Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making by John Curran

Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making by John Curran
2011, Harper

Synopsis: As he did in the Edgar(R)-nominated and Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards-winning "Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks," Christie expert and archivist John Curran once again examines the unpublished notebooks of the world's bestselling author to explore the techniques she used to surprise and entertain generations of readers.

Drawing on Christie's personal papers and letters, he reveals how more than twenty of her novels, as well as stage scripts, short stories, and some more personal items, evolved. Here are wonderful gems, including Christie's essay on her famous detective, Hercule Poirot, written for a British national newspaper in the 1930s; a previously unseen version of a "Miss Marple" short story; and a courtroom chapter from her first novel, "The Mysterious Affair at Styles," which was edited out of the published version in 1920; plus an insightful, well-reasoned analysis of her final unfinished novel, based on the author's notes and Curran's own deep knowledge of Christie and her work.

A must-read for every Christie aficionado, "Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making" is a fascinating look into the mind and craft of one of the world's most prolific and beloved authors.

Why read: Received for review from publisher

What impressed me: The highlight of the book for me was the plot ideas that Christie came up with, yet never used in her books. That's what made the book interesting and worth the read.

What disappointed me: So very dry. And obviously full of spoilers for any Christie novel I haven't read yet. Lists upon lists upon lists of characters with little variation. Vaguely interesting, but the repetitive nature of the book gets old quickly.

Recommended: Only for hardcore Agatha Christie fans.

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