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Short Story Monday – The Witness For The Prosecution by Agatha Christie

>> Monday, August 1, 2011

The reason I chose this story this week is because of the Agatha Christie Read-Along – I’m participating in the Short Story portion hosted by Book Club Girl. I hadn’t read any Agatha Christie before and I’m thoroughly enjoying the short stories.

The Witness For The Prosecution by Agatha Christie
The Witness For The Prosecution by Agatha Christie
Part of the Collection The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories
Published: 1948 in this collection (story first published 1925)

This story was the basis for a later play, movie and television adaptation.

Leonard Vole is under arrest and accused of the murder of a wealthy woman by the name of Emily French. His attorney Mr. Mayherne wants to believe his client is innocent, but the more questions he asks of Leonard the more the answers seem to play right into the hand of a competent prosecutor. Even if what Leonard is saying is the absolute truth, much of in can be interpreted in a way that leads to the conclusion that he is guilty of the crime.

Leonard Vole’s alibi for the time of the murder is his wife who is away and due back soon. When the wife returns and Mr. Mayherne meets with her he is stunned to discover that while she is more than willing to testify at trial it is not in Leonard’s defense. She plans to be a witness for the prosecution.

This was a fun story. I did have a pretty good idea of how it would play out and so was not completely surprised at the ending.

I read a bit more today and discovered that the original ending in this story was changed when Christie re-wrote it as a stage play. Apparently she became dissatisfied with the original ending and decided to change it up.

I checked today and my library has the DVD of the 1957 movie version (which I’m sure is based on the play and not the original story). It stars Tyrone Power, Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich. I need to watch that.

Short Story Mondays is hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.


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