Friday, April 19, 2019

A to Z: Letters to Dead Writers: Agatha Christie, Queen of Mystery

This month I'm writing one post for each letter of the alphabet, all on the theme of "Letters to Dead Writers." You can see my theme reveal post here and learn more about the blogging challenge here.

Today's writer is Agatha Christie, Queen of Mystery (I know, I'm cheating a little to use her for Q, but I don't have a favorite dead writer whose name starts with Q).

Dear Ms. Christie,

My mother gave me your books to read many years ago. I'd long been a fan of Nancy Drew, and she thought I might be ready for some more adult mysteries.

So I spent a summer working my way through your impressive catalog. I don't know if I read all 66 of your novels, but I made a good attempt! I was an equal opportunity fan, loving both Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.

I recently revisited your work when the new movie edition of Murder on the Orient Express was made. It was gorgeous, by the way--I bet you would have loved it! Even though I remembered that one well, it was still wonderful to watch the mystery unfold.

That was what I enjoyed in all your books: the chase. Not just the one on the page, but the one between me (the reader) and you (the writer). I'd try and try to guess what the twist was going to be, who the real murderer would turn out to be, or how they did it. And again and again, I'd be wrong.

But I never felt cheated. Sure, there were red herrings, but when the drawing room explanation finally came, the clues had been there all along. No information had been withheld; I just hadn't spotted the details that mattered. It was a kind of literary sleight of hand, and you were a master.

Thanks for the ride!

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