March 9, 2011

The Mysterious Affairs of Agatha Christie

I didn't lie in my vlog when I said that my recent excursions into the fantastic novels of Agatha Christie would have some serious blogging side-effects. I have spent at least an hour these past two evenings, soaking in a hot bathtub with an Agatha Christie novel in my hand, more willing to leave the bathtub looking as wrinkled as Miss Marple rather than have to put a story about her down. 
But enough about me.
Meet the author.
Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller Christie 
September 15, 1890-January 12, 1976

Mrs. Agatha Christie was always far from a normal woman. Yes, her childhood and early adult life seemed common enough- youngest of three, lively and spirited, worked as a nurse during the first World War, engaged and married, and releasing some six novels that brought her success. But it wasn't until her divorce in 1928 that things began to really get mysterious. After an argument with her soon-to-be estranged husband (who she had recently discovered to be involved in acts of infidelity), Agatha Christie left a note for her secretary saying she had gone off to Yorkshire, and promptly disappeared for 11 days. 
She was discovered at a hydropathic hotel, living under an assumed name. She never gave an account for her disappearance, never spoke about where she'd gone and why, but much speculation still surrounds it to this day, and many see this event as what truly marked the beginning of her great career as a mystery novelist.

Of course, her first novel The Mysterious Affair At Styles had been a Poirot story, and this set the tone for her writing career. Poirot was so popular a man, and Agatha so attached and fond of him, that out of her 54 novels, some 33 are solely about him. Agatha confided in her diary on more than one occasion how she viewed her character almost as a living person. Admittedly, though, she claimed to always have loved and revered the inquisitive and sprightly Miss Marple, whom she based on her grandmother. 

David Suchet as Hercule Poirot

Julia McKenzie as Miss Marple  

Agatha Christie was an English woman through and through. She especially adored Devon- the place of her childhood- and the rocky cliffs near the seas. She used places she had visited and loved as the settings for her books, which is what perhaps made them seem so real and vivid. She was known for her quaint, English mannerisms and style, as well as the smaller eccentricities that belong to all good women authors.

Altogether, Agatha Christie is almost tied with Shakespeare as the best-selling author of all time, and only the Bible has her number (some four billion books) beat in sales. The numbers are irrelevant, but they certainly don't lie, either. Agatha Christie, it may safely be said, is the greatest mystery writer ever to have graced us with her works, and is ranked as one of the greatest writers to be published. 
(Do I sound like a fangirl?)

This, by the way, is the best Agatha Christie book. In the world.
No Poirot.
No Miss Marple.
Just pure genius. 
Ok, I'm done now. 

If you want to do or read something worth your time, run down to the library and peruse the many shelves (four at my library) of Agatha Christie novels available for your reading delight.
Then, when you've done that, look up the BBC television series for Poirot (David Suchet is the only man I will watch cast as Poirot. There are lots of older episodes from the 80-90s, but the good ones are the episodes released in the past few years, mainly Cat Among The Pigeons and Murder On The Orient Express) and Miss Marple (again, only watch the Julia McKenzie ones. They're newer too, and I could swear she was born to play Miss Marple). 
Have a happy (and mysterious) Wednesday!


Kaley Grace said...

I love Agatha Christie!!! I got her autobiography for Christmas, but I haven't finished it yet, and I've read almost all of her books that are at the library! :)

Natalie said...

Stumbled across your blog and have enjoyed reading many of the posts :D Agatha Christie books are my favorite mysteries!

mist of the blossom rain said...

She sounds like a really interesting person! I am sad to say, I have never heard of her or her books. They sound very good though!

Brianne said...

I've only read Hercule Poirot stories by Miss Christie... but Ms. Marple looks pretty much awesome.

Me :D

Grace said...

Agatha Christie is fantastic! I often go through fangirly spurts in which I read nothing but her stories for a long period of time.

Miss Mist: I cannot believe you've never heard of her! You are hereby charged to go read "And Then There Were None", and report back! :D

Breezey: Miss Marple is a must- so sprightly and quaint! The perfect little old lady, who garners information merely because she is a sweet, elderly woman with knitting needles. I like how she solves crimes where she feels she has personal interest, whereas Poirot is a detective for hire.

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