So says John Lanchester. And who is John Lanchester we hear you ask? Despite writing one of the books that we have disliked most in the last 25 years, he’s a best selling author himself, generally a sensible fellow and very erudite on why Agatha Christie (Mary Clarissa Miller to her parents) has sold an estimated 2 billion books. And is still selling long after her death.
Read what Mr Lanchester thinks here.
And if, having read all about Ms Christie, you are looking for more to read as you start commuting responsibly on public transport toward the new normal, why not actually read her? Almost everything she ever wrote is still in print and you can get some previously loved versions from one of our favourite second hand bookstores, The Green Dolphin. They were also kind enough to recommend a podcast called Phoebe Reads A Mystery in which Phoebe Judge shares, in mellifluous tones, some mystery stories including a Christie classic, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Listen to it here.
We are currently enjoying it and are fairly sure we know whodunnit. You can find the podcast here. Follow the clues and buy yourself one of Ms Christie’s previously loved books from the Green Dolphin here.
Why do we think she’s still so popular? Part of what we love are her acid descriptions when she introduces people (‘…an agreeable woman of middle age, handsome in a rather untidy fashion…' with ‘a large quantity of rebellious grey hair with which she was continually experimenting…’ for example) and the fact that she doesn’t waste much time on their characterisation once these characters are introduced. It’s all about the murders. And there are plenty of them. As Mr Lanchester says, 'Christie’s great talent for fictional murder is to do with her understanding of, and complete belief in, human malignity.’ So while some of her attitudes have not aged well, at a difficult time like this, we can always read about more bad people.
As if they read our mind, The Crown Lynn and More Store has just offered this Christie bundle on their facebook page for a mere $15 including non-rural delivery. Get in quick, support second hand booksellers as the country gets back on its feet and find out why so many people still enjoy Agatha Christie!