If I like to watch a crime and murder story on TV, I really prefer anglophile series like “Inspector Barnaby” or “Miss Fisher’s mysterious deaths cases”, because of their diverse scripts and usually very good camera settings.

Especially I love the narrative style and film adaptations of Agatha Christie. Their proven quality has already saved many boring TV evenings when otherwise talk- / quiz shows are running all day, infantile sci-fi repetitions are back on screen or – even worse – 3rd class / self-loving celebrities are constantly chattering about their homemade corona – stories. Sentences like “… I discovered cooking for myself” or “I nowadays learn so much from my children …” drive me crazy. What a questionable achievement (?), it simply means that so far they were not even able to prepare more than a fried egg and the “little ones” are usually staying with the nanny.

How refreshing is a “Miss Marple” film adaptation (preferably with the resolute hobby detective Margret Rutherford and her somewhat shy partner Mr. Stringer) including the popular tune by Ron Goodwin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HM0acXZHAEU

Further information regarding the „Miss Marple novels“ can be found here: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miss_Marple

Also an “Hercule Poirot” movie is equally enriching at all times, no matter if with Peter Ustinov or David Suchet in the leading role. Agatha Christie simply manages to put murder and homicide in an always different interesting context and its solution cannot be predicted from the beginning.

In England there has been a true film tourism to the locations of those well-known crime novels for decades. Most of  them take exclusively place in southern England, i.e. Devon or Cornwall. The starting point is usually Torbay/ Torquay, the birthplace of A. Christie, where the community has erected a bust of her on the famous palm promenade. An entire “Christie Mile” runs through the city and even an Agatha Christie Festival takes place every year in September. Then there are many stylish events, theater performances, bus and train tours on special subject (unfortunately cancelled for 2020 due to the Corona pandemic). A pilgrimage site all yera round for Christie fans is of course her elegant summer house “Greenway” located above the river Dart. The property is managed by the National Trust and is an enchanting place. Some visitors even dress up in the style of the 30s / 50s. What a nice idea and I was happy to join this tradition t least wearing a hat.

During a tour, you learn that the writer e.g. never attended a public school, but always had private lessons. She has a daughter named Rosalind from her first husband Archie Christie. And she allegedly didn’t like journalists, which is why „thise people” usually come off badly in the stories. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agatha_Christie

But even Agatha Christie (born in 1890) had a difficult time to become popular in literature. In addition, she was only in her late 20s when she debuted shortly after the First World War. She rarely saw her husband, a British pilot, and in the end it was only thanks to a bet with her sister that she even started to write her first detective novel.

The financial merit of the first book (German title: The missing link in the chain), which appeared in 1920, exactly 100 years ago, was minimal. According to the Agatha Christie website, it’s was only £ 25. Only after the publication she realized that her publisher had bound her to miserable conditions for a total of five books. At the next best opportunity, she switched to Harper Collins and remained loyal to this publisher for all lifetime.

In 1930 she finally married her second husband, Max Mallowan, and it was the beginning of a superlative thriller-flow: “Murder on the Orient Express” (1934), “Death on the Nile” (1936), “Evil under the Sun” (1941 ), “Hydrocyanic acid” (1944), “Murder in the Rectory (1950),” Murder in the Mirror (1952), “A Caribbean affair (1962), … just to name a few.

Why she developed this tendency of thrill and crime is unknown. During the First World War she worked as a nurse and learned to mix substances, which might have been the key to her preference for detailed planning and poisoning.

With „Hercule Poirot“, she also presents the most popular investigator figure after Sherlock Holmes. The gentlemen detective is an elegantly dressed retired Belgian who relies solely on his “little gray cells” and makes the logical reconstruction of each crime scene his personal triumph. “A small track of dust on the jacket would cause him more pain than a gunshot wound,” Poirot says in the very first novel. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_der_Werke_von_Agatha_Christie

Over the years appeared 66 novels, dozens of stories and with “The Mousetrap” the longest-lasting stage production of all time. It is said that more than one billion Christie books inEnglish language were sold and in addition another billion in a hundred other languages. Consequently it is assumed that Agatha Christie is the best-selling author in literary history after the Bible and Shakespeare.

In 1956 she was awarded with the “Order of the British Empire” and in 1971 finally ennobled by the Queen. She died in 1976 as “Dame Mallowan” in Oxfordshire, but as of today the travel-loving lady remaines immortal.

One of her literary predecessors from the British Isles – but of a completely different nature – was Jane Austen (died in 1817), whose life and the customs of the Biedermeier century I have already reported. If you want to have a look again, please follow the link: https://www.topagemodel.de/2019/07/20/mode-und-etikette-im-biedermeier/

“Friends of historical times” can  find actual event-infos and links under the keywords “Jane Austen”, „Biedermeier fashion and dances“, “Jane Austen Dances” or “The historical dance messenger”: http://barocktanz.com/

 

Petra
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