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Murder, She Wrote!

Written by Omair Alavi

With Death on the Nile in cinemas, the demand to find more about Agatha Christie increases

Synopsis

With Death on the Nile in cinemas, the demand to find more about Agatha Christie increases

There is no better time to read about Agatha Christie and her most famous detective Hercule Poirot than today. With the release of Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile in cinemas, the demand to know about Dame Agatha Christie has skyrocketed, for her life was nothing short of a mystery itself.

Two books – Little Grey Cells: The Quotable Poirot and Real Crime Casebooks: Agatha Christie – help the readers understand where Agatha Christie was coming from, and what made her the Queen of Crime, during her lifetime. While the first book is a collection of quotable quotes from Hercule Poirot’s novels and short stories, the other one revolves more around the author than her creations.

What makes Little Grey Cells – The Quotable Poirot a handy book is its size because it can be carried anywhere, be it in a car, train, or airplane. It has Poirot’s saying for every occasion, be it romantic advice, an old proverb, or a threat to one of the suspects, packaged to impress the readers. Furthermore, you will also get to read the real inspiration behind the detective who was famously played by David Suchet and is now brought to the screen by Kenneth Branagh who also directs the films.

Edited by David Brawn, these quotes are categorized in a dozen chapters with ‘The English’, ‘Symmetry & Order’, ‘Romance’, Detective Work’, and ‘The Criminal Mind’ standing out from the rest. Reading these quotes in Poirot’s traditional style will make them more enjoyable than they already are, and make you want to find out more about the person who wrote such lines.

That’s where the second book Real Crime Casebooks: Agatha Christie comes in, for it tackles everything from Agatha Christie to her creations, to the plot of her novels and her knowledge of poisons. Nearly five decades after her death, the mystery surrounding her unsolved disappearance keeps baffling her fans, and this book tries to solve it in its own style. Not only do the writers present facts that led to her infamous 11-day disappearance but also discuss the possibilities behind the rash decision, if there was any.

Real Crime Casebooks: Agatha Christie is everything an Agatha Christie fan should have in their collection, for it tells them that the writer actually took inspiration from very famous real-life cases. With the help of an impressive archive, the writers take the readers down memory lane where they give the details of the infamous Lindbergh kidnapping case as well as the O’Neill cases that were the inspirations behind the Academy Award-nominated Murder on the Orient Express and the longest-running stage play of all times, The Mousetrap.

For the uninitiated, the Lindbergh kidnapping featured the son of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh who was abducted from his home and murdered despite the ransom being paid, whereas in the O’Neill case, a couple of foster parents were found guilty of killing one of their foster children. How Agatha Christie took inspiration from both these cases to create two mysteries of her own is what this book covers in detail, and shocks the readers with the explanation.

Her fans know how she created Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and the legendary Miss Marple, but not many know that it was her experience as a nurse during the First World War that brought her close to the ‘poisons’ that became the most frequently used method of murder in her books. Don’t be surprised to know that it was because of her books that many lives were saved in the real world, including a baby from Qatar who had mistakenly swallowed a pesticide, but no London doctor was able to ascertain what was wrong with the kid.

But then there was the case of Agatha Christie Copy Cat Graham Young also known as the Tea Cup poisoner; the serial killer murdered a handful of people including his stepmother, using methods described in Agatha Christie’s novels, and was apprehended because one of the detectives had also read the same books.

There is a lot here that would entice Agatha Christie’s fans to re-read her books, for they age well despite the readers entering a different millennium than the author. Finally, if you want to know how she felt about the casting of the many Hercule Poirots and Miss Marples on TV and in films, this book will tell you everything from her observations to her family’s reaction after her death.

Omair Alavi – BOL News

About the author

Omair Alavi