The Pale Horse is a detective novel by British author Agatha Christie. It was first released in the UK on November 6, 1961, by the Collins Crime Club, and in the US the following year, by Dodd, Mead, and Company.
The US edition cost $3.75, and the UK edition featured her novelist detective Ariadne Oliver as a minor character. The tone of the book is similar to Dennis Wheatley’s supernatural novels, which was at the time In Revelation 6:8, where Death is riding it, the Pale Horse is mentioned.
The Pale Horse Ending Explained – What Happened at the End of the Agatha Christie Adaptation?
The Pale Horse was another triumphant example of Sarah Phelps’ revisionist Agatha Christie, adding a layer of eldritch paranoia to what might have otherwise been a stale whodunit. It was a dark, sophisticated look at the murder trade, much like Phelps’ other BBC adaptations of The ABC Murders and And Then There Were None.
It wasn’t without issues, though. The conclusion left a lot of viewers perplexed. Not just the murder mysteries, but also a final twist that seems supernatural.
We’re here to help, so don’t worry.
Let’s examine each revelation one at a time.
First, we learned that Mark’s godson, David Ardingly, murdered Aunt Clemency. Someone had offered to “remove the obstacle” in his path because he wanted to take her money.
The rest of the puzzle can be solved using this information, which Mark discovered when he confronted Osborne, a supposed fellow victim. Osborne had come up with a plan that would allow him to profit from his hobby of murder (which, based on his behavior, we assume he would continue to enjoy even if unpaid).
How Has the Ending Been Changed From Agatha Christie’s Novel?
In the novel, Mark Easterbrook and his friend (later fiancée) Ginger are determined to get to the bottom of things, so they devise a plan. Mark poses as a potential client for The Pale Horse and is given an appointment with a shady ex-lawyer who acts as a go-between.
He fabricates a story about wanting to evict his first wife because she has recently resurfaced and threatened to derail his upcoming engagement with Hermia. Meanwhile, Ginger plays his first wife, who did exist but conveniently died ages ago abroad.
Mark is then summoned to see the witches, who put on a show that leaves him shaken and torn between rational and irrational thoughts. Ginger, meanwhile, begins to deteriorate. Have the witches actually cursed her with their magical powers? Is everything true?
No, as it turns out. Mark suddenly puts everything together and realizes it’s all due to thallium poisoning! Someone has been working with the witches and doing the dirty work of the actual killings, and whoever it had somehow gotten to Ginger.
Thallium causes a wide range of symptoms, and deaths can appear to be due to natural causes, but all of the victims’ hair was falling out, which provided the clue. The witches were merely a smokescreen.
Oscar Venables, a wealthy Much Deeping resident with unfathomable wealth, is initially suspected. And Zachary Osborne, the seemingly trustworthy pharmacist, claims to have seen Mr. Venables following Catholic priest Father Gorman just before his murder.
But there’s one big problem: Venables is in a wheelchair due to polio and couldn’t have been walking the streets of London. Inspector Lejeune is baffled.