Agatha Christie & Me

This is an introductory post for the next two Agatha Christie posts. I hope you enjoy it and this series gives you some good reading ideas.

I was a typical Christie reader for a long time as an older child and a teen. I wasn’t a picky reader and I would read whatever I could get a hold of. I remember a lot of the early Christie books were hard to understand. All the French Poirot spoke I would have my Mother translate, but he spoke it so often that I gave up badgering my poor Mother and just let it go over my head. Also, I didn’t like Poirot. He was boring. Marple was better, I liked her. But I never went past the ten or so Christies everyone thinks you should read, until…

On Christmas Eve of 2000 I was a newlywed of 6 months. We had a lovely black lab and I was out running with him when I hit black ice. In a second my life was changed. I was in the most unimaginable pain I had ever and have since been in because I had fallen and half of the joint end of my femur was sheared off and now resided under my kneecap.

Now, when a medical emergency happens you expect it to be like the TV with everyone bustling around and taking your pain away as soon as possible and helping you. This is not what happened. I should have sued the hospital for how badly I was treated. I was never offered pain medication even though I was sobbing and writhing in shear agony, even through x-rays, then I was sent home with no crutches, but with some codeine and told I probably just injured a ligament.

Two days and an orthopedic surgeon who could actually read x-rays later we learned the terrible truth and the slow machine of the medical system processed me through 1 MRI, 2 surgeries, 1 pulmonary embolism, and 4 months of agony. (I owe my life to my mother-in-law who saved me from the embolism.)

Please know that I made it out fine, but it took a lot of work, willpower and defying doctors who said “you will never walk normally again, you will never go up and down stairs again, you will never be able to stand for more than 10-15 minutes again.” There were way too many “you will nevers” and I was only 20 years old.

For almost 3 months I was bedridden. We didn’t have cable and certainly not the kind of access to movies like we have today. So I read books. LOTS of books and the first one I started my mother got for me from the library: Agatha Christie’s Sleeping Murder.

This was the exact edition I first read!

Now this mystery had Miss Marple in it, but I had never read anything like this from Agatha. I was used to the early stuff, not this wonderful human story with bits in it so real they had to be true. I was completely gobsmacked, then completely hooked.

The plot all started with a young newlywed woman who buys a house while her husband is overseas working only to discover it might be haunted, and sure does have a lot of deja-vu attached to it. And then, she remembers the murder that happened there that no one knows about…

It started there and I went searching for more Christies like this, reading every book I could get my hands on!

18 years and many forgotten endings later I wanted to read them all in order and take notes as to why I liked certain ones better than others. his project lasted until I finished it in lockdown of 2020- a little over two years. What I noticed was that I liked all the Christies the critics hated! Why? How could this be? I was finding out.
My other part to this project was collecting the Tom Adams covers I liked the most. He is one of the artists I admire and I have long enjoyed his cluedo-like covers that don’t give the story away, but inform you of what might be inside. In the next two posts I will share my favorite “unloved” Christies with you and why I enjoy them immensely!

With Mysterious Anticipation to You from Kansas Street,

-Jaime

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