Murder She Wrote: A Study of Agatha Christie's Detective Fiction

Murder She Wrote: A Study of Agatha Christie's Detective Fiction

Murder She Wrote: A Study of Agatha Christie's Detective Fiction

Murder She Wrote: A Study of Agatha Christie's Detective Fiction

Synopsis

This book explores the inter-relationships between Agatha Christie and her works to seek the wholeness in the Christie experience. The authors perceive an integration in personal experience and moral and aesthetic values between the woman and her art.

Excerpt

The novels of Agatha Christie have reached sales numbering in the hundreds of millions of copies. She is the second most printed author in English—next to Shakespeare. According to a 1962 UNESCO report, her works have been translated into 103 languages (at least a dozen more than the works of Shakespeare). This polyglottal distribution is matched by an unbelievable quantity. She was acknowledged by UNESCO to be "the most widely read British author in the world." Nancy Blue Wynne points out that Agatha Christie is likewise "the most translated crime writer."

The enormous flood of Christie novels flowing from presses of grateful publishers washed away any chance of obtaining an exact reckoning of her sales total. We are told that even "her publishers have lost count of her total sales." Certainly Christie herself lost count of the total number of books she had written (if she ever cared). Astonishing as it is, one must rest with the fact that no one knows the exact number of copies, printed and sold, copyrighted and pirated, of her total output of detective novels.

Lowenthal estimated that some of her American editions in paperback went into a 10th or 15th printing. The Pocket Books edition "has had sales of 5 million copies in a year." In the 1960s her total sales was placed at an excess of 350 million while in 1975 it was said to be probably more than 400 million copies. Bemused by her vast output of titles and by the exploding astronomical sales distribution, Christie was moved to term herself a "veritable sausage-machine." This was a highly lucrative sausage-machine spewing forth riches for its readers, its inventor, her publishers, her family and the coffers of the Inland Revenue, but above all, providing works of enjoyment for millions of readers.

Christie's popularity and critical acclaim peaked in the thirties and the forties, when she was at the height of her . . .

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