Podcast, Spoilers, Christie and us – no 4: Cards on the Table




We are making stately progress. JJ from Invisible Event masterminds, Brad Friedman from Ah Sweet Mystery and I read the book and turn up, and together the three of us are looking at Agatha Christie’s works, one book at a time, in spoiler-heavy detail. And this time we are doing Cards on the Table from 1936.

You can find the latest Spoiler Warning podcast


over on Invisible Event here


or wherever you get your podcasts (people always say that, so I assume it’s true).

There is conflict and excitement (in podcast or book? you judge) and we discuss the plot in detail - the spoiler clue is in the name.

Why would a crime story with few suspects and depending largely on a card game be so good? Two of us think so, and one doesn’t…

And if you’ve ever idly wondered about the game of bridge, and its relevance to the Cards on the Table, we have an explanation of the game and how it affects the plot of the book.

More? A discussion of the TV adaptation, and also such Clothes in Books/Christie favourites as silk stockings, lounging pyjamas, and hat paint as a means of death.

And the obligatory clothes details: Anne wears embroidered crepe de chine pyjamas – so this is not quite, but it is Louise Brooks in 1929, so no further defence needed (and a sly look that suits…). 


Meanwhile Rhoda is wearing an orange cretonne dress, and this is unusual, because cretonne is basically a furnishing fabric, heavy cotton used for curtains, cushions and chair coverings. Of course anything can be used to make clothes (think Scarlett O’Hara and the curtains) – and there is a cretonne beach robe in this blog entry on a 1940s book – but 1930s fashions tend to be silky and flowing rather than stiff and unyielding as cretonne would be. And this is for informal daytime wear. Linen would be more likely.

Also, Ariadne Oliver (Agatha Christie’s alter ego character in the book) wears ‘one of the new horsy hats’, as opposed to her country hat earlier in the book, and I haven’t really been able to find out if that was a thing. I found one reference to horsey hats, but that was in 1909, and they were for men. They don’t seem to exist outside this book. Lucy Fisher may know… There was a similar problem with the ‘new collegian hats’ in my post on Death in the Clouds – was Agatha just good at making up millinery taglines?

Enjoy the podcast, and you can get ahead for the next one: it will be on that great favourite A Murder is Announced.


Comments

  1. https://vintagedancer.com/1930s/womens-1930s-hat-styles/ Jockey caps, collegian hats - and caps!

    I imagine a "horsey hat" is something like a jockey cap. I don't think they were all as frumpy as the one that looks like a tennis visor. Collegian hats - a beret type hat like the Tudor caps worn by students, perhaps with four corners. Some definite caps here. Soft shape with no brim.

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    1. Thanks, what a fabulous webpage. I fancy an Empress Eugenie hat.

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  2. I imagine Rhoda's dress as a floral shirtwaister with puffed sleeves - practical and unglamorous and probably cheap.

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    1. .... and looking like it should be covering a nice chair?

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  3. You are the perfect group to discuss this book, Moira! From bridge to hats to the plotline, to..... You are the Christie champions. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. Thanks Margot, we really enjoyed doing it, there's no stopping us now!

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  4. Not one I've heard of before, but then she's not my chosen Mastermind subject.

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    1. There's a lot to choose from, you'll have to start sometime

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  5. As a devotee of Saki, you will recall the Canon in Saki who

    "Drinks like a fish and beats his wife, otherwise a very lovable character,...
    "One must in justice admit that there is some provocation," continued the romancer. "Mrs. Teep is quite the most irritating bridge-player that I have ever sat down with; her leads and declarations would condone a certain amount of brutality in her partner, but to souse her with the contents of the only soda-water syphon in the house on a Sunday afternoon, when one couldn't get another, argues an indifference to the comfort of others which I cannot altogether overlook. You may think me hasty in my judgments, but it was practically on account of the syphon incident that I left."

    I have seen similar incidents on the bridge-table. Definitely a game to play online.

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    1. Yes indeed. You would assign that to Saki sight unseen. And bridge will always bring out bad tempered responses.

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