For the Love of Agatha Christie

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One of my favorite Tom Addams pieces-the back cover of  “By the Pricking of My Thumbs” 

Welcome to my new blog series!

I have been working through reading all of the Agatha Christie books (again, many years after doing so in college) and I’m going to document them here. I’d like to try to capture why her mysteries have that strange cozy elusiveness about them by looking at what was going on in her life when she wrote them as well as historical events that shaped them.

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Agatha as a child. Her expression conveys the dreamy imagination world of her mind and upbringing.

Many articles will tell you the nuts and bolts of Christie’s life, but I want to focus on her as a person, what she loved, her Victorian childhood, her ethics, and her passion for plots.

I have read them before, but forgotten most of the solutions. It’s a pleasure to read them again.

As a child, I grew up in a solid, middle class household in the 1980s. My parents were both Anglophiles and my days were spent reading. Naturally I read Christie as a child, but most of it went over my head, much like Sherlock Holmes. It wasn’t until I was bedridden for 6 weeks with a horribly broken femur when I was 20 that my abiding love of Agatha Christie books began.

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Cozy.

I was staying with my parents so my Mother could help me while my new husband went back to work. It was so boring. My Mom went to the library and brought back an armful of Christie books to give me something to do.

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The front cover of “By the Pricking of My Thumbs.”

In that stack of books was “Sleeping Murder.” This non-Hercule Poirot who-dunnit was a much more human-focused story than a lot of her early novels. It had cozy characters, a Victorian house, a little spookiness, and the perfect “mystery in an old house” storyline. I was gobsmacked. It consumed me and I began to read them all.

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This was the exact edition that I read! I found it at our local used book store.

I hope you will join me in this adventure as I read them again in chronological order and also look closely at the work of my favorite cover artist of hers and mine, Tom Addams. Along the way we’ll explore all wonderful things English and test lots of historic recipes as well!

 

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