Books · Witterings

Queen of Crime

Agatha Christie is known as the Queen of Crime. Not something I would dispute from her output of novels, plays and short stories. Today would have been her 120th birthday. There is plenty going on to celebrate this fact, and I am sure many others will have written about such an event but I thought I would put my slant on it all.

Google have kindly done one of their Google Doodles to celebrate the event. I love this, every time I look at it, I see a bit more and relate it to the books and characters.

There is a Christie Week run every year around September by and this is a good site to start out when wanting to find out about all things Christie. They (according to their newsletter, of which I am a subscriber) have a competition to win every copy published of her books in your own chosen language.  What a prize that would be!

ITV3 in the UK, are running a Christie Weekend as well to tie in with this and also their People’s Detective Award. Nothing new really because every day I am sure there is a Poirot showing and a few Marples now and again. Then ITV3 show a lot of crime dramas and a number of them are based on books originally. Sometimes we seem to forget that.

So what do I like about her majesty Agatha Christie. Hard to say really, I was brought up on them I suppose, my mum was given a number of her friends old copies when they books were 2/6 and she read a number of these whilst pregnant with me. Then as I grew up, we watched them on the television, and as I have got older, I have started reading the novels as well. Mainly to see how true they were to the books.

There is something devilish about the books, and having read only a few I can see their mass appeal but I can also see why they have lasted so long. My mum calls them ‘nice murders’ (although there is no such thing of which I and my mum are fully aware). More to mean they are not books full of blood and violence that adorn some books and our television screens. We have an in joke between ourselves, about trying to remember who done it when we know a repeat is going to be shown on television. Another theory we apply to such TV adaptations which I will not share for fear of spoiling things for others, but needless to say the recent adaptation of The Three Act Tragedy had me phoning at the point when I knew who must have done it (it was pretty early on). I love the fact that I can share all this with my mum.

Also what a difference her two main protagonist detectives are, the Belgian with his little grey cells, excellently portrayed by David Suchet and then in complete contrast Miss Jane Marple, a little old lady seemingly so innocent but with a sharp brain (and knitting needles no doubt).

Here is where I am unsure of which is my favourite Jane Marple on-screen. With out a doubt it has to be Joan Hickson, and I wish they would repeat these on the television at sometime. I cannot stand anyone American in the role – that just seems wrong. I like Geraldine McEwan she definitely had something of the devil in her, which came across in some of the books for me. The jury is still out on Julia McKenzie, very good but so different again, perhaps I have not got used to her. I can watch these (and Poirot – David Suchet of course) again and again even knowing who done it.  My only wish in terms of completeness is that David Suchet gets to film the remainder of the novels left.

I have reviewed three of her books after having seen the TV adaptations, I will put a link to these and let you fair readers do your detective work if you so wish and if you find anything out about Agatha Christie do let me know.

Towards Zero – I wrote this keeping as a comparison between how they put Miss Marple into a non Miss Marple book which is what happened in the 2008 TV adaptation.

The Sittaford Mystery – again like Towards Zero, this is having read the book and having watched the TV adaptation, knowing that Miss Marple was not in the story originally.

Ordeal by Innocence – based on having seen the TV version first. Again not a Miss Marple book.

Finally, I do recommend John Curran’s Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks. If you are a big fan this gives you a good insight to the factory that was the Queen of Crime.