Agatha Christie: a woman not to be messed with

It is the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie‘s birth. I have never been a huge fan, but I must be in the minority as her books both in print and eBook format continue to be popular.

Cover of A is for ArsenicMy 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!

Cover of The Grand TourAnother 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?


3 thoughts on “Agatha Christie: a woman not to be messed with

  1. Vanessaccl 15 September 2015 / 9:56 am

    I have to admit I am a fan, nothwithstanding the shortcomings of much of her writing.
    Agatha Christie’s novels were some of the first crime novels I ever read and when I came to NZ, I remember going to the Central Library and borrowing some from the P collection – in those days there was the P collection of popular fiction, which you had to pay for, and the S collection which was free. (I always wondered what S stood for…)
    Now, I find revisiting the exploits of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple a comfort read.

  2. Ernie 2 November 2015 / 9:55 am

    I am, and have always been a fan of Agatha Christie. Of note, her novels have been more widely translated than the Bible, and she holds the Guinness Book of Records for most popular novelist. I loved “A is for Arsenic”, which was not only a well-researched, detailed book on the fascinating subject of poison, but also gave us an insight into Agatha’s own early career as an Apothecary’s Assistant (Dispensary Technician). Although I love the 21st century full-on no-holds-barred murder mystery/thriller/horror writing that is prevalent today, there is still something magical about the workings of Hercule Poirot’s little grey cells, and the clattering of Miss Marple’s knitting needles as they work to solve the crimes. Good fun murders !

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