The Tuesday Night Bloggers is an international blogging club consisting of The Passing Tramp, Bev Hankins, Brad Friedman, Helen Szamuely, Jeffrey Marks Moira Redmond [that’s me, Clothes in Books] and Noah Stewart.
We are named after an Agatha Christie collection, and our first project is to do a Christie-related post every Tuesday night for six weeks. These are the links to previous entries -Curt at Passing Tramp is masterminding this, and providing a clearing house for links to the pieces at his blog, here.
She could be anyone….
This week's entry is looking at
SOME PET AGATHA CHRISTIE THEORIES IN THE BOOKS:
- An unhappy couple are better divorced. And if one party still loves the other – well, they should step aside in favour of their partner’s happiness.
- All impersonation is easy: if you dye your hair, or grow a beard*, or wear a big hat, no-one will recognize you. You can marry the same person twice without their realizing it, if you really put your mind to it.
There is no end to the mysteries of this one: fake tan, wide-legged trousers, glasses, doing your hair differently – all will change your look completely.
And who are you my dear? Do we know you?
- Every family has a young ne-er-do-well – however often you send him off to the colonies with £50, he will pop up again at the worst possible time. (Reading Christie’s autobiography, it is obvious that this is a direct report of her caddish brother Monty.)
- People get a bit depressed if they’ve had the flu, and might easily commit suicide.
- No one (and by no-one, I mean ‘none of us posh people who are in charge’) looks at the servants. No-one recognizes them, nor knows names, nor where they came from. Same applies to companions and governesses. No wonder some of them may turn to murder. Or not be who they seem to be.
* just like Downton Abbey this week, though no murders yet.
- Children have no respect for parents and no desire to please them or follow in their footsteps. They are all very dismissive of everything to do with their parents. This may be to do with Christie’s own daughter Rosalind, with whom she had a tricky (though loving) relationship – as said before on the blog, abandoning her for a year when she was a toddler to go jaunting off around the world, well that probably didn’t help matters.
- There is an occasional other trope: the hapless child who works hard to get the respect and love of an unrewarding parent.
- When challenged with a crime, in full Poirot or Marple gather-the-suspects mode, a murderer will always confess all, and explain how and why he or she did it. This despite the fact that they have just spent 100 pages going to enormous lengths to cover it up, to lie, to protect themselves. They will have merrily killed more people – accidental witnesses or blackmailers – in order to keep the secret. But just accuse them firmly enough and they will graciously admit everything.
- Mistakes and accidents by murderers aren’t as common as you think. Can’t say too much. But sometimes you have to look past the assumptions. In an entry on Patricia Wentworth’s The Silent Pool, I said this:
'The victim was killed by mistake!' is a frequent cry in murder stories generally. Let’s just say that with Christie there might be an extra step…Here’s a tip, should you ever be visiting the strange and remarkable world of Patricia Wentworth. If someone has a very distinctive piece of clothing or accessory, something brightly-coloured and obvious, on no account borrow it. You will be murdered. The experienced crime fiction reader can see it coming a mile off.
So that's my list. Part of the reason for writing this is that I am so hoping that other keen Christie fans will have their own tropes to suggest in the comments below.
The specially mysterious pictures are from blog favourite Perry Photography and used with her kind permission: you can see more of her pictures at Flickr, or at her website weddingsinitalytuscany. Her wonderful photos have featured on the blog many times before.
More Agatha Christie all over the blog, click on labels below.