Wednesday, 3 April 2013
Enjoying Agatha Christie At The Moment
The first message here is for Alex in Leeds. I died 33% of the way through The Wings of the Dove by Henry James. I was going really well when the first couple of books were about Kate and the young man she loved but then new characters and lots of waffle hit me hard and I truly couldn't bear any more. So I am told if I am to read Henry James I should stick with his Turn of the Screw or Washington Square. I read What Maisie Knew for our book group a year or so ago and was fairly neutral about it. I am sure I have the Penguin versions of his other books so maybe another time I will give them a try..
Instead, I switched on my Kindle and saw the list of Agatha Christie books I have. My mother was a big Agatha Christie fan when I was growing up. She had the entire set of her books in paperback once upon a time but when she moved house quite awhile ago she got rid of all of them. I still had not experienced her until one month in a previous book club I belonged to we each chose one and discussed it. I enjoyed the book but now don't remember the title.
I have just completed A Caribbean Mystery which I enjoyed quite a bit. Miss Marple on holiday in the warm sunshine of the Caribbean was just what I needed. My good friend has an aunt who was raised in England and now lives in Melbourne. I was at my friend's house last weekend while her aunt was visiting her here in Tasmania. I told her I was reading Agatha Christie and we had a fun discussion about her. She is now approaching age 80 and has fond memories of reading Agatha when she lived in England and since. She told me she always reads the first chapter and then the last chapter. I must have had a funny look on my face because she went on to explain that Agatha Christie's clues are scattered throughout the book and she always wants to know who the killer is up front so she can enjoy the inter-weaving of all of the clues. She gets more enjoyment from her writing style of following the clues and recognising at the time they are clues than to actually try to work out who did it.
I finished A Caribbean Mystery which I enjoyed very much and it never dawned on me who committed the murder. Generally I am pretty good at working these things out but was completely delighted when she stumped me and then I thought.......(slap hand to forehead)...I should have seen that. So much fun. I am now about 83% (love Kindle's percentages at bottom of the page) through the second Miss Marple book, The 4:50 from Paddington. Love the concept of being on a train, riding around a sweeping bend as another train overtakes the train we're all in and can see a woman being throttled as the faster train flies by. So the chapter begins with a woman turning blue as she is strangled while Mrs. McGillicuddy observes the murder and of course tells her friend Jane Marple. I thought how on earth does one even begin solving this crime?
Having coffee today with another good friend I mentioned I was reading Miss Marple and I how "gentle" the murders are. Next to a blood and guts James Patterson or Jo Nesbo, the Agatha Christie mysteries really are about the ongoing perseveration of Miss Marple, never giving up and she solves the crime yet again. Much like Midsommer Murders, I wouldn't want to live near Miss Marple. People are always getting killed.
I am enjoying these tales and they all lie ahead of me as new books to me. I plan on taking my Kindle with me camping and will continue reading her in my tent over the next two nights. We tend to go to our tents as soon as it becomes dark and our days are now quite short. By Sunday night we will be on very short days as we change our clocks back an hour. So stay tuned for the photos and a possible new Penguin book or two from our camping/Penguin hunting trip. Hopefully we won't have icicles on our bikes when we wake up in the mornings. Until then...