Agatha Christie: Power and Illusion (Crime Files) by Richard York

By Richard York

How comfortable are Agatha Christie's novels? they could appear to depict a reliable global of recognize for culture, shared tradition, settled gender and sophistication roles, political conservatism and unambiguous morality, within which cause suffices to regulate illness. yet this global is threatened by means of modernity and uncertainty: battle, social mobility, extremist politics, ethical liberalization. popular electorate will be criminals, detectives are usually not completely in contrast to murderers, social existence is basically theatrical, and violence can result in concord.

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Additional info for Agatha Christie: Power and Illusion (Crime Files)

Sample text

So the reader is told that Burnaby’s reason for going to Exhampton is to check on Trevelyans’ well-being, and that having arrived at the door, he rings the bell twice since he gets no answer the first time. The first point is simply false: Burnaby had no such reason. Second, he knows well that no one is going to answer the bell, since Trevelyan is dead, and he repeats the ringing presumably to give the wrong impression to any passer-by (and to the reader). We read Christie in order to be misled; we are delighted, as Barnard says, to find that she has been fooling us throughout (1980, 55).

The first point is simply false: Burnaby had no such reason. Second, he knows well that no one is going to answer the bell, since Trevelyan is dead, and he repeats the ringing presumably to give the wrong impression to any passer-by (and to the reader). We read Christie in order to be misled; we are delighted, as Barnard says, to find that she has been fooling us throughout (1980, 55). The genre itself is an art of misleading (Porter, 1981, 33); it is a form of seduction, an art of framing lies (Sayers, 1988, 31).

The glamorous and charismatic Linnet Doyle in Death on the Nile is perceived as a theatrical star (ii), and her rival Jackie has such theatrical quality that even when she is absent people wait for her entrance (iii). Some characters are theatrical by their nature: the famous traveller Sir Rupert in They Came to Baghdad with his long hair and moustaches, hooded cloak and a general air of conspicuousness, is viewed by the heroine as a poseur (vii). Even without such deliberate playacting, there is a frequent intuition of theatricality.

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