Saturday, October 24, 2015

My Year with Agatha Christie

I've done it - almost.

On November 29, 2014 I started my goal to read all of the Agatha Christie novels and short stories. Yesterday I completed that goal with the exception of the Tommy and Tuppence novels (five books). (Will I eventually read them?  Probably not.)  As much as I love mysteries I cannot understand why I never read her novels.  Of course, it was only a few years ago that I read all of the Sherlock Holmes novels and stories.  So many books, so little time.

Up until last November I had only ever read one of her novels and that was when I was a teenager.  I read the book 'Ten Little Indians' which was first published as 'Ten Little Niggers' in 1939 and now is published under the title 'And then There were None'.  One of the old books I borrowed from the MSU Library actually had an advertisement for 'Ten Little Niggers' at the back of the novel and it was the first time I even became aware of that title.  The UK actually made a movie of it in 1949 with that title.  Agatha was definitely not PC when she wrote about African-Americans or Jews.

My plan of attack was simple.  I first read all of the Hercule Poirot stories.  I read them by publication date order with the exception of reading 'The Mysterious Affair at Styles' (pub. 1920) followed by 'Curtain' (pub. 1975), which goes back to Styles with a much older Poirot.  Suffice it to say that he will never be one of my favorite detective characters.  What a pompous ass!  IMNSHO.

I followed that up with reading Miss Marple.  What a dear!  Of course, hanging around with her whether she is in St. Mary's Mead or on vacation in the Caribbean means that someone will die.  Or be murdered to be more precise.  And then lovely Miss Marple will recall someone she knew who reminds her of the present situation and she will solve the murder.  Voila!  Love her.

There are several stand alone novels.  I think my favorite was 'Endless Night' (pub. 1967).  It was unlike other Christie novels with a very surprising twist, though I must admit that I did begin to wonder if she was using a technique she used in an earlier novel (and she did) with the actual killer.  No spoilers here so you'll have to read it and find out for yourself.

Certainly my least favorite novel was 'Passenger to Frankfurt' (pub. 1970), a spy novel that gets wrapped up rather quickly as though she grew tired of writing it.  Certainly not a literary area where she excelled, IMO.  I really had to push myself to finish it.

I would be remiss in not mentioning her play 'Mousetrap'.  I read just the story version not the script. It was very enjoyable even if I did know the ending.

I ended up rereading 'And Then There were None'.  Yesterday.  As satisfying as ever.

Movies and TV adaptations have been made of nearly all of her works.  Of course, I have discovered that screenwriters take great liberties with their adaptations, including adding Hercule or Miss Marple into stories where they did not originally appear, changing characters, adding new characters, etc. Suffice it to say that I will watch these videos as distinct stories apart from what  Agatha wrote.

It has been a fun year.  I must thank all the libraries in the MeLCat system and my local West Bloomfield Library.  Without them there is no way I could have read all the novels.  For free.  Please support your local library.  Reading gives us all sorts of adventures.


  1. Well done, however, I am afraid I have never been a fan of Agatha Christie, nor, I might add, of Sherlock Holmes. Not my 'cuppa tea' at all. I definitely support my local library. They are great. Although I have a small problem right now in that I have ordered books months ago which were popular and being read by many others, however, they all became available at once.

    1. Well, I love mysteries, my favorite both for reading and watching. I have also found that books all seem to get released at the same time and then I have to have my local library put my 'hold' on 'hold'. Just got notified of two being available today.

  2. Congrats on reading almost all her books. I love Agatha Christie and must have read "And The There were None" 10 times. I have seen the original film also. I know what you mean about Passenger to Frankfurt. It just seemed she didn't have her heart in it. Libraries do need big support and I do my bit

    1. I haven't seen the original film in ages. It is on my lo-o-o-o-ng list.

  3. Wow! What a goal! Congratulations on having completed it. I consider myself a Christie fan, but I never thought of even attempting something like this.
    The first Christie novel I read was "The Sleeping Murder." I was all of 13 then, and I spent the entire year wanting to be a detective.

    1. Never thought about being a detective, but I got hooked on 'Perry Mason' and TV and thought about being an attorney. On TV.


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