My interest was piqued however by the publication of a new book: A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie. More often than not death by poison was Christie’s murder of choice. She had developed an interest and knowledge of poisons by working in pharmacies in both World Wars, and the author Kathryn Harkup, a chemist herself, was impressed with Christie’s knowledge and ability to use the chemical properties of these poisons as clues to the discovery of the murderer.
Each chapter takes a different novel and investigates the poison that the murderer used. Harkup examines the way the poisons interact, how they could be detected and administered, and apparently this is as relevent now as it was at the time of writing the book – which could be a little bit worrying!
Another interesting gem is The Grand Tour: Letters and Photographs from the British Empire Expedition. This is the account of a 10-month trip that Christie took with her husband around the world, visiting such exotic locations as South Africa, Australia, Canada, Hawaii and New Zealand! Christie kept up a detailed weekly correspondance to her mother of her travels, and her grandson has edited these along with her extensive photograph collection detailing her fascination with exotic plot locations that became a feature of her books.
Where do you sit on the Christie spectrum? Are you a fan or are you in the minority with me?