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Honored Contributor
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Registered: ‎11-08-2014

JANUARY 21, AND ENTER AGATHA CHRISTIE

agatha-christie---mysterious-author.jpg

 

On January 21, 1921 (eek-- 100 years ago, hard to believe), Agatha Christie published her very first novel in Britain, "The Mysterious Affair at Styles".   Quirky Belgian sleuth "Hercule Poirot" was unleashed as her debut sleuth.

 

We were talking on here just the other day about favorite film Poirots, and brilliant David Suchet won hands down that popularity poll...   He truly was a magnificent Poirot, one for the ages.

1544_Poirot_getty_main.jpg

 

Do you have a favorite Christie novel?  If so, which one, and why?

 

Mine happens to be her very last published novel, I think, "Sleeping Murder".   It's a "Miss Marple" mystery, the one with the glamorous young couple who come to the southern coast of England, and the wife, raised mostly in New Zealand, starts thinking she's been here (in this part of England) and witnessed something evil and horrible in the past....  "Mine eyes dazzle, cover her face..."

 

Until reading up just now, I didn't realize Agatha Christie was actually born on the south coast of England, in Torquay, Devon.  That's one place I've spent a little, (but very short) time in-- most of my Dad's family is from Devon, so we visited.  I wish I'd known she was from there, when I was there!

 

It partly explains why she writes with such authority and color about that particular coastal stretch, the green loveliness of Devon, and the faded glories of old resort towns like Torquay...

 

Agatha Christie was so complex--  thinking of her infamous, newspaper-hounded and police-involved disappearance as a young woman, after finding out about her husband's infidelity....   the full story of that episode remains untold...

 

I think several TV versions of "Sleeping Murder" have been done--  I love the Joan Hickson one, which I think the BBC did.  Very atmospheric!

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But I pretty much like every Miss Marple I've seen, including, of course, Margaret Rutherford.

 

Anyway, cheers for the anniversary of the launching of a fabulous detective fiction career, one that brings such pleasure one hundred years later, and beyond. 

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Re: JANUARY 21, AND ENTER AGATHA CHRISTIE

[ Edited ]

I've read every book she wrote, even those without Miss Marple or Poirot. My favorite was Murder on the Orient Express, but her first, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was a very close second. I've enjoyed lots of the movies, but as usual for me, I like the books more. 

You're right, she led her own amazing and mysterious life!  

 

eta, thanks, @Oznell, for the photos. 

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Re: JANUARY 21, AND ENTER AGATHA CHRISTIE

What a clever woman who wrote brilliant mysteries!  I read them 

so long ago (in high school)  that I can't think of a favorite. But her cleverness made me love mysteries.

 

I appreciate the youthful picture of her; most that I see are ones of her quite old and dowdy looking. She was one of a kind. Thanks for this thread oznell.

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Re: JANUARY 21, AND ENTER AGATHA CHRISTIE

Mine is Murder on the Orient Express. An exceptional writer. I also read her short stories. 

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Re: JANUARY 21, AND ENTER AGATHA CHRISTIE

@Oznell 

When I was in high school, I read my first Agatha Christie novel "Murder on the Orient Express".  That started my love for mysteries and no one wrote them better. I think my favorite is "A Murder is Announced "- it's set in the quintessential English village and Miss Marple is involved. I recently read one titled "A Sittaford Mystery " which was one I had never read.

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Re: JANUARY 21, AND ENTER AGATHA CHRISTIE

@Oznell 

Have you seen "Knives Out"? It is very reminiscent of Agatha. I think she would have approved of it.

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Re: JANUARY 21, AND ENTER AGATHA CHRISTIE

I remember buying my first Christie paperback. We didn't have a library nearby. Think it was .35 cents, then they went to .45, .60, .95, then over a dollar and I would buy another whenever I had some money. Got my first hardback as a birthday gift. The Mysterious Affairs at Styles. I remember my favorite was The Murder of Rodger Ackroyd. It took me totally by surprise, perhaps because it was written in first person. I remember Crooked House and had my suspicions who the murder was, but found it very, very unsettling.


Christie had an innate ability to sense and understand the strengths and foibles, the good and evil in people across all stations, cultures, and age whether in Mesopotamia or Hampshire. I was very young when I started reading her books. I remember her writings were my first exposure to a world in which people could and did dislike, distrust, hate another because of their cultural background or country of origin. 

 

I also remember her books were the first time I saw the word pince-nez and had to look it up.

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Re: JANUARY 21, AND ENTER AGATHA CHRISTIE

I saw Margaret Rutherford was on TCM last night and I DVR'd them...

 

I realy like her as Miss Marple...

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Re: JANUARY 21, AND ENTER AGATHA CHRISTIE

@Ruby Laine, @Pearlee , @Tennesseegal , @Catiele , @Etoile308 , @Nataliesgramma 

 

Your Agatha Christie stories are fascinating.  She seems to be one of those authors who brings out very personal, sometimes almost visceral reactions in her readers.  In general, I find the type of person who likes her to be almost invariably intellectually interesting!

 

I haven't seen "Knives Out",  @Tennesseegal ,  but am going to guess it's either a mystery film or TV series.  I will look it up!

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Re: JANUARY 21, AND ENTER AGATHA CHRISTIE

I think The Mirror Crack'd was based on the story of Gene Tierney's tragedy:

 

Biographers theorise that Christie used an incident in the real-life of American film star Gene Tierney as the basis of the plot of The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side. In June 1943, while pregnant with her first daughter, Tierney contracted German measles during her only appearance at the Hollywood Canteen. Due to Tierney's illness, her daughter was born deaf, partially blind with cataracts, and severely developmentally disabled.

 

The incident didn't end there-the person she contracted measles from was a girl in the service who broke quarantine to see her favorite film star. This story has always disturbed me. Horrible.