Saturday, September 12, 2009
Agatha Christie Week
Agatha Christie Week runs from the 13th to the 20th of September and is a celebration of this extraordinary writer.
So how does a fledgling crime writer, with three publications to her name pay tribute to a legend of crime fiction with over a hundred?
She does so with a smile.
Because that is what I noticed when ever I talked to people in the past week about Agatha Christie and her writings, they all smiled. And not just any old smile, it was always that full on, crinkle around the eyes, gazing off into the middle distance, reminiscing kind of a smile. It was a smile of fondness and warmth. They professed to having read many of Agatha Christie's books. There were the Hercule Poirot fans, and those who preferred Miss Marple, and those who happily read any of her mysteries. A love of the drama of it all was a common theme among those I quizzed, the drama and the very Britishness of the scenes. But wouldn't that become a little tedious I asked? No! always the emphatic reply.
I confess to having not read many of Christie's novels, but despite this, I feel her presence has made a marked impact on my writing and my perception of what good crime fiction is. When I think of Agatha Christie's work, I think of fabulous characterisation and intricate and clever plots. But most of all I think of them as being great crime fiction stories.
For me it was the dramatisations of her work that were my adolescent staples. In fact, as a prelude to writing this tribute I took a trip down memory lane aboard The Orient Express - the version with Albert Finney. And again, I found myself smiling - at the caricature that is Poirot, at the upper class theatrics, the romance of steam travel, and of course, at the plot.
Perhaps what is the biggest nod to the worth of Christie's writing is its longevity. More than thirty years since her death she is still high in the public consciousness, her novels are still being read, film and television adaptations stll playing, and the announcement of a new publication about her, Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks, creating a buzz.
In another lovely nod to her writing abilities Agatha Christie won two prestigious awards at the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention in 2000. She was voted as the Best Writer of the Century, and was awarded the Best Series of the Century for her Hercule Poirot books.
Agatha Christie still has a huge number of fans and devoted Agathaphiles. She is blogged about, and thanks to our Agatha Christie Reading Challenge hostess has a regular Blog Carnival in her name. Her writing entertains as much today, as it did in her Queen of Crime hey-day.
So this newbie crime fiction writer doffs her hat to Agatha Christie, truly a great writer.