[Heroine and narrator Anne Beddingfeld is alone in the world and hoping something both good AND exciting will happen to her. This is how she prepares:]
I wound a black garment tightly round me, leaving my arms and shoulders bare. Then I brushed back my hair and pulled it well down over my ears again. I put a lot of powder on my face, to that the skin seemed even whiter than usual. I fished about until I found some old lip-salve, and I put oceans of it on my lips. Then I did under my eyes with burnt cork. Finally I draped a red ribbon over my bare shoulder, stuck a scarlet feather in my hair, and placed a cigarette in one corner of my mouth. The whole effect pleased me very much.
“Anna the Adventuress,” I said aloud, nodding at my reflection. “Anna the Adventuress. Episode 1, ‘the House in Kensington’.
Girls are foolish things.
commentary: This follows on from Sunday’s entry about the E Phillips Oppenheim book called Anna the Adventuress. Surely Christie had seen the 1920 silent film, and maybe read the book too?
I love Anne: she is my favourite of the Christie women, and I will have no nonsense from my good blogging friends Kate at Cross-Examining Crime and Brad at Ah Sweet Mystery – Brad, let me tell you, the ‘mystery’ is how you and Kate can refuse to be seduced by the charms of this book.
Anne is a joyous flapper, and has interesting hats. She envies
Emily, our little servant, who ’walked out’ whenever occasion offered with a large sailor to whom she was affianced. In between times. ‘to keep her hand in’, as she expressed it, she walked out with the greengrocer’s young man, and the chemist’s assistant.Poor Anne has no-one to ‘keep my hand in’ with. But don’t worry! She will find romance and adventure.
There is a great plot, the book is very funny, and it has a very clever element to it which I can’t mention.
I have described before how my father offended the 13-year-old me by saying this book was ‘A bit Peg’s Paper’ (I am surrounded by disloyalty, it just prepared me for Brad and Kate). Someone asked me then what Peg’s Paper was, and I found this splendid picture
Which I think tells you all you need to know.
And I think it’s fair to say that nowadays I will gladly embrace the Peg’s Paper side of this book…
The b/w photograph is of Evelyn Nesbit Thaw, an intriguing character, was taken in 1920, is from the Wilson Centre for Photography, and can be found on Flickr.
Lady in strapless dress from Kristine’s website.
Agatha Christie all over the blog. Man in the Brown suit, multiple entries. Click on the labels below.