The Gentle Art of Murder: The Detective Fiction of Agatha Christie

By Earl F. Bargainnier | Go to book overview
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Chapter I
Quoted in Elliot L. Gilbert, ed., The World of Mystery Fiction, Del Mar, CA, 1978, p.xxii; [as S.S. Van Dine], "Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories," The Art of the Mystery Story, ed. Howard Haycraft, New York, 1975 (rpt.), p.189, and "The Great Detective Stories," The Art of the Mystery Story, p. 35.
The Detective Story in Britain, London, 1962, p.8; "Introduction," The Omnibus of Crime, New York, 1929, p.31.
"Murder and Karl Marx," The Nation, 25 March 1936, p.382; "An Etiquette of Murder," New York Times, 13 January 1976, p.40.
"The Algebra of Agatha Christie," The Sunday Times, 27 February 1966, p.25. Mathematics fascinated Christie all of her life; her husband has written that "she had a natural mathematical brain" and that "this capacity appears in her books and in the neat solution of the most complex tangles, an ability in analysis as well as synthesis" (Max Mallowan, Mallowan's Memoirs, London, 1977, p.196).
"The Mystery Versus the Novel," The Mystery Story, ed. John Ball, Del Mar, CA, 1976, p.70; "Emma Lathen: Murder and Sophistication," The New Republic, 31 July 1976, p.25.
"The Moment of Violence," Crime in Good Company, ed. Michael Gilbert, London, 1959, pp.108-09.
"The Christie Nobody Knows," Agatha Christie: First Lady of Crime, ed. H.R.F. Keating, New York, 1977, p.127.
Quoted in Arlette Baudet, "Simenon Hates Fiction But Loves the Muppets," Macon Telegraph & News, 26 March 1978, p.3E.
"Casual Notes on the Mystery Novel," Writing Detective and Mystery Fiction, rev. ed., ed. A.S. Burack, Boston, 1967, p.84.
For Van Dine's rules, see footnote 1; the five which Christie does not break are 1, 5 (debatable), 6, 14, and 15. Knox's list is in The Art of the Mystery Story, pp.194-196; of these Christie does not break I, III, and IV.
The Art of the Mystery Story, p.188.
"The Grandest Game in the World," The Mystery Writer's Art, ed. Francis M. Nevins, Bowling Green, 1970, pp.243-245.
Mystery Fiction: Theory and Technique, New York, 1943, p.99.
Mortal Consequences: A History from the Detective Story to the Crime Novel, New York, 1972, p.17.
Robert Champigny, What Will Have Happened, Bloomington, 1977, p.18. Champigny also says, "The mystery in a mystery story is a narrative secret, not a conceptual mystery; it is physical, not transcendental" (13).
Adventure, Mystery, and Romance, Chicago & London, 1976, p.99.
Mortal Consequences, p.104.
Quoted in Nigel Dennis, "Genteel Queen of Crime," Life, 14 May 1956, p. 101; Quoted in "Agatha Christie Dies at 85," Atlanta Constitution, 13 January 1976, p.12. Max Mallowan has written, "Agatha never gloats over [murder], or describes it beyond the necessary minimum detail—there are no obscenities" (Mallowan's Memoirs, p.222).
Masters of Mystery, Norwood, PA, 1976, (rpt.), p.21.
"Death as a Game," Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, November 1965, pp.50-51 & 53.
Blood in Their Ink, London, 1953, p.45.
Adventure, Mystery, and Romance, p.19. The same idea is expressed by George N. Dove: "the special ability of the detective story to create its own illusion of reality" ("The Criticism of Detective Fiction," The Popular Culture Scholar, 1 [Winter 1977], 5).
The Puritan Pleasures of the Detective Story, London, 1972, p.51. Routley is writing specifically of Conan Doyle, but the concept has wider application. Two almost identical statements are "It is the element of fantasy in detective fiction—or rather, the juxtaposition of fantasy with reality—that gives the genre its identity" (Nicholas Blake, "The Detective Story— Why?," The Art of the Mystery Story, p.402), and "Modern escape fiction is romantic fiction


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