1 post tagged britain
Guest post by Jaclyn
No literary visit to the U.K. would be complete without a cup of tea with the Queen of Crime herself, Agatha Christie. Known for complex mind twisters that keep the reader guessing until the detective’s big reveal, Christie revolutionized the detective fiction genre and is the bestselling novelist of all time (outsold only by the Bible and William Shakespeare). An Agatha Christie mystery is always a treat — an intellectual puzzle with colourful characters and beautiful locales.
Have a seat, pour yourself a cup of tea, and indulge in one of these Christie classics this summer!
Ten strangers are lured to a mysterious island, where they start getting killed off one by one. Each of the victims has a dark secret, and each murder corresponds to a verse in the nursery rhyme “Ten Little Soldiers.” It was this novel that hooked me on Agatha Christie’s works in the first place, and it remains one of my favourite mystery novels ever. It’s creepy and atmospheric, and by a certain point in the novel, you’ll be wondering if the answer may be supernatural.
Christie transports the English country house mystery into a train setting, and the Orient Express becomes such a character itself that I want to ride it someday. One of the passengers is murdered while the train is in motion, and Poirot must discover which of the other passengers is the murderer. The novel is a fascinating whodunit, and the David Suchet TV adaptation gives us the most morally conflicted Hercule Poirot I’ve ever seen.
It begins as a strange notice in a village newspaper: a murder will take place in Letitia Blacklock’s house at a certain date and time. This is a mystery that can only take place in a small town, where such an ad would inspire enough curiosity to actually show up. Why would a murderer announce his intentions, and why in a newspaper, of all places? This is one of my favourite Marples, and I love the small town atmosphere.
Poirot has always argued that psychology and his little grey cells are more potent than any examination of physical evidence, and proves his point when asked to solve an artist’s murder from sixteen years ago. He asks five suspects to recount their version of the artist’s death, as best as they can remember, and has to sift through the details and subtle differences in order to find the murderer.
An elderly lady on a train witnesses a murder through the window of a train on another track, but when the police can’t find a body, only Miss Marple believes a murder even occurred in the first place. Who is the killer, who was killed, and where is the body? The only clue is a split-second eyewitness account, and Miss Marple is “too old for any more adventures.”
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