Most of my fiction contains a murder - murder most foul. As a teen I loved going to the cinema to see Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot solve Agatha Christie's murders. So, when I was recently looking for an audiobook to keep me company on a long drive, I decided to revisit Christie and downloaded And Then There Were None.
Not all Christie mysteries are created equal, this thrilling story was the best I've come across. It surprised me (and that's not easy - there's not many plots I haven't already come across before). Right to the end I kept guessing the culprit, and then re-evaluating my conclusion when that suspect would turn up dead. It was suspense at its best and brightest.
Agatha Christie was shunned by my Feminist Literature lecturer at Uni. Why? Just not literary enough - she was likened to the Mills and Boons of mystery. So what? Sometimes I want a plot. Agatha gave good plot. Her stories are told simply and her writing style does not get in the way of the story. I think this was a big lesson for me - stop trying to prove you can write well and just get on with the story. Her novels are also so well planned, they'd have to be to carry the complicated lines of suspects, victims and red herrings.
The next audiobook I listened to was The Crooked House and Christie was also masterful in her story-weaving with this one. You follow the clues and just can not guess the murderer, and yet, at the end, the culprit is the only logical choice. This is the way murder mysteries should be told.
I'm excited about rediscovering Christie and I've just downloaded her book about her story-writing for my Kindle:
Now I'm off to read and research!