When I was younger, I read one Agatha Christie novel after another. These days, I usually watch a Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot mystery once a week, even though I’ve already seen most of them. There’s something about Christie’s style that comforts me. I’m still hooked on Agatha.
My friend bought me the book AGATHA CHRISTIE, AN ELUSIVE WOMAN by Lucy Worsley for my birthday, and I’ve been waiting for things to settle down so that I can enjoy it properly. I’m starting it tonight. While HH’s brother stayed with us, we watched David Suchet’s special on Agatha Christie’s life. Suchet played Poirot for 25 years and was looking for answers as to why her work’s been so popular and enduring. He explored her childhood, marriage and divorce, her second marriage and the “missing” time period when she disappeared for 11 days.
I loved the TV movie about those missing days–Agatha and The Truth of Murder, an alternate history where she disappears to solve a case. At the time, it was a national event, trying to find her. Search parties combed the area where her abandoned car was found. It made the newspapers every day. My friend told me the book she bought me might tell what really happened before she was found. Agatha never talked about it.
Christie herself was an interesting person, adventurous but private. David Suchet could only make guesses about what made her work so loved. Some people suggest readers loved the clever puzzles she created, the unexpected twist at the end of each book. Others argue that her exotic settings thrilled readers at the time. She took them to Egypt, on cruises, and on the Orient Express. She was fond of poisoning, so that a person might sip a cocktail in an elegant restaurant and die on the spot.
I love all of the elements in her novels, but for me, I mostly remember the characters she created with a few deft brush strokes. And I enjoy the interplay between those characters. So much can be hidden behind a smile. Her characters are complicated, and that makes them interesting. I’ve read a lot of mysteries by a lot of talented writers, but Agatha is still one of my favorites.
Are you a fan? What do you think made her one of the best-selling authors in the world?