Murder is Easy by Agatha Christie is set in one of her terrific village settings full of little old ladies, likeable young people, pompous older people, weirdos and suspicious characters, and of course a murderer. Unusually for this author, the story also contains a romance.
Luke Fitzwilliam had just returned to England from the Mayang Straits (now Singapore) after retiring from the police force when he met an elderly lady on a train who told him she was on her way to Scotland Yard to report a murderer who had been working their way through her village. Luke thought Miss Pinkerton was imagining things until he read in the paper the next day that she had been killed in a hit and run accident in London.
With the assistance of a friend who had a cousin living in the old lady’s village, Luke arranged to visit Wychwood to investigate the deaths that Miss Pinkerton had told him about, posing as an author writing about superstitions and witchcraft in the village.
Luke soon fell in love with Bridget, his friend’s cousin in Wychwood but their romance was complicated by Bridget already being engaged to Lord Whitfield, a pompous fellow whose enemies have a habit of dying seemingly by accident. While Luke investigated several other suspects in the village as well as Lord Whitfield, I thought I could have saved him the trouble as I identified a particular person as the murderer early in the story. It turned out that I’m not very clever at all though, because I was wrong and the murderer was someone else entirely who I hadn’t suspected at all. I honestly don’t know how Agatha Christie does it, but that’s how it goes for me every single time.
For a policeman, Luke wasn’t any better at identifying the murderer than I was and before long he found himself and Bridget in mortal danger. Luckily, he survived, with the assistance of Superintendent Battle who appeared briefly at the end of the story, just in time to arrest the murderer.
Murder is Easy probably isn’t one of Agatha Christie’s better murder mysteries, but as her poorer stories are still better than many other efforts, I enjoyed this story.