How I discovered Agatha Christie’s biggest mystery – Susan Morrison

Novelist Agatha Christie.
Novelist Agatha Christie.
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The last book I waded through was at the behest of BBC Radio Scotland. Would I like to join the book club this month? I said yes. That’s when they hit me with it. They wanted me to read an Agatha Christie.

Now, I’ve always hated Agatha Christie books, and believe me, I have tried to read them.

I’ve always hated them on the telly, and only liked the 70s big screen versions because they basically treated Death on The Nile, Murder on the Orient Express and Murder Under the Sun as big budget comedies with spectacular scenery and a bang-up score. Oh, and they let people like Bette Davis, Diana Rigg and Maggie Smith unleash their comedy skills.

The books, however, are dreadful. They are page-turners, but only because I’ve fallen asleep onto the page and dribbled so much, I need to turn the page to find a dry spot.

The killer is nearly always some guy who had nothing to do with the action. He made a brief appearance on page 23 getting off the bus.

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The 39 people he’s bumped off once gave him a collective dirty look during the war because he wasn’t in uniform, but he was actually just on his way to sign up to avenge the death of his brother at the hands of the filthy Hun. So there.

She is the queen of the mystery novel. To me, it’s the fact that she’s a best seller that’s the mystery. Is it an English thing? And by that, I mean the Bournemouth bathchair brigade. Is that who’s buying them? I read it and, boy, did I hate it. ‘And Then There Were None’. You might have heard of it with several different other names, all of them totally unacceptable now.

They asked me if I would recommend to anyone. Yes, I said, Treeza May. She might find the modern title comforting as she watches her Cabinet slowly vanish.

And, yes, I still buy books. I have one of those Kindle doo-dahs, but there is nothing quite like going into a bookshop, picking up a book by an author you don’t know and then having that book in your bag as you settle down on the train. In addition, you really can’t hurl a Kindle to one side with an exasperated sigh with and the same explosive fury as a big solid book.

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