Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

The Lost Book Club: Evil Under the Sun

Agatha Christie’s Evil Under the Sun is a Hercule Poirot mystery in which the intrepid detective finds himself working a murder on a resort island off the English coast. There is a large cast of potential suspects and one body, that of a promiscuous actress who had been blatantly carrying on with a married man. In short: murder, most foul.

It wasn’t as good as the only other Christie novel I’ve read (Murder on the Orient Express) but I did enjoy it, although I started to have a sense of how the murder had occured before Poirot figured it out.

Sawyer is seen reading Evil Under the Sun in Season 3 of Lost in the Nikki and Paolo episode “Expose,” an episode that is essentially a muder mystery.

Like Lost, Evil Under the Sun has a large cast and takes place on an island. There aren’t any big clues about Lost’s mythology hidden in the pages either, which seemes appropriate as “Expose” represents a break from reveals about the island, serving mostly as just good, albeit twisted, entertainment. Kind of like Christie’s novels: nothing earth shattering, but loads of fun.

There is, however, a clue in the book that hints at the way the episode plays out. In Evil Under the Sun, (watch out, here come spoilers) the actress’s corpse is found on the beach. Her lover goes to try to save her, while the woman who discovers the body with him runs off for help. Eventually, we learn that the “body” was a ruse; it was the murderer’s female accomplice. Now he can murder his lover, the actress, while the woman who went off for help can vouch that he was with her the whole time.

In “Expose”, Nikki, an actress who may or may not be promiscuous but is a murderer,� shows up seemingly dead on the beach. The episode revolves around finding out who killed her and her lover, Paolo. Only at the very end, do we learn that she wasn’t dead. Unfortunately for her, only the audience sees her eyes open as Hurley and Sawyer are busy shoveling sand on top her in the island graveyard.

In this case, the inclusion of a book served to signal the type of episode we’re seeing (murder mystery) and offer a possible clue. Perhaps if Sawyer had read it more carefully, he might have realized that while Nikki seemed dead, she might not really be dead, but as we learned with the whole Of Mice and Men incident, Sawyer doesn’t always read that carefully.

Season 4 of Lost starts on Thursday with “The Beginning of the End.” Sometime before then, I will post my thoughts on Aldous Huxley’s Island, the last of the Lost books on my list. In the meantime, Brian at Lost…and Gone Forever has a great preview with no spoilers and lots of good theorizin’.

An index of all my Lost Book Club posts is here.


  1. I love Agatha Christie, but somehow I never read this one. At least I didn’t think so based on the title, but the plotline sounds very familiar. Do you know if it was ever published under another name?

  2. I don’t know if it ever had another title, but it’s worth the read if you’re a Christie fan and missed this one.

  3. Ronald Blankenship

    September 13, 2009 at 11:46 am

    This is one of my favorite Christie novels. It was made into a great movie in the 80’s with a totally catty cast of Maggie Smith, Diana Rigg, Roddy McDowall and Sylvia Miles and it has an amazing Cole Porter score and awesome costumes. I bought a copy of it from Barnes and Noble. Make sure if you get it that you get the version with Peter Ustinov not the one done for BBC. It is a pretty good read and the movie is great!

    Thank you for this list of Lost books. I am going to start reading and rereading them.

    • Thanks for stopping by. They’re all worth reading. I don’t know if there was anything I regretted spending the time on. I’ll have to check out that adaptation.

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