Monday, November 8, 2010

Agatha Christie as a Font of Inspiration




Wow, a little more than two months. What's been happening? Considering illustrations and where to place them for one thing. And going back to the source, for another. I found these cheapo paperbacks at The Brown Elephant shop in my neighborhood. These are the covers I remember from my Middle School reading days, and very hard to differentiate from the spy novels of the time. While they're not exactly dripping with Jazz Age imagery, the cover paintings have a charm of their own. What exactly, for example, a luger is doing on the cover of a novel where murder is committed with a stileto is beyond me.
As always, the First Lady of Crime can always turn a phrase. Right now I'm reading Cards on the Table.
The Superintendent muttered something under his breath and scribbled on his pad. His wooden calm was shaken. Mrs. Oliver sat enjoying her triumph. It was a moment of great sweetness to her.
Mrs. Ariadne Oliver is a barely-concealed caricature of Christie herself, "extremely well known as one of the foremost writers of detective and other sensational stories", as she is introduced in the book. Not above a little fun at her own expense, our Agatha.
The Secret of Chimneys is notable for the fact that the main detective in the book is Inspector Battle, usually used as a standard Scotland Yard foil to Poirot.