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In the novel The Sittaford Mystery, Mrs Willett is the mother of Violet. Some months before the events in the book, she offered to rent Sittaford House from Captain Trevelyan. As it was October, the request to rent the house seemed rather strange but she had told the house agent that she and her daughter had just come from South Africa and wanted a house on Dartmoor for the winter. Captain Trevelyn was at first reluctant but the offer of a rent of 12 guineas a week, half to be paid in advance, proved too attractive and he agreed.

Mrs Willett's motive for renting the place is only revealed towards the end of the book when it is discovered that her husband is in the nearby Dartmoor Prison and she and her daughter had hatched a plan to help him escape, using Sittaford House as a temporary refuge.

Portrayals

In ITV's 2006 adaptation of the novel, Mrs Willett is given the firstname "Evadne" and she is also the mother of Violet Willett. Her backstory is changed slightly but her role is a parallel if not a fair approximation of that in the original story. Here she is also involved in trying to help a prisoner escape. The difference is that she does not rent Sittaford House. Instead she is staying at The Three Crowns hotel in Exhampton. The hotel is to be used as a safehouse for the escaped convict and not Sittaford House. Evadne Willett is portrayted by Patricia Hodge.

Unlike the original, Evadne is a guest at the hotel and takes frequent day trips to the moor ostensibly doing birdwatching. In one of these, she loses her haversack. It is later revealed that her day trips were to meet or help with the convict's escape attempt. The haversack which she claimed to have lost actually contained clothes. She had left in on the moor for the convict to change into. The convict whom she helps is not her husband Freemantle Freddy but someone else, a lover named "Harold Wells" (see the article on Archie Stone). He had been in and out of prison frequently. On a previous spell of freedom. Wells had met Evadne and they had fallen in love. During the most recent imprisonment, Evadne conspired with Wells's cousin Stanley Kirkwood on an escape plan. She got Kirkwood to buy over the Three Crowns Hotel about a year before the events in the show. A week before the escape attempt, Kirkwood had dismissed all his hotel staff. Here, Evadne is the one who organised the seance, timed for the night Wells approached the hotel after escaping and changing into the clothes that had been left for him. The seance "resulted" in a black out (probably engineered by Kirkwood) and some confusion so that Wells could sneak in with less chance of being noticed.

Wells hid in the hotel, posing as the cook. He and Evadne planned to flee the hotel a few days later but he was overheard discussing his plan with Kirkwood by James Pearson and the two were arrested by the police.

In this adaptation, it is likely that Evadne's daughter Violet did not know about her relationship with Wells and the scheme to help with the prison escape.

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