A novel by Agatha Christie
published in 1933, featuring Hercule Poirot
When the 4th Baron Lord Edgware is murdered, the primary suspect is his estranged wife, the talented actress Jane Wilkinson, who wanted to marry the Duke of Merton, and whom Lord Edgware's servants swear they saw entering his house. However, Jane spent the whole evening at a high-profile dinner party with twelve distinguished people, after having found out from Poirot that her husband had sent her a letter granting her a divorce - a letter that she did not receive. If Jane did not kill her husband, who did?
Lord Edgware Dies contains examples of the following tropes:
- Adaptation Induced Plot Hole: The 1985 film moved the setting to the 80s, making the motive for the murder much less plausible, because in the liberated 80s it is harder to believe that the Catholic Duke of Merton would avoid marrying a divorced woman than in the conservative 30s. The dominance of glamorous society by aristocrats, and Jane's determination to establish herself with them, is also a bit less convincing at that later date than in the 1930s.
- Asshole Victim: Lord Edgware was an unpleasant man with sadistic tendencies.
- Beneath Suspicion: Jane was at a party with twelve distinguished friends. Only she wasn't; Carlotta was impersonating her.
- Dub-Induced Plot Hole: The German translation of the book altered the plot point where the killer tears an "s" off the corner of a letter to change "she" into "he" to make it look like a man was being written about, because this would not work in German. It was replaced by the tearing of an uppercase "J" (signifying "Jane") to turn it into a lowercase "j" (signifying "jemand", German for "someone"). The only problem with this is that a "j" is not gender-specific and does not justify the characters thinking that it must have been a man.
- Dumb Blonde: Subverted and exploited by Jane.
- Epilogue Letter: The story ends with one written by the killer to Poirot before her execution.
- Eureka Moment: Poirot stumbles onto the truth as a result of an irrelevant remark made by a stranger who passed him in the street: "If they had just had the sense to ask Ellis right away..."
- Foreshadowing: The David Suchet adaptation opens with a theater production in which Jane Wilkinson is playing Lady Macbeth.
- Harassing Phone Call: Jane receives one at the dinner party. It is really Carlotta impersonating Jane who takes the call, and Jane herself made it, to ascertain whether the impersonation worked.
- He Knows Too Much: Poor Donald Ross.
- Identity Impersonator: Carlotta is paid by Jane to impersonate her at the dinner party.
- I Never Got Any Letters: Jane never received the letter from Lord Edgware agreeing to divorce, leading Poirot to speculate that a third party intercepted it. Turns out she lied about never receiving it.
- Market-Based Title: Was originally published in the United States as Thirteen at Dinner.
- Motive Rant: A suprisingly civil and friendly one is posthumously delivered to Poirot.
- Oh Crap: Jane after the slip-up about Paris.
- Red Herring: the ruby-encrusted box with Carlotta's initials on it and the inscription about Paris.
- Pretty much all references to the city of Paris. As it turns out, the only reference to Paris that means anything is the reference to the prince of Troy from Greek mythology and the fact that Jane didn't know who he was.
- Setting Update: The 1985 film moved the setting to the 80s.
- Summation Gathering: In the David Suchet adaptation.
- Thirteen Is Unlucky: Thirteen people are at that dinner party, and the superstition that ill luck will befall the first to rise is lampshaded. Donald Ross says that he rose first, and Hastings remembers this when Ross is murdered. However, Poirot points out that that isn't strictly true; Ross might have gotten up first at the end of dinner, but actually Jane rose first when she went to answer the Harassing Phone Call. Only it is really Carlotta impersonating her, and she dies that night.
- Title Drop: Reginald makes one, while mockingly describing the case against himself. "Nephew quarrels with Lord Edgware, that very night Lord Edgware Dies." He immidiately Lampshades this by pointing out "Lord Edgware Dies" would make a great name for a book.
- The Watson: Hastings.
- Woman Scorned: A male version: Poirot initially speculates that, after Jane rejected Bryan Martin for the Duke of Merton, Bryan committed the murder for the purposes of framing Jane and getting her hanged.