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Old 06-21-2012, 04:33 AM   #1
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Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie anyone?
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:53 PM   #2
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Alright! I get to air my grievance with Christie's novels!

When I was in high school, I read everything I could get by her, pretty well everything she published. Out of all those books (well over fifty), I guessed the right person _three_ times. So, I eventually figured out that her task was to keep you from not figuring out who the murderer was. I was especially incensed when, at the final group meeting, Poirot would whip out a cable from an ocean liner crossing the Atlantic, and the cable would have some vital piece of information required to solve the mystery (like person A was really the nephew of the deceased and stood to inherit the fortune). Very frustrating for a kid who thought his little grey cells weren't too shabby either. I guess I wasn't smart enough to understand that they weren't puzzles like the mystery books for children I had read before that.
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:49 PM   #3
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Out of all those books (well over fifty), I guessed the right person _three_ times. So, I eventually figured out that her task was to keep you from not figuring out who the murderer was.
Of course that's her task. And I agree with you, she was successful in performing it as well. If she hadn't, it would hardy have been a mystery at all.

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I was especially incensed when, at the final group meeting, Poirot would whip out a cable from an ocean liner crossing the Atlantic, and the cable would have some vital piece of information required to solve the mystery (like person A was really the nephew of the deceased and stood to inherit the fortune). Very frustrating for a kid who thought his little grey cells weren't too shabby either. I guess I wasn't smart enough to understand that they weren't puzzles like the mystery books for children I had read before that.
Which story was this? I have read most of her books, but cannot remember this one.

In my opinion, it is the mystery writers duty to do his/her best to keep the truth from the reader, but she (let's use female since we're talking about Dame Agatha Christie) may only do so by letting the reader draw the wrong conclusions; keeping evidence away from the reader is not fair game. I feel confident though, that this cable was not a necessary part of the solution, and that the reader was supposed to find the murderer without knowing the content of it. In fact, wouldn't the mystery have been quite obvious if the details of that cable had been known to the reader? The purpose of this cable was most likely to put the final nail in the murderers coffin, if all the other evidence was circumstantial.

Personally, I have very fond memories of reading Christies stories when I was a teenager. I remember the first "real" book I read (after outgrowing the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew) was Five Little Pigs. I had much the same experience that you had; I didn't really grasp the concept of "puzzle", but I was intrigued by the ending of that book: that all these tiny pieces of evidence, that apparently pointed unambiguous against Caroline Crale, when put together and interpreted in the correct way, pointed even more unambiguous against the real murderer. I believe this to be the reason for my interest in the classical crimes today.

Another all time favorite of Christies books are "Ten Little Niggers". I remember reading it while sitting in the sun in front of out house a warm summer day. Even though it was a warm day, I clearly remember the chilling feeling down my spine: the atmosphere of that book, the steadily decreasing number of persons alive on this mysterious island, the mysterious U.N. Owen and the sensation of the unavoidable is up to this day one of the most powerful experiences I have got from a mystery book. And the solution is just incredible.

Thumbs up for the Queen of Crime

Last edited by Iznogood; 06-21-2012 at 01:56 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 06-21-2012, 02:44 PM   #4
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Poirot would whip out a cable from an ocean liner crossing the Atlantic, and the cable would have some vital piece of information required to solve the mystery (like person A was really the nephew of the deceased and stood to inherit the fortune).

Which story was this?
All of them.
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Old 06-21-2012, 05:02 PM   #5
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Which story was this? I have read most of her books, but cannot remember this one.
I would have read it in the late 70's, and I have no idea which of her books it was. I only remember it now because I was so annoyed at the time. I don't regret reading her books as they were enjoyable otherwise, hidden information notwithstanding.
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Old 06-21-2012, 05:34 PM   #6
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She was my mother's favorite author because in her opinion she "played fair" with the reader. I'm not sure I always agree with that assessment, but she is fun to read.

Here's something I've wondered for years: I seem to remember in one of her books a description of a particularly buxom woman who walked through a door and "followed her breasts across the room", but for the life of me I have been unable to find that colorful description in any of her works. Did I imagine it or confuse her with another author?
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Old 06-21-2012, 05:39 PM   #7
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She was my mother's favorite author because in her opinion she "played fair" with the reader. I'm not sure I always agree with that assessment, but she is fun to read.

Here's something I've wondered for years: I seem to remember in one of her books a description of a particularly buxom woman who walked through a door and "followed her breasts across the room", but for the life of me I have been unable to find that colorful description in any of her works. Did I imagine it or confuse her with another author?
This is a description used by Terry Pratchett for Lady Sybil Ramkin, now Mrs. Sam Vimes.
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Old 06-21-2012, 05:52 PM   #8
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I've always liked Agatha Christie's Novels myself. The one mystery where she didn't play fair was the real life one when she vanished for a short while. She was found in a hotel some distance from her abandoned car as I recall and what had happened never was explained. She said she would explain it in her autobiography (to be released after her death) but when it came out there was no explaination nor reason given for not giving one. She took the solution to that mystery (if she herself knew it) to the grave with her.
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Old 06-21-2012, 07:48 PM   #9
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This is a description used by Terry Pratchett for Lady Sybil Ramkin, now Mrs. Sam Vimes.
Maybe so, but I don't recall reading any Pratchett before coming to MobileRead.
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Old 06-21-2012, 08:36 PM   #10
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Maybe so, but I don't recall reading any Pratchett before coming to MobileRead.
It may be in Appointment With Death - describing the horrible Mrs. Boynton ....
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:18 PM   #11
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I'll check it out. Any excuse to read another Agatha Christie novel is a good one.
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:22 PM   #12
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Wow. I had read that one. It's in my K-3's Finished Reading collection. I thought the name sounded familiar.

And I don't recall any such scene in it.
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:20 PM   #13
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Wow. I had read that one. It's in my K-3's Finished Reading collection. I thought the name sounded familiar.

And I don't recall any such scene in it.
It just doesn't sound like anything she would have written. My opinion only of course.
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:43 PM   #14
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She was my mother's favorite author because in her opinion she "played fair" with the reader. I'm not sure I always agree with that assessment, but she is fun to read.

Here's something I've wondered for years: I seem to remember in one of her books a description of a particularly buxom woman who walked through a door and "followed her breasts across the room", but for the life of me I have been unable to find that colorful description in any of her works. Did I imagine it or confuse her with another author?
She did write several romance novels as well. Could you be thinking of something in one of those?
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Old 06-22-2012, 01:20 AM   #15
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Count me as another person who when through the Christie books as a teenager; read one and just had to read the others.
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