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Old 06-22-2012, 03:33 AM   #16
Billi
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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.
Another fan of Agatha Christie here and also since my youth. I like all books by her that I have read except the one where - in my opinion - she doesn't play fair with the reader. I'm talking about the most spoiler-tagged book here at MobileRead so I think you guess which book I have in mind. I hate it! (and hope that at least she had fun writing it)
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Old 06-22-2012, 05:18 AM   #17
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Actually, I can't guess which book you're talking about. Please give me a hint
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Old 06-22-2012, 07:57 AM   #18
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Spoiler:
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.
Spoiler:
It's told in first person and the story teller is not only the assistant of Hercule Poirot but also the murderer.

Last edited by Billi; 06-22-2012 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:14 AM   #19
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Ah, that one.
I remember reading it, and I agree, it's an unfair and dirty trick to keep the reader from guessing the truth. But except for that book, and a couple of others*, I think Agatha Christie usually plays fair game with her readers. Of course she makes it difficult to guess the murderer, and of course she hides all the direct evidence (that would point directly to the killer), but when reading an Agatha Christie book, I seldom feel cheated when the truth is revealed. The reader gets to know all the facts, and has a fair chance of solving it before the detective.

*Another book I do not like is the ABC Murders, where a serial killer is on the loose. Even though all the facts are presented to the reader, the book lacks that closed group of suspects, and the suspects are not easily identified as such.
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:32 AM   #20
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I think that Agatha Christie does play fair in that book. A great book, IMO.
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:39 AM   #21
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"That book" referring to The ABC Murders or The Murder of Roger Ackroyd?
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Old 06-22-2012, 09:51 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by GeckoFriend View Post
It just doesn't sound like anything she would have written. My opinion only of course.
You're probably right. It really doesn't sound like her to me, either. I do remember reading that line in one of her stories, but memory can be a cunning deceiver. I've probably confused her with another author.
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:48 AM   #23
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"That book" referring to The ABC Murders or The Murder of Roger Ackroyd?
Ackroyd.

But I don't remember being annoyed by the ABC Murders either.
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:07 AM   #24
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Well, i half agree with you in that she plays fair in the Murder of Roger Ackroyd, but only half. The reader gets all the information he/she needs to solve the mystery, but the means to hide the truth from the reader is not fair.

As John Dickson Carr stated in "The Hollow Man":
Quote:
The words 'according to the evidence' have been used. We must be very careful about the evidence when it is not given at first hand. And in this case the reader must be told at the outset, to avoid useless confusion, on whose evidence he can absolutely rely. That is to say, it must be assumed that somebody is telling the truth - else, there is no legitimate mystery and, in fact, no story at all.
Spoiler:

And the person to be assumed truthful is the narrator if not otherwise stated. If even the narrator cannot be assumed to tell the truth, the reader cannot trust any of the evidence or statements in the case, and the whole concept of "fair game" looses its meaning

Last edited by Iznogood; 06-22-2012 at 12:03 PM. Reason: Adde spoiler
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:50 AM   #25
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Well, i half agree with you in that she plays fair in the Murder of Roger Ackroyd, but only half.
I disagree.

Spoiler:
I don't think the narrator tells any explicit lies in Ackroyd.
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Old 06-22-2012, 12:04 PM   #26
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The one that so many don't like is also the one novel whose plot was suggested to her by someone else. A relative of the royal family suggested it to her if I recall correctly.
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Old 06-22-2012, 12:32 PM   #27
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I think that Agatha Christie does play fair in that book. A great book, IMO.
Okay, if one can overcome one's vast anger about being mislead so terribly one can most probably see what a good book it is.

Raymond Chandler wrote in one of his essays about detective stories that the detective should never know more than the reader, that the reader should have all the information that the detective has. So, in this sense it's not unfair what she's done but I felt deceived nevertheless.
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Old 06-22-2012, 02:25 PM   #28
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So, in this sense it's not unfair what she's done but I felt deceived nevertheless.
I think we'll have to agree to differ on this one.
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Old 06-22-2012, 03:47 PM   #29
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Okay, if one can overcome one's vast anger about being mislead so terribly one can most probably see what a good book it is.

Raymond Chandler wrote in one of his essays about detective stories that the detective should never know more than the reader, that the reader should have all the information that the detective has. So, in this sense it's not unfair what she's done but I felt deceived nevertheless.
The detective almost always knows more - they know who did it. (By the end, at least.)

I read my first ever Christie earlier this year. It was entertaining enough. I'd seen the TV adaptation, and still didn't know who the guilty party was.
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Old 06-22-2012, 04:10 PM   #30
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The detective almost always knows more - they know who did it. (By the end, at least.)

I read my first ever Christie earlier this year. It was entertaining enough. I'd seen the TV adaptation, and still didn't know who the guilty party was.
Which book?
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