Monday, August 10, 2009

Magnificent, Marvellous, Mighty Monday and AGATHA CHRISTIE



I can still remember the first Agatha Christie book I ever borrowed from the library, a graphic paperback with a woman's head bashed in with lurid, vivid detail. Here began an intense love affair with the Queen of Crime and her creations. Her covers may have softened over the years, reflecting a more retro, softer image, but to me that early cover reflects the true darkness in the series of webs that Agatha, the deadly and clever black spider, spun so well for us.

People are not often what they seem; she's reported to have said and in her books the world of gentle English chocolate-box prettiness is definitely not what it seems. Many of her diabolical plot ideas kept me awake at nights: And Then There Were None, Murder On The Orient Express, Murder Is Easy, Endless Night and so on. Many times the killer was often the last person you truly did expect. Agatha didn't balk at using child killers or old lady killers and she revolutionized the Golden Age of Detective Fiction when she boldly used the narrator as killer.

Agatha has been often derided by literary minds, but I'm now in good company in my Agatha worship as writers such as Kate Mosse and Val McDermid are vocal in their praises of her.

The night in London where the Scribe and I enjoyed The Mousetrap (Agatha's play and the longest running play in theatrical history) remains a highlight of my life. I hope to take Daisy there to see it as well!

And so for Magnificent, Marvellous, Mighty Monday let us honour the spirit of the Queen of Crime, who showed us the darkness of the human spirit beneath its very respectable face and the evil lurking beneath the coziest of facades. May Agatha's cool, innovative, detached genius inspire us all in our creative efforts this week!

“The best time to plan a book is while you're doing the dishes.”Agatha Christie

“I specialize in murders of quiet, domestic interest.”Agatha Christie

17 comments:

  1. i am ashamed to say i have never read one of her books! love a good crime novel...but have never picked up an agatha...and i don't for the life of me know why! even when i worked in a public library and they were literally (literary!!!!haha) on tap i never read one. must rectify.....

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  2. They are a great rainy day read Cat! My favourite Christie detective is Miss Marple. I will be interested to see if you like them! xx

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  3. I only discovered Agatha Christie about a year or two ago properly - I went for an interview to work on her 'estate' so I had to do some research! My housemate used to work on her books though. I think she is wicked - see my blog entry here: http://catofcuriosity.blogspot.com/2009/03/good-murder-mystery-novel.html

    I love those quotes you've cited too! AND I know what you mean about the book covers - why don't they do those kind of covers anymore? I prefered them! Might have to write about that one day - I was literally having a massive discussion about them with my housemate the other day! xxx

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  4. Oh thank you, Curious Cat! I'm off to read your link! Yes, please write and put the idea out there for more graphic covers! xx

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  5. Can you believe I've never actually read one of her books? I've seen lots of the PBS film versios, but I know that doesn't count, does it? :^)

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  6. Ijust came across your blog, It's adorable! I love the layout. I also noticed you like gone with the wind! So amazing.
    xo <3

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  7. Josephine, your blog is lovely! Oh, and I can so relate to your love of AC. I would read her works at night and scare myself stiff! One balmy night, just in my knickers and reading one of her novels, a bat flew in my bedroom window - just as the murderer was about to be revealed. My father and brothers came running. You can imagine.
    Can you remember the novel where somebody was buried in a chimney? That was the most fearsome for me... Oh, and endless night. I saw that as a movie when i was around 16 and remember it to this day.
    Great post!
    Helenxx

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  8. Thank you Kay and Helen for your kind comments. Gosh, I will have to try to find out which book somebody was buried in a chimney. There was no limit to Agatha's crafty mind in body disposal.
    Willow, I love the TV shows as well. It will be interesting to see what you thought of the books. My father loves the TV shows but wasn't a keen fan of her books! There's nothing better than a Miss Marple movie. I'm such a Nanna! xx

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  9. You should watch that show, It comes out on DVD this month or in Sept I believe, I cannot remember.

    I do look forward to reading some of your future blogs and hearing from you again =)
    xo

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  10. i used to love AC and read heaps of her books when i was younger! she certainly was prolific and amazingly original in coming up with plot twists. i'd never thought about the book covers before. perhaps she's been unfairly 're-marketed' because she was an older woman, had a main character that was an elderly woman and was working at a time that is now the stuff of period pieces. even some recent movies/tv (that i in my limited experience have seen) of her books are rendered nostalgic and slightly comical rather than dark. would this happen to a male author ot a similar genre i wonder?

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  11. I love her stories and the BBC dramatized versions, Josephine.

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  12. I read all of her books as an adolescent and loved them deeply. I had largely forgotten about them until I read your post, thank you for the very welcome reminder! She was a fabulous writer, no matter what the "literary minds" say.

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  13. Merci Annechovie, brilliant to see so many Agatha lovers. Pinry, you're right on the money honey! I bet it wouldn't have happened if Agatha was Alfred. I do dislike the trend they have of turning all her female characters gay lately! I wish the Christie estate would stop them playing with her plots so dramatically. I got into rather a heated debate about this awhile back on the Christie forum. xx

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  14. Agatha Christie is my favorite author. I think I've read all of her mysteries! She is the one who inspired me to write my own (which I am doing now). A marvelous tribute... and I loved seeing that picture of Christie as a child!

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  15. And I can't wait to read your mystery as you know! I love that photo of Agatha as a child too. So beautiful and such a dreamy expression in her eyes! xx

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  16. Leanne in BrisbaneAugust 18, 2009 at 2:21 PM

    When my grandmother died, I inherited her Agatha collection - every single book she ever wrote. I'm still ploughing through them years later, they're a little worse for wear but I'll never part with them!

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  17. Hi Leanne, I would have got along well with your grandmother I'm sure! Aren't you lucky to inherit that collection! xx

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Thanks ever so for your comment! I love feedback! xx