A date with Christie

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.

Jane Marple (L) and Hercule Poirot
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!

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9 thoughts on “A date with Christie

  1. I have always been an Agatha Christie fan. I have also enjoyed her non-fiction like COME, TELL ME HOW YOU LIVE. Unfortunately, I read all the Agatha Christie mysteries in my pre-teens, so, when I was 14, I set myself to write a murder mystery! Currently, I read self-published mysteries and thrillers and blog about them here.

  2. It’s funny, that I came to your blog. Last month we were in Great Britain and stood at Torquay, the place where Agatha grew up and lived. We also visited her summer residence in Greenway, which is a lovely place to be 🙂

    Greetings from buechermaniac

    1. It must be pretty surreal to visit Christie’s hometown and residences. Would love to be there one day! Thanks for dropping by my blog and hope you enjoyed it. (:

  3. Hi Jie Yi See (again!),
    A Happy (late) birthday 🙂
    I really love your blog. I feel I’ve moved into a book-lover’s paradise, being a bookworm myself! Gosh, your list of the top 1000 books to read for Agatha Christie certainly makes me envious because those are the very books I don’t have in my collection. My favourites of all time: “Murder On The Orient Express” and “Death On the Nile”. I read anything electic-wise (romance, mystery, non-fiction are the tops now) and I can’t believe I’ve left it so late to read Agatha Christie’s books now I’m a wise old-chick! I think growing up my mum couldn’t afford a lot of books and I spent my childhood living at the library! So, I relish your blog on the library too. For those who haven’t read “Cards On the Table” and “Three Act Tragedy”, go for it. In fact, collect all the books and read all of them. There is definitley something about Agatha’s English and I love her style because she is succinct yet manages to portray human characters and emotions and complex relationships precisely. If you haven’t watched any of the BBC series or movies of “Poirot” starring David Suchet, they are a must-see. I watched the whole series while living in England, and I will buy the whole DVD series, if only to get my son (now he’s 14) onto being a die-hard fan.
    By the way, there are other classics out there if you like thrillers. Consider Jack Higgins “The Confessional.” I have to get hold of Alain de Boton’s “Religion For Athiests” too. As Cicero says, ” A room without books is like a soul without a body.” Even if having a kindle doesn’t quite classify as a book; at least it’s a library I can carry around for the love of books. Do you agree?
    Keep up the blog. Love it.

  4. I love her too 🙂 I’ve recently been re-watching the first season of Hercule Poirot and it’s made me want to go back and read her books too! Like you, I love the way she focuses on the people involved and how the cases always hinge on an understanding of human nature.

    1. Great knowing that Christie fans out there also love her insights into human nature!

      Just dropped by your blog and am definitely fascinated by the reading challenges you’ve set for yourself for this year. Will keep a look out for your progress (:

  5. I love Agatha! I can understand the comments about her style, but like Dickens, its worth working through the “sometimes wordiness” and to appreciate the author’s genuine voice–all to get to the real gems…the story! So great! Debra

  6. My favourite among the collections would be Murder on the Oriental Express. Poirot’s humor is delightful, and one can’t forget his distinctive waxed moustache. The book manages not only to keep my brain racking but also it triggers every human emotion !

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