Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Reasons I Love Agatha Christie

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Reasons I Love X.  I went back and forth on what to fill in the blank with and suddenly the most obvious answer hit me - Agatha Christie.  I've been a huge Agatha Christie fan for just about as long as I can remember but so often I hear people talking about never having read her and not knowing where to start.  A number of years ago I bought a PC game of And Then There Were None and the cashier at the game store stared at the cover for several minutes and finally said "Agatha Christie... I think my grandmother used to read her."  (I was maybe 26 at the time.  If you're wondering my response was a blank stare followed by "uh huh") So since I'm in no way old enough to be gamer girl's grandmother I thought I'd share the 10 reasons I love Agatha Christie.

Poirot as played by David Suchet
1.  Nothing is ever as it seems.  From Poirot's fussy mannerisms and almost comical personality which hides a devastatingly logical and brilliant brain to Miss Marple's attention to detail and rich knowledge of human nature hidden behind a rather dithery and naive old lady nothing is what it seems.  There are heiresses who aren't anything of the kind, lazy young men who actually work for the foreign office, devoted mothers who are far more devoted to control than to the children, There are harmless seeming ordinary people who are in fact just wearing a mask to cover the fact that they are in fact devious and pathological murderers.  Nothing in the world of Christie is truly what it seems.

2.  Seeing 50+ years through the eyes of one person.  From 1920 when her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles to 1973 with Postern of Fate we can see the world through Agatha's eyes.  While she doesn't talk about current events, in fact she purposely didn't mention World War II in the books that she was writing during that time, we watch the changes in attitude towards crime and other social issues over those 50 years.

3.  We get a peek into the life of an archeologist during the 30s, 40s, and 50s.  Christie's second husband was renowned archeologist Max Mallowan and it was a subject that interested her as well.  Several of her books are set in digs in Iraq and other areas.  She also wrote a memoir of her experiences called Come Tell Me How You Live that is fascinating.

4.  It's fun to pick up on her jokes.  The main one is a character named Mrs. Oliver who is a well known mystery author who has a Finnish detective.  She's very outspoken in her feelings about her detective and dealing with fans and I can just hear Agatha's voice.  It's a bit like getting a peek behind the pages.

5.  Despite how well known Agatha Christie was and is she still has her mysteries.  Shortly after she rose to fame Agatha Christie disappeared.  She was found 11 days later and no one ever was able to offer a full explanation as to what happened.  Agatha herself refused to speak of it.  There are a number of theories and books and even a Doctor Who episode.

6.  I love watching a brilliant writer experiment and evolve.  Christie turned out at least one book a year as well as countless short stories and plays.  At that pace almost everything she wrote was published which becomes fascinating to see her techniques evolve and watch her play with plot ideas or characters in short stories and full length books.  A number of her books were written to fulfill contract obligations but there are a number where I can almost feel her glee as she plays with a complicated plot.

7.  She kills hundreds of people yet none of her books make me double check the locks and jump at shadows.  I love a good thriller but sometimes it's just nice to have a clean page turning murder that is more a brain exercise than scary.

8.  The mysteries are timeless.  Sure there's the occasional attitude or word that is so impossibly dated it makes you cringe but the murders themselves are timeless.  I read a mystery by another author written in the 60s and all I could think was if they'd had google the book would have been 20 pages.  I've never felt that with Agatha.

9.  The variety is huge.  Between international spy novels, classic locked room murders, and adventure romps Agatha Christie offers a little bit of everything in the mystery genre.  Even her two primary detectives - the comical confident Poirot and the dithering reserved Miss Marple - could not be more different.

10.  They're just good mysteries.  Everything else aside her mysteries are just plain good. There are a few exceptions (let's just pretend Postern of Fate and Passenger to Frankfurt never happened) but for the most part you can't go wrong with a Christie murder.  If you're looking for some to try I highly recommend Death on the Nile, The Sleeping Murder, The Tuesday Night Murder Club, And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, and Ordeal by Innocence though there are so many great ones it is hard to narrow down the list.

Are you an Agatha Christie fan?  Who is your favorite author?


46 comments:

  1. I read a couple of her books when I was younger - I know And Then There Were None was definitely one. I actually plan to reread this year. Great list!!

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    1. And Then There Were None is such a good one! I love rereading it because I always pick up new details!

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  2. YES! I re-watched the entire Miss Marple BBC series, Partners in Crime, and the new adaptation of And Then There Were None during the last few months. So good! Agatha Christie is just the best.

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    1. Definitely! I loved And Then There Were None. I thought the newest one did such a good job with casting especially.

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  3. I've listened to some of her books on audio, and I've seen some of her plays. I've enjoyed all of the ones I've watched/listened to, but I really need to read more.

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    1. I've really enjoyed her books on audio. They're great to listen too. If you can find any radio dramas I highly recommend them.

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  4. I loved And Then There Were None, but haven't read her in a long time!

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    1. And Then There Were None is so good! It's definitely one I enjoy rereading!

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  5. That is one of my favorite Doctor Who Episodes! Love Donna and the 10th Doctor so much, and the whole Agatha Christie put was fabulous!

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    1. The 10th Doctor is my favorite too and I love Donna though some of her shoes are just too devastating.

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  6. Oh yes! Agatha Christie and her novels are gems.

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    1. Definitely! I never get tired of them.

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  7. Thanks for your Christie recommendations (and iisting some to avoid)! I recently read And Then There Were None, and want to read more of her books. The mystery of her disappearance is very interesting--will have to look for the Doctor Who episode!

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    1. I love the Doctor Who episode! It's even better if you know your Christie!

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  8. Hey! Great post! I saw you choose to go this route with this weeks TTT and was like yea, she totally would. Lol!
    Do you think Christie ever wrote about her disappearance in one of her books? Like was she confused and disoriented when she was found 11 days later? That's kind of fascinating.
    And no, I still have not read a Christie novel. How are the audio books? I feel like I'm losing at life by not having at least tried to read one of her books.

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    1. I didn't figured anyone would be too shocked! I wish she would have written about her disappearance or made allusions to it but I haven't really found any clues.

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  9. Oh I used to love her so much. I actually got back into reading more Miss Marple after watching the BBC adaption of And Then There Were None which was perfect!

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    1. I really enjoyed the And Then There Were None adaptation! I loved the casting for Lombard especially.

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    2. Oh gosh yes, he could have done the whole thing shirtless and I would have been content with that lol.

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  10. "gamer girl" lol- that's funny. I'm one of those agatha Christie newbies, I remember as a kid even seeing the Queen of Mystery and thinking I should read those, but never did. I had no idea about her archaeologist connections (archaeology + mystery sounds like a win) and even a Dr. Who episode? Interesting. Anyway I'm determined to try one and I'm thinking maybe Death on the Nile. I was going to do And Then There Were None but I watched the recent show and now I'm spoiled. :(

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    1. Death on the Nile is a good one and I think you'd enjoy The Murder of Roger Ackroyd or Orient Express. I think you'd like how she plots them out.

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  11. Aaah!!! This is best post ever! Loved it. Congratulations, this is excellent. Lots of love and with immense gratefulness, Also-Love-AC.

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    1. Thanks! I had such a good time with this one!

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  12. I still have never read Agatha Christie. I got a bunch of her books at a yard sale or something in high school but then a friend was really into her and I gave them to him and never read them myself. I have to remedy that!

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    1. You really should! I'd be curious to see what you thought of her mysteries.

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  13. My husband adores Agatha Christie but I've never understood what he saw in her until now. Number one on your list is especially helpful in explaining his obsession.

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    1. I'm glad to have helped! I've loved Agatha for years but I think a lot of people question why I enjoy her books so much.

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  14. What a wonderful idea to use Agatha Christie fr this link-up. I've loved her for the past - well, almost 50 years. She was one of the first adult authors I read as a young teenager.

    Her mysteries are timeless. (Just out of curiousity, who was the author you read whose story would have been deflated by Google? I found S.S. Van Dine's Philo Vance stories were like that, although they were written in the '30s.)

    And, yes, Passenger to Frankfurt was awful - I could not finish it. And Postern of Fate I slogged through only because I needed it for a reading challenge. It was awful too.

    Great list!

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    1. It was a Catherine Aird book called Henrietta Who? I enjoy Aird's books in general and did like that one but it was definitely one that wouldn't have been written in recent years. Postern of Fate makes no sense as much ask wish it did and I definitely understand why you didn't finish Passenger to Frankfurt!

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  15. What an excellent list! I've only read a few of her books, but have plans to read many more.

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    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy more of her mysteries soon!

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  16. When I see TTT prompts like this I start guessing in my head what people are going to post and when I thought of you I said to myself, cookbooks or Agatha Christie! This post is really well done. You almost made me want to read one and that is saying something. :D

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    1. LOL! This probably wasn't a real shocking topic for me to pick. I'm glad you enjoyed the list! Maybe one day you'll cave and try one and enjoy it more than you expected!

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  17. Every time you talk about Christie I keep saying I am going to read her, but I haven't yet...lol. I have her first book and I have And Then There Was None (I also played that PC game...lol.) I have watched all the Miss Marple and some Poirot (But his mustache bugs me...lol), so I really need to try reading her! :)

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    1. Wasn't that PC game great! There was a Murder on the Orient Express game too but And Then There Were None game was the best. Read her! I think you'd enjoy a number of them.

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  18. Yes..I have read all of the books and my hubby and I love watching Miss Marple and Poirot on BBC and of course any movie adaption. As a teen her books were magical to me :)

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    1. I love the Poirot BBC shows especially. David Suchet just is Poirot!

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  19. What a beautiful way to view her books: 50+ years through one person's eyes. I think I'll approach her books differently because of this reason alone. Great list!

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    1. Thanks! It really is interesting to watch trends and attitudes change in the background of her mysteries!

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  20. I really need to read more Agatha Christie - i have loved the books by her that I've read so far! My TTT

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  21. What an excellent pick for the topic! I love how you broke down your reasons. I think her two most well-known books are And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express, both of which I read in high school for required readings. In the fall I listened to Murder at the Vicarage on audio. I could definitely tell the difference in her writing.

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  22. One of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who is the one in which Agatha Christie appears. :-) I love this list, Katherine. I need to set aside time to revisit Agatha Christie's work.

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  23. Such a great post!! I love how passionate you are and it definitely makes me want to grab some Christie books. I've only read And Then There Were None, but you've definitely got me wanting to pick up more by her. And wow--didn't know that she had a bit of a disappearance!

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  24. I've never read Christie but her books were always around. My grandparents and my mom were/are avid readers and hers were a family favorite. There's a complete set at my grandmom's beach condo. One day I'll have to dive into them. I wasn't a reader until after college and was already out of the house at that point. Man all those years of missed reading!

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  25. I'm obsessed about that time she disappeared from her own life, I love that she left a mystery for us all to speculate about forever! I totally agree with all your reasons but especially your last one 'they are just good mysteries' that's what keeps me coming back time and time again. Another reason I love her is that I have so many still to read, it gives me a comforting feeling to know I have so many still to read!

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