Friday, 16 November 2007

Girl Friday: Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie (1890 - 1976) is the biggest-selling author other than Shakespeare and the authors of the Bible. 2 billion copies of her books have been sold, half of those in English, and half translated into other languages.

She didn't put a huge amount of description or emotion into her writing. The important thing about her books is the structure. A lot of them are based on Nursery Rhymes, for example.

Who else could write a book set on an island which no-one can get onto or leave, and where, one by one, everyone dies, but even after the last person is dead you are still left wondering which of them was the killer?

I'm referring to her book "And Then There Were None", which was the first of hers I read as a teenager, and again recently (in Greek translation this time). I can't go into too much detail about any of her stories, since it's important not to spoil the mystery for anyone who might want to read them.

I finished "Endless Night" recently, and whilst reading it tried to think of the least likely murderers, and who it might be. But even though I've read plenty of her books, I had not even considered the actual villain! She had me again, hook line and sinker.

She was an expert in poisons, having worked in a pharmacy, so a lot of her victims are killed that way. She created several famous characters, one of whom will make an appearance on this blog before too long.

So, there's a reason that she's notched up 2 billion sales. Her books are fantastic.

14 comments:

Ingrid said...

I grew up reading Agatha Christie's book in Spanish translation. I loved them. My two favorite are The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Curtain. I am partial to Poirot. I like Miss Marple too. Not so much the others.

Jean Knee said...

I have never read an Agatha Christie book before. If I manage to kick this agoraphobia and get to the library I will try one out.

are there cliff notes?

Jean Knee said...

you should read a confederacy of dunces cuz it's kick ass funny

Bee said...

I just wiki'd both books and they look interesting.

That's all I got.
I'm sleepy and if not for me getting paid today I would have stayed home.

Brian o Vretanos said...

Ingrid:

Poirot's my favourite too. I don't imagine that the Tommy and Tuppence novels would translate well - the characters are pretty annoying in the English version (they were wartime stories).

I'm lucky I've not got a good memory, so I can read them again after a few years.

Next on my list is "Elephants Remember", a Poirot one I've not read before.

Brian o Vretanos said...

Jean Knee:

They're worth a look - they aren't long, don't have pages and pages of description or insights into the human condition - just death and mystery.

We don't have "Cliffs Notes" here, but I had a look on their website, and couldn't find anything.

If you don't want to read the books, then watch some of the films. "Murder on the Orient Express" is wonderful - they used to always show that at Halloween here. "Death on the Nile" is another classic. I don't think you lose much watching the films instead of reading the books.

COD:

I may do - I don't know if I'd understand the cultural references - I had a bad enough time watching "The Big Easy"...

Brian o Vretanos said...

Bee:

You have a sleep - we'll whisper...

Bee said...

Me sleeping at work:
I'd still be more productive than the people I share this office with.

I get to leave a 3 today since I don't have to meet with OZ.
YIPEEEE!

Brian o Vretanos said...

Bee:

Part-timer ;-)

Not that I can talk - I did have the afternoon off.

Jean Knee said...

I was jokin bout the cliff notes

COD it's nothing like the big easy, it's funny on many different levels so there's something funny for everyone

I keep reading it over and over because it is here on my book shelf

AC- love death so I'll give it a whirl

bee-WAKE UP LOLLYGAGGER!!!!

Bee said...

NOT SO LOUD!!

Brian o Vretanos said...

Jean Knee:

Cliff Notes: I had to look it up, as I didn't know what you meant.

COD: Right, I'll have a look. As you're probably gathering by now, I don't like reading anything that's too challenging.

Ingrid said...

If wish I could have stayed home. I just got back from work. All day I kept thinking f curling up with a cup of cocoa and a book. I'm like you, Brian, I forget the details. I have reread many of these novels over the years and I always forget stuff.

Brian o Vretanos said...

Ingrid:

This work thing is a pain, especially on a Friday...