"While we are reading, we are all Don Quixote." ~ Mason Cooley

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

An Oldie, But a Goodie!

Every now and then I want a simple, straightforward, old-fashioned mystery.  No psychological twists and turns. No blood and gore.  No complicated plot.  No need to look up a word or try to infer the meaning of a foreign phrase.  In short, an Agatha Christie novel.

0ver the years I have read every Hercule Poirot novel, and once the  PBS TV series was aired, I read them again, now able to visualize that wonderful actor, David Suchet, who brought every idiosyncratic Poirot mannerism to life.

For some reason, however, I have not read many of the Miss Jane Marple series.. This past weekend I renewed acquaintances with the somewhat eccentric spinster who comes from the little village of St. Mary Mead and is initially perceived as just a sweet little old lady, everyone's maiden aunt.   A sweet little old lady whose keen powers of observation, and understanding and basic distrust of human nature make her a most unlikely detective. A shrewd and dogged detective.

A Pocket Full of Rye, one of the seven using a nursery rhyme theme, is vintage Agatha Christie. Plenty of singular British characters, a murder to be solved (in this novel there are three, no less), sufficient clues to test the readers sleuthing skills without resorting to frivolous red herrings, an intelligent vocabulary, reasonable dialogue and a conclusion that is logical and congruent.  The comfort food of mysteries.

Recently PBS aired a documentary about three researchers who attempted to analyze Agatha Christie's prolific body of work - 66 novels and 14 short story collections.  Any Christie fan would find it interesting.  In the meantime, Wikipedia does a good job of presenting some of the same information.

Although I've given up my one time summer goal of reading the entire Christie library, I did enjoy A Pocket Full of Rye.  I think I'll spend some time becoming better acquainted with the old gal.

No comments:

Post a Comment