Mr Hawes is the curate at the church in St. Mary Mead during the events in The Murder at the Vicarage. At the beginning of the novel, he had been with the church for just over three weeks. According to the vicar, Leonard Clement, Hawes "has High Church views and fasts on Fridays". This causes Colonel Protheroe to dislike him, as he dislikes ritual of any form.
According to Dr Haydock, Hawes had suffered from Encephalitis Lethargica about a year before the events of the novel. He had recovered, but Dr Haydock mentions that the disease has a queer moral effect, and that a person's whole character may change after that.
A church warden, Colonel Protheroe suspected that Hawes had been pilfering from the church funds. After Colonel Protheroe is found shot, Hawes asks the vicar if the police have any suspects. Hawes appears ill, as his hands are shaking, and his face is twitching nervously. He seems to take a keen interest in the case.
Hawes later tells the vicar that he is suffering from headaches, and that Dr Haydock has prescribed him some headache powders, but has warned him against taking too many. Hawes requests the vicar to preach at that evening's service, as he does not feel well enough to do so himself. The vicar says that he will take the service and preach, and tells Hawes to go home and rest.
After the vicar preaches a sermon exhorting sinners to repentance, he receives a telephone call from Hawes, saying that he wants to confess. He goes to see Hawes, only to find him unconscious, with an empty cachet box beside him. A note written by Colonel Protheroe is also found, in which the Colonel expresses his suspicions that Hawes has taken from the church funds.
It is revealed that one of the murderers attempted to pin the blame on Hawes in order to divert attention. He tried to poison Hawes and make it look as if he had committed suicide, planting Colonel Protheroe's note, to give Hawes a possible motive for killing Protheroe. Hawes is saved by prompt medical attention.
Miss Marple later mentions that Hawes reminds her of an organist who had taken the money meant for the church Choir Boys' Outing. This gives her the idea that Hawes was taking from the church funds.
Portrayals[edit | edit source]
- Hawes appears in two stories in the television series Miss Marple; The Murder at the Vicarage and The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side. He is given the name Christopher Hawes, and is portrayed by Christopher Good. In this adaptation of The Murder at the Vicarage, Hawes consults Dr Haydock because he is having difficulty sleeping. He says that when he tries to go to sleep, he can hear his landlady and her friend talking, but whenever he hears his name and tries to listen, they are whispering. Dr Haydock prescribes him some tranquilizers. This is different from the novel, where Hawes complains of headaches, and is prescribed headache powders. In his second appearance, much time has passed and Hawes is now the vicar of St. Mary Mead. This appearance is non-canonical as in the original story, the vicar is not named.