It’s the first book in our Summer of Christie! We are counting down until Sophie Hannah releases Agatha Christie’s Monogram Murders.
I watched Hitchcock and read Poe, Christie and Sherlock at a young age. Weird, I know. It’s just that I was bored by books written for my “age” and I loved mysteries. I desperately tried to solve it before Poirot or Watson. I don’t recall that I ever did but I kept trying.
There was something ‘safe’ about Christie’s books. There were standard formulas, yes, but despite the content she made Murder respectably British. I was probably 10 or 11 the first time I read And Then There Were Known (Ten Little Indians). I was struck by the brutality of it. The scene with the axe still sticks with me. It’s rare in a Christie mystery that the reader sees the crime occur. It’s usually pieced together by our imagination as the characters sift through clues and witness statements.
I think that’s why this one, aside from the baffling mystery itself, is so remembered. Just like in Curtain, Christie shifts her style just a half step to the right and readers are struck.
Having read her autobiography and her travel journals one gets the sense that she had a rather sharp and wicked sense of humor. She delighted in this book in particular and it shows. One can imagine her chuckling to herself as she pounded out the pages on her typewriter.
If you’s read it before, try it again. If you never have, you must. It’s psychologically taut, scary and strange. Try to figure it out. It would make Dame Agatha happy.
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Many thanks to the Book Club Girl and William Morrow for the review copy.