Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Agatha Christie

Agathe Christie at work
 Agatha Christie (1890-1976) is one of the best loved writers of all times and her books still sell more copies than many other so called best-sellers. Her books and stories have been immortalised in films and television series and new adaptions are being made almost every year.

She has devoted fans and I must say I am one of those fans. Some people look down on her work or see her books as ‘cozy mysteries’ at best, but I do think she is much better than that. 

Her plots are often really good and ingenious and she was a master at creating atmosphere and describing characters. She gives you clues about the murderer throughout the book, but in the end often all is revealed by the detective who calls all suspects together and tells how things happened.

Most of her best work was written in the twenties and thirties, but some real gems can be found in her later books as well.

She is amazing when she writes about murders within a small group, for example a family or a group of people in a hotel. Her later books where she sometimes used elaborate international conspiracies are not that good.

Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie grew up in a family that was quite well off. She married colonel Archibald Christie just before Christmas 1914. During the war she volunteered in the hospital and there she learned about several poisons, and that knowledge would come in very handy later.

In 1918 their only child, daughter Rosalind was born. The marriage was not very happy and in 1926 Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. She herself never told what she had done during those days, but there are many theories.

She and Archibald divorced in 1928, but Agatha met archaeologist Max Mallowan and they got married in 1930, despite the fact that Max was fourteen years younger than she was. 

Agatha Christie often travelled with her husband to the Middle East and worked with him at the digs. These new experiences also found their way into her novels.

And here is a very incomplete and completely subjective list of her books with the books I think are worth reading and the ones who must be avoides at all cost (the last category does not have a lot of books, but I still feel strongly about them).

Her best work
  • And then there were none
  • The pale horse
  • Endless night
  • Sad Cypress
  • The ABC murders
  • The murder of Roger Ackroyd
  • Curtain
Great
  • Murder on the Orient Express
  • The mousetrap
  • Crooked house
  • Nemesis
  • Five little pigs
  • The hollows
  • Dumb Witness
  • The mysterious affair at Styles
  • The Sittaford mystery
A bit implausible, but still quite good
  • Murder in Mesopotamia
  • Evil under the sun
  • Chimneys
  • Sleeping murder
Not really that good
  • Elephants can remember
  • One two buckle my shoe
  • The third girl
  • Murder at the links
Avoid like the plague
  • They all came to Bagdad
  • Passenger for Frankfurt
  • All books with Tommy and Tuppence

2 comments:

  1. The more of her books that I read, the more I like Agatha Christie. Have you ever read the book about her archaeological journeys with her husband? I think it's called Come, Tell Me How You Live? I haven't, but it sounds interesting. I think she's written an autobiography, too, which would be fun to read. She led a pretty fascinating life.
    Oh, and if you haven't read The Seven Dials Mystery...it's one of my favorites. I'd classify it as one of her best...but then I haven't read as many of her books as you have. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Come tell me how you live is indeed the book about the archaeological journeys, and this is very good. Funny and interesting. Het autobiography is also very good and there are two well known biografies, one by Janet Morgan and the other by Laura Thompson. Both well worth reading, although the last one is a bit more speculative with thoughts and conversations etc.
      I have read Seven dials mystery a long time ago, it is not one I had in my own collection, but I have it now and will probably read it soon! Good to know you liked it so much.

      Kind regards,

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