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Leonard Vole: But I've done nothing! This is England! You don't get arrested or convicted for something you haven't done!
Sir Wilfred: We try not to make a habit of it.
A short story by Agatha Christie, made into a 1957 film.
Leonard Stephen Vole, an amiable and good-natured blood donor with an excellent war record, has been charged with murder. The victim: Miss Emily French, a lonely but wealthy widow with whom Leonard had become friendly recently. Unfortunately for Leonard, it is revealed that Miss French had left Leonard eighty thousand pounds, making for quite a motive. Leonard's case rests entirely on circumstantial evidence, and his acquittal relies on the testimony of his cold and calculating German wife, Christine Vole, who is the only person who can provide an alibi. Leonard and his solicitor seek the advice of London's best and most experienced barrister, Sir Wilfred Robarts, who takes Leonard's case himself despite his rapidly deteriorating health.
What follows is a three-day trial, during which time the prosecution makes a convincing case for Leonard's guilt and Sir Wilfred attempts to prove his innocence. After some time, a surprise witness is called, and twist after twist keeps everyone in the courtroom - and the audience - on the edge of their seats.
- Amoral Attorney: Averted. Mr. Meyers, the prosecuting attorney, is actually a very polite and civil man. He's just doing his job.
- Blondes Are Evil: Christine. Or is she?
- The Ending Changes Everything
- Do Not Spoil This Ending
- Hollywood Law: Surely a barrister of Sir Wilfred's experience could have gotten Christine's testimony for the prosecution disallowed by arguing that since Leonard Vole did not know she was already married, that would make her his putative spouse and thus spousal privilege would still apply.
- I Owe You My Life: How Leonard and Christine's relationship started.
- The Vamp: Christine
- Twist Ending: And you thought The Usual Suspects was a Mind Screw.
- Wig, Dress, Accent: And it works.