My school was a quaint little convent in the middle of a busy city. Being a bookworm, my favourite place in the school was the library. The library wasn’t too big, just three walls full of books, rather small I’d say. My favourite shelfs however were the ones in the extreme left corner which had hordes of Enid Blyton books and the one at the far end of the room, which had Agatha Christie books.
I was an Enid Blyton fangirl. I even wore my hair short, a la George from the Famous Five and imagined that I owned an island too. I must have read and re-read and then re-read all of the famous fives, and had no option but to switch to Agatha Christie (I had devoured all of Sherlock Holmes stories as well by that time)
Wondering, why I am taking you a trip down memory lane? Because it was the birthday of one of my favourite authors yesterday, September 15th!
So without further ado, let’s talk about what Christie would want us to talk about…her detectives!
I must admid I took time to warm up to her. My first acquaintance with Miss Marple, an elderly spinster with a knack for solving cases wasn’t too exciting. It was only through ‘The Murder at the Vicarage’ which I read later, that I truly fell in love with her. She is a complete gossip, interfering into people’s lives with elan and offering her ‘I-told-you-so-‘ opinion unabashedly which didn’t really make her a very nice woman, but definitely helped her solve the cases.
Do you think Agatha Christie was a feminist? I’d believe so! To create a character like Miss Marple, who was neither young, nor really like-able and make her take on a man’s job in an era which wasn’t so progressive is brave to say the least.
By the way did you know that Miss Marple was so famous that there is a biography on her life? It has been on my reading list for a while, shall let you know soon how the book was!
A short stout man, with an egg shaped head and upward curled moustache…ring a bell? Ofcourse I am talking about the impeccably dressed Hercule Poirot. ‘The Mysterious Affairs at Styles’, ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ and ‘Death on the Nile’ remain my clear favourites. The Mysterious Affairs… is ofcourse Christie’s first work, wherein she introduces the eccentric Poirot. Apparently Poirot was inspired from Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, who was in turn inspired from Edgar Allen Poe’s Auguste Dupin (who I have unfortunately not read). And despite the fact that Hercule Poirot is her most famous detective, like Conan Doyle, Christie also apparently got tired of the egoistic Poirot and found him insufferable! However there is no denying Hercule Poirot was widely loved so much so that when Christie killed him off, the New York Times carried an Obituary….read it here – https://www.nytimes.com/1975/08/06/archives/hercule-poirot-is-dead-famed-belgian-detective-hercule-poirot-the.html
Not only was she one of the most successful writers of all times, her personal life was no less than a bestselling book. Do check the movie Agatha by Michael Apted
So Happy Birthday to the Queen of Detective fiction!
More on iconic detectives in the coming weeks!
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