Fourth Tuesday Book Club
Featuring: Agatha Christie
The book club decided to do something different this month. Instead of reading one book and discussing it, we chose the author Agatha Christie and read a variety of her work. Agatha Christie was born in England in 1890. Her father, Frederick Miller, was a wealthy American. Agatha had a happy childhood, taking many trips around the world with her mother. She married Archie Christie, a pilot in World War I. Agatha contributed to the war effort by working as a nurse, gaining valuable knowledge about poisons. This proved to be very important for the future mystery writer.
Agatha wrote her first mystery (The Mysterious Affair at Styles) after her sister challenged her to write a novel. It took years to get someone to publish it. Her only daughter was born about the same time that her book was printed. Things were going well for Agatha, and then in 1926 her mother died and her husband left her for another woman. She was crushed. On a trip to the Middle East, she met Max Mallowan who she later married. They lived happily for 46 years until her death in 1976.
Agatha Christie developed a style that is easily recognized. Whether in her plays (Black Coffee and Spider’s Web) or in her novels (A Murder is Announced, Crooked House, or And Then There Were None), we frequently saw a group of diverse people, one of whom is a murderer, confined in a location, such as a library or an island. A crime (or crimes) takes place and red herrings (false clues) abound. Her many travels also provided locales for her stories (Murder on the Orient Express).
Agatha developed some of the greatest characters in fiction. If you are interested in an eccentric Belgian detective, a “tidy little man” who solves crimes using his “little gray cells of the mind,” then Hercule Poirot is your man (33 novels and 54 short stories including The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Black Coffee, and Hercule Poirot’s Christmas). If you are attracted to a quiet, English village (“There is a great deal of wickedness in village life.”) and a grandmotherly detective, Miss Marple is your choice (12 novels and 20 short stories, including Nemesis, A Murder is Announced, and The Murder at the Vicarage). Or you may choose Tommy and Tuppence Beresford (5 novels and 1 short story collection), a romantic couple that appear in The Secret Adversary and Partners in Crime. They solve mysteries using the techniques of other famous detectives.
The consensus of our club members is that Agatha Christie’s books might be very involved but that her style and writing ability make her works well worth reading. We recommend Agatha Christie and her books to all mystery fans.
Key Ideas from different club members:
One of the greatest mystery writers; Really satisfying…enjoyed solving the mystery; I love her; The book kept me guessing and in suspense until the surprise ending; Want to read more of Miss Marple; I found it scary; Excellent writing! Involved story with too many characters to follow.
The Club Members rating of this author and her books:
Kirk Baker, Linda Bowman, Pat Gombita, Mona Herrell, Pat Kuna, Juanita Sanner, Sharon Shaffer, Bill Simmons, Lynn Simmons, Helen Skalski, Deb Stewart and Linda Troll
Club’s Average Rating: Author= 4.2 of 5
Books= 3.9 of 5
Rating Range: 2 to 5