Agatha Christie, the best selling novelist of all time has sixty six novels and fourteen short story collections to her name. She has been entertaining her readers for one hundred years.
Her most popular books are those featuring Hercule Poirot making him the most popular detective in English fiction. His fans outnumber those of Sherlock Holmes and his exploits have been translated and adapted countless times. Miss Marple, that woolly haired old biddy with sharp eyes is equally lovable though less famous.
Agatha worked in hospitals during the second world war. During this time she acquired a great deal of medical knowledge. She uses this to great advantage in poisons, times of death, symptoms of disease etc.
She has also written several several “Stand Alone” novels, some of my personal favourite Christie’s s. They do not adhere to the “famous sleuth” formula. These include The Man In the Brown Suit and Crooked House.
Light as a souffle, her books though featuring crime, are never sordid, never morbid. “Distasteful” realities are mentioned without going into graphic details– domestic violence, perversion even psychosis. In some books, especially the “stand alone” ones, the tone is light hearted almost humorous.
A reason for Agatha Christie ‘s appeal may be that she ascribes to both of the most popular fiction categories, mystery and romance. Romance is never at the forefront but plays second fiddle to the “detection”. At times the main characters are drawn together emotionally at the close of a murder investigation and make a match of it by the time the mystery is solved. Otherwise sleuths like Poirot and Marple gently nudge different suitors in the right direction.
In addition to being intellectual puzzles, Agatha’s books are a study of human nature and psychology. In books like Passenger to Frankfurt, The Big Four, They Came to Baghdad, she also dabbles in social and political commentary .
Agatha accompanied her husband Sir Max Mallowan on archaeological expeditions and digs. We see her first hand experience as a setting for several of her novels.
Although most of the novels deal with death, nowhere is it “justified ” or “allowed” Her characters, especially Poirot, keep reiterating how precious human life is.
I have always enjoyed reading Agatha ‘s books ever since I read the first one at the age of twelve. As part of the A to Z Challenge, I intend posting about one of her books every day for the month of April.
My posts will not be synopses or reviews of the books. Those you can find in abundance on the web. I will be writing about my own views on each book.