Whenever I am asked to list my all-time favorite author, my answer would never fail to be the dame of crime writing, Agatha Christie.
The responses I have received so far would range from raised eyebrows to disbelief.
This is because Christie writes in an old-fashioned, high-street, British English style that dates back to the early ’90s, which might sound like a drab for some people.
To top that off, she has a distinctive writing style, which can get repetitive after reading a lot from her series.
But these are precisely the reasons why I love her. Her writing and vocabulary instantly transports readers back to Britain a century ago, not too long ago to still be able to imagine the scene.
Moreover, a lot of effort was spent on describing and analyzing the intricacies of criminal psychology and their mindsets.
“But I know human nature, my friend, and I tell you that, suddenly confronted with the possibility of being tried for murder, the most innocent person will lose his head and do the most absurd things,” said Detective Hercule Poirot in “Murder on the Orient Express.”
In turn, her murders are often more realistic and takes place in relatively more mundane, every day settings as compared to modern day crime fiction, involving out-of-the-world espionage, drug lords or corruption scandals.
This could be evidently seen from her choice of lead characters namely Hercule Poirot, a retired Belgian police officer living in London, and Jane Marple, an elderly spinster who lives in the countryside.
Her down-to-earth approach is a major brownie point for me, making her novels standout from the crowd of detective/mystery novels on bookshelves.
During a recent meeting, a friend recommended an independent bookstore called “Littered With Books,” which is a cozy and lovely shop to hang out and soak up the fresh woody smells of paper books.
It was there that I bought my latest Agatha Christie novel “4:50 From Paddington” about a crime featuring Miss Marple that took place on a train that left Paddington Station, London at 4:50pm.
Reading it was like meeting an old friend over a cup of coffee – familiar, nostalgic and comfortable – always counting on Christie to entertain and not disappoint. I was first introduced to her writings about six years ago by a friend who lent me my very first Christie book “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd,” which is one of her more famous books I will definitely recommend for all interested.
Till date, I have gone through about 20 percent of her collection, which is made up of 66 novels and 14 short story collections that is under her own name, making her a highly prolific writer and also an all-time best selling author, according to the Guinness World Book of Records.
The next few Christie’s books that is on my reading list would be from the Guardian’s definitive list of top 1000 novels everyone must read. They include “And Then There Were None,” “The Mysterious Affair at Styles,” “The Murder at the Vicarage” and “The Secret Adversary.”
Do you like Agatha Christie? Tell me what you think in the comments below!