Day 14 – Favourite book of your favourite writer
This post is part of a month-long series of pre-dated posts running while I am on holiday. Feel free to comment, I’ll get back to you when I return!
Please note that any “reviews” I write here are simply my own opinion and that I am not doing any objective, informative reviews for this challenge. If there are any spoilers in a post, I will indicate it at the top.
I draw the book covers straight from Goodreads and you can click on the images to go to the book’s page on there.
Yesterday’s post was just a lot of rambling. Actually, it was a lot of rambling that didn’t achieve much, seeing that I couldn’t even come to a satisfactory conclusion after I’d written all of that. So, to prevent further nonsense, I’m just going to pick something for the sake of writing about it. After all, if I could not even pick a favourite author, how am I supposed to pick a book by a favourite author?
I’ve already written too much about Terry Prachett. I’ve written about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes only a few days ago. And I’m still going to write (too much) about J.R.R. Tolkien’s work in the later posts. So. I’m going to say for the sake of being fair, and having to write something today, that Agatha Christie is my favourite author and now write about my favourite book by her.
To my great disappointment, I have to admit that I have not yet read some of the books that are considered to be Christie’s greatest works. I have not yet read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I also haven’t read Death on the Nile or N or M? and this is kind of a regret. If I could find these books, I’d read them like a shot, but I am dependent on second-hand bookshops and the public library for Agatha Christie books. In second-hand bookshops I obviously have to take what I can get and in the library I have to compete with lots of little old ladies who apparently also love murder mysteries.
What the above paragraph was meant to say that I am really not qualified to speak about the entirety of Agatha Christie’s oeuvre. I can, however, let you into a secret: I’m a Miss Marple fan, really…
That is, of course, one of the biggest fights among Christie fans: which of her two great sleuths are the best? Each fan will of course defend their preference rabidly. I wouldn’t easily pick a fight with someone about this, but I much prefer Miss Marple’s quiet, village wisdom over Monsieur Poirot arrogance. He annoys me just a tiny little bit sometimes, with his superiority and all.
Obviously, preference of sleuth would influence a choice of a favourite book. But not always…
Appointment with Death (a Poirot novel) is really, really good. As is The Labours of Hercules, Peril at End House and The ABC Murders (all three with Poirot).
4.50 from Paddington (a Marple novel) remains one of my firm favourites and the same goes for Sleeping Murder (the last Miss Marple story). Nemesis is also really good.
However (always a word to look out for in a literary analysis), the first Agatha Christie story I read, to the best of my memory, was The Secret Adversary (which does not feature either M. Poirot or Miss Marple). In this story I experienced Agatha Christie’s ability to turn the tables on you at the last minute, just when you think you are sure who the criminal is. For the first time in a very long time, a story had me completely fooled at the end. For the first time in a very long time, I didn’t even mind when the characters fell in love and got jealous and possessive. Usually, this just irritates me and detracts from the storyline. It is certainly true that first impressions count, because The Secret Adversary has remained with me to this very day and I think I can say that it is definitely my favourite.
The fact that my favourite book does not feature my favourite sleuth possibly makes me a bit odd amongst Christie fans. Most fans would debate their preference and the advantages thereof with so much passion you may be taken by surprise.
Personally, I just always love to witness it when books can evoke this kind of passion in people. I love how everyone can get excited about how a certain book blindsided all of them, because this is, after all, Agatha Christie’s speciality. Usually after you have read a few of her novels, you will spot that she has a fondness of making the doctor who attended the poor sick patient, who then had a relapse and died, the real criminal. Then, just when you think you’ve got her and you meet a story like that again and you’re really convinced that this time you will be right at the end, it turns out that this time it was the husband who “done ‘er in”. It never gets old…
Tomorrow’s post will be about my favourite male character.