Saturday, March 24, 2007

More Christie

The latest I've read: Sparkling Cyanide, Murder in Three Acts, and The Moving Finger. I agree with K that the books are pretty disposable for the most part, but the ones that are really cleverly put together (like The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Lord Edgware Dies, and now Murder in Three Acts) make you want to re-read them. But there's not a whole lot to say about them really.

In two of these most recent ones, Poirot and Miss Marple make only cameo appearances; they sort of pop up at the end to solve the mystery. It's a little jarring. And The Moving Finger is the first Miss Marple I've read, so I still have no idea what she's about. She's just this elderly, wise, eccentric person in the background.

The reason I'm reading all of these, in case I hadn't mentioned, is that my friend Queen M lent me a giant bag of them on St. Patrick's Day. I'm almost done with the bag; then what can I do? I guess look back to see which ones you all have recommended, and read those.


Blogger Beth said...

My favorite Miss Marples are The Mirror Crack'd, At Bertram's Hotel, and Nemesis, in that order, although I also like her last one: Sleeping Murder. (It was published posthumously but written much earlier.) If you want to get Miss Marple, though, you should start with The Body in the Library, which is the first one.

I was a crazy Agatha Christie fan from sixth grade well into adulthood. I've read them all so many times that the shine has really worn off, and I was about to get rid of my collection of paperbacks (I own them all) when it occurred to me that they really are awesome books for a kid who reads a lot. Not only do they teach you every mystery plot ever so that you can grow up to spoil movies for all of your friends just by guessing what is going to happen, she throws in so many off-hand literary references (especially in the Miss Marple stories) that you wind up feeling dumb unless you go read that stuff. Sleeping Murder made me go read The Duchess of Malfi, and The Mirror Crack'd makes you all excited when you get to Tennyson.

(On the spoiling thing: you will now find it happening to you ALL THE TIME. "Witness for the Prosecution" has probably spoiled the most things for me -- including a whole season of General Hospital because I totally knew who the Brownstone Murderer was before anyone else in my family did -- but Roger Ackroyd also spoiled that movie about Denzel Washington and the devil. (It's not the same twist, but reading that one at an impressionable age makes you never trust a narrator.)

10:10 AM  
Blogger mo pie said...

They do get kind of repetitive after a while, I'm finding. I have to update--I've read like five more since I posted this. This is why "read X books a year" is meaningless. It's taken me three months to read 150 pages of Finnegans Wake and I can read two of these a day!

Still haven't read any of the Marples yet. I'll start with The Body in the Library, when I get around to it... or when my friend Queen M gives me another bag of books. The Poirot ones I am reading now are all out of order. I just finished Curtain and am now reading the Affair at Styles.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Oh, they are totally repetitive. And I will warn you that you will probably kind of hate The Body in the Library, or at least you will hate Miss Marple in it, but you are supposed to. She didn't try to make her loveable until later (and she is never very loveable ... the point of Miss M. is that she is very smart and thinks the worst of everybody).

They are handy books for any time when you are too stressed out to think very much (which is why I read them all during my bar review).

7:50 AM  
Anonymous carrie d said...

I am a complete stranger lurker, but I had to comment, because I am in the middle of a crazy mystery re-reading phase(my Christie experience is exactly like Beth describes), and wierdly, those were three of the five Christies that I just re-read. It was so strange seeing them listed like that in your blog that I am now prompted to put aside the P.D. James I have been re-reading and go read Lord Edgeware Dies and Hallowe'en Party. Even though Hallowe'en Party. totally is lame, in the way that the later trying to be hip to the 60's culture Christie novels tend to be. Anyway, I just blogged about these in my book list, found in the "Library" section of my blog (not, as you pointed out, that there is anything so meaningful and interesting to say about them), and your post caught my eye! I do enjoy reading this and your other blog quite a bit!

2:17 PM  
Blogger K said...

There was a Christie night on ITV on Sunday in the UK, and I watched a programme about her and also about the making of the Poirot TV series. Which made me feel that I can't have read the best Christies, and maybe I should actually read some of the ones you mention as particularly good, rather than just the ones my aunt happens to own.

(My grandparents once entered a fancy dress competition as Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. Sadly, they didn't win. I think Granny is probably insufficiently dowdy.)

3:13 PM  
Blogger mo pie said...

Cool, I can go read your Christie reviews! Hooray!

12:30 PM  

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