Agatha Christie (1890-1976)

Agatha Christie’s long line of books started with “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” was written in 1915 and published in 1920. Her early books have a Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, as the hero, while the main character of the later books is Miss Marple, a quiet old English lady.

Agatha Christie has conquered the world; her appeal is that of a puzzle of many of her mysteries in a context of English village life. There is something deeply appealing about Christie’s stories. A career of forty-five years is remarkable in the field of the “light genre” in the 20th century English Literature. Agatha Christie reached the top of her fame in 1970, though people’s tastes were changing radically during that period of time. Thus it is possible to notice some changes in the manner and style of her mystery-writing from 1920 to the present day. The form is still of the detective story, but relatively new. It becomes more mature and sophisticated for the readers can take into consideration as many details as the detective can. Moreover, the author can skilfully combine two devices, the nursery rhyme and spiritualism, to make her stories more intricate.

Agatha Christie uses the nursery rhyme to let the reader follow the developing of the plot. The reader knows what comes next (due to the rhyme). The famous examples of such a nursery rhyme combination are “Ten Little Niggers” and “Hickory, Dickory, Dock”.

The second device, spiritualism, Agatha Christie uses as a mask for mystery. Although Agatha Christie was extremely interested in science fiction, “she avoided both science fiction and fantasy as main themes”. She remains the best writer of a tightly-knit detective story.

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