2006-11-12 01:14 pm (UTC)
It's a long time since I've read Christie. I read a fair bit of detective fiction, and right now I'm wading through The lighthouse by PD James, and am finding it surprisingly heavy going. Maybe James is past it, and losing her touch, or I'm just not in the mood for whodunits at the moment. I suppose part of it must be the inability to suspend disbelief. Dalgliesh is far to be hold to be having a girlfriend he's thinking of marrying. He must be pushing 80 himself. And coming after A short history of tractors in Ukraininan, it seems that is a more likely scenario than Dalgliesh.
But that's not Christie, who I don't think goes into the private lives of her detective heroes.
2006-11-12 02:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Detective fiction
I think it's a big mistake for fictional detectives to have private lives. It very much distracts from the business in hand.
The problem with too many detective writers is they want to transform the genre and raise it to the heights of literachur. P.D. James is a prime offender- following in the footsteps of Dorothy L. Sayers. My experience is that the more literary a detective novel becomes the more insufferable it is.
Christie is never literary in the way James and Sayers aspire to be, but she's a finer artist than either of them. She accepts the limitations of the genre and plays with them like the virtuoso she is.
Poirot first appears- as a middle-aged man- in 1916 and is still chipper in 1973, by which stage he must be about 100. His death- in a novel written out of sequence and published in 1975- seems to have occured around 1946.
2006-11-12 11:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Detective fiction
Most whodunits these days seem to go into the private lives of the detectives.
2006-11-13 11:09 am (UTC)
Re: Detective fiction
I don't read contemporary detective fiction. Well, hardly at all. I don't want my detectives to have girlfriends and drink problems and inner demons; I just want them to do some detecting.
I love Christie. And I agree.
I read a couple of her books in my teens and found them dull. I now believe it was because she was just too subtle for me.
I went from Nancy Drew directly to Christie and Conan Doyle and never stopped. I'm still trying to find Christies I haven't read yet. (I should have kept track!)
I started with G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown stories. I read them all when I was 10-11.
An early favourite of mine was John Dickson Carr- master of the locked room mystery. He seems to be all but forgotten now.
Neither is forgotten by me, although I haven't read *much* of either, either. (Hrm. I pronounce those last two "either"s differently. Do you?)
You know, I believe I do....
It´s been a while since I´ve had a good dose of Christie. Manolo reads everything of hers he can get his hands on as long as he can get the books in English. She is also very popular translated into Spanish but my picky translator´s mind hasn´t found an adequate version yet and he prefers original versions whenever possible.
I do think I had to grow into her, also. My dad would often get her books from the library and I´d pick up one or another now and then and think "boring". In later years I began seeing what a mistress of precision she was with words when I started working with them myself.
I've come to Christie through the TV movies. I didn't think I'd ever say this- being a huge fan of David Suchet's- but the books are better.
(points at my icon)
I agree! Suchet truly is a fine Poirot, though.
Suchet is terrific. I've collect his "cases" on DVD.
You´re welcome to take it if you´d like!
It would be interesting to list experimental works by popular, best-selling novelists. One for the list would be Ian Fleming's The Spy Who Loved Me, which was written from the first person viewpoint of the Bond girl and only features Bond in its last third. It's probably the most despised of the Bond novels but I think it was a pretty bold book, and except for a couple of howlers it holds up well.
I haven't read that, I'm afraid.
The problem for any novelist- especially a popular one- is that you get into a rut. Experiment would be a way of keeping the work- and your own interest in it- alive.
Other people can say what they like, I love Agatha's books.
2006-11-12 05:53 pm (UTC)
This seems like a nice site...
2006-11-13 10:43 am (UTC)
Re: This seems like a nice site...
Ah, yes. I took a wander round that the other day.