Evil Under the Sun has two movie adaptation, in one Poirot is portrayed by Peter Ustinov in 1982 and in the other Poirot is, who else, David Suchet in 2001. Evil Under the Sun is a full length mystery and Triangle at Rhodes is a short story and it was in the collection of Murder in the Mews. In Evil under the Sun Arlena Marshall is visiting this seaside hotel Jolly Rogers in Smuggler’s Island on the coast Devon and Cornwall. She is there with her husband Kenneth Marshall and a teenage stepdaughter Linda who loathes her. Arlena is self aware beautiful lady who never shy away from the company of the opposite sex. So, here in the island she is enticed by this man Patrick Redfern. Patrick is holidaying with his awkward wife Christine who cannot even bathe or go out in the sun without getting terrible sun burns.
So Arlena is dead and everybody’s alibi is ready and there were suspects too. When you are reading it you will suspect Arlena’s husband Kenneth Marshall, a jealous frustrated husband. Also the presence of his former fiancee Rosamund Darnley is going to make you suspicious. Did Kenneth Marshall killed Arlena out of jealousy or to be with his ex? Or the presence of his ex made him realise how he so not deserve his present wife? And just here comes the plot of Triangle at Rhodes. In Triangle at Rhodes Valentine Chantry/Arlena is attracted to Douglas Gold. Marjorie Gold/Christine is his awkward wife. Tony Chantry/Kenneth is the unfortunate jealous husband. In Triangle at Rhodes there is no Rosamund Darnley, not blatantly overtly! It was revealed that it was Tony Chantry who killed his wife Valentine, and he was having an affair with Marjorie. So yes Marjorie is loosely a Rosamund. Poirot says there is a Triangle at Rhodes alright, but it was not the obvious one! Fun fact, if two married man woman get involved with each other is it right to call it a “triangle”? Isn’t it always a quadruple? But obviously here who is concerned about right and wrong!
I tried my extreme best not to totally give away both plots, I just sacrificed one and the short!
Why the author crafted two stories so similar, because when one weaves a murder mystery there are suspects, and the author already has everybody’s backstory. So in one story she decides to go with one murderer, but she cannot help but thinking if someone else from all the characters present in the story was the murderer, what motive and method would she have given him/her then? That is how Evil Under the Sun and Triangle at Rhodes are created.
In Evil Under the Sun Poirot so famously says the beach reminds him of the morgue in Paris, the reclining sunbathers are like meat on butcher’s slab. And how it came true! Here so accurately and wisely he said that men were not attracted to Arlena but she was attracted to them. But the thing is whether the man is attracted to or just simply attracts the woman, the end is the suffering of the left wife and the husband. But there again Agatha Christie surprised the obvious and left us flabbergasted.
Agatha Christie is so good in portraying the adultery, the unfaithfulness, is it because once she was the sad shareholder of a triangle herself? Who cares, she got her husband Mr. Max Mallowan as the winning prize. When I was young my mother used to tell me do you know how much her husband used to love her? That is why she could have written so much and so good, she had her peace of mind. What I didn’t know then is Mr. Max Mallowan was her second husband through whom she found true love. I guess to be an author you need to experience everything.