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

By Earl F. Bargainnier | Go to book overview

The Gentle Art of Murder The Detective Fiction of Agatha Christie


Preface

"The queen of crime," "the mistress of fair deceit," "the first lady of crime," "the mistress of misdirection," "the detective story writer's detective story writer," and even "the Hymns Ancient and Modern of detection"-these are just a few of the epithets which have been used to indicate Agatha Christie's position as writer of detective fiction. In her sixty-seven novels and one hundred and seventeen short stories of detection and mystery, Christie created a body of work which made her the most popular writer of the twentieth century. The very fact of that popularity, as well as critical disdain for the genre in which she wrote, has prevented her work from receiving much serious attention. Supposedly T.S. Eliot once planned a study of the detective novel, with a long section on Christie, but it was never written. Most of the few works on her and her writing have been anecdotal and poorly documented, more peripheral chat than study of the fiction itself. Christie did not care; she was not concerned with criticism of her work, refusing most requests for interviews and repeating the same statements over and over in those few she did grant. Even her autobiography gives more space to other matters than to her fiction. Perhaps as a result of her influence, her husband, Sir Max Mallowan, has issued in his memoirs a stern warning to anyone presuming to be a critic of detective fiction, saying that such a critic is "under an obligation not to reveal the resolution of the story," so that he does not "ruin a book for the reader," adding, "I have the feeling, unfair perhaps, that the analytical critic of detective fiction is either a knave or a fool."

In spite of the risk of being called "a knave or a fool," my intent is a literary analysis of the detective fiction of "the queen of crime." I hope that I will not ruin any of her works for readers, but rather enable them to understand better the general skill of their construction as works of a particular genre of fiction. With Mallowan's warning in mind, I originally intended to reveal no resolutions, but I have found that to fulfill that intention would be both awkward and artificial. The murderers in thirteen novels and

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Gentle Art of Murder: The Detective Fiction of Agatha Christie
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Gentle Art of Murder - The Detective Fiction of Agatha Christie *
  • Contents *
  • Preface 1
  • Chapter I - Golden Age Detective Fiction: an Introduction to Christie's Genre 4
  • Chapter II - Setting 21
  • Chapter III - Characters 38
  • Chapter IV - Plot 144
  • Chapter V - Devices, Diversions, & Debits 167
  • Chapter VI - Theme 190
  • Chapter VII - The Achievement of Agatha Christie 199
  • Notes 205
  • Bibliography 210
  • Index of Characters 223
  • Index of Novel and Short Story Titles 227
  • Key to Documentation 230
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 232

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.