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Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making: More Stories and Secrets from Her Notebooks Hardcover – November 22, 2011
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“With a greater emphasis on the queen of crime’s inner life, Christie expert Curran reveals both Christie’s dedication to her craft and his own enthusiasm for his subject in his engaging follow-up to his 2010 Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks.....Even 120 years after her birth, the allure of Christie continues, and this volume will rightly prolong her reign.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making)
“Not a book to read in one sitting, but one to love: a sumptuous buffet for fans who wish the Queen of Crime had lived forever.” (Kirkus Reviews on Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making)
“Curran’s analysis of these notes in the context of Christie’s life is first-rate.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer on Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making)
“Curran sheds light on the method of crafting a mystery story by the world’s most popular writer of whodunits.” (Iron Mountain Daily News on Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making)
“This is a wonderful companion piece to [Christie’s] autobiography and a must-read for every Agatha Christie fan. It provides a unique look into one of the world’s most successful authors.” (Daily America on Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making)
From the Back Cover
As he did in the Edgar®-nominated and Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards–winning Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks, Christie expert and archivist John Curran once again examines the unpublished notebooks of the world's bestselling author to explore the techniques she used to surprise and entertain generations of readers.
Drawing on Christie's personal papers and letters, he reveals how more than twenty of her novels, as well as stage scripts, short stories, and some more personal items, evolved. Here are wonderful gems, including Christie's essay on her famous detective, Hercule Poirot, written for a British national newspaper in the 1930s; a previously unseen version of a "Miss Marple" short story; and a courtroom chapter from her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which was edited out of the published version in 1920; plus an insightful, well-reasoned analysis of her final unfinished novel, based on the author's notes and Curran's own deep knowledge of Christie and her work.
A must-read for every Christie aficionado, Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making is a fascinating look into the mind and craft of one of the world's most prolific and beloved authors.
Top customer reviews
I began a lifelong love for Ms. Christie's work when I was ten years old and picked up a copy of "And Then There Were None." Since then, I have read all the books, bought and listened to them repeatedly in audiobooks, purchased and enjoyed the films made for movies and television, as well as the marvelous BBC adaptations of Christie's work. I empathize with the reviewer for Mr. Curran's other book who described a dream of discovering a "lost" Christie work. I have had the same dream, I assure you! I think we all wish that Mr. Curran would find larger nuggets of Christie's work that could perhaps be adapted into fully fleshed-out novels. It would be a wonderful dream come true.
Meanwhile, I am looking forward to whatever new insights into Christie's mind and work that Curran provides in this second book. For his efforts - and for my abiding gratitude to Ms. Christie for giving me so much pleasure over the past five decades, I give this book five stars!
ADDENDUM: This final paragraph marks a return to this review and a deletion of one star for two reasons: first, the presentation of this material did get tiresome as the book went on. Sometimes Mr.Curran pondered tiny points of little interest, such as how many pages in the notebooks covered a certain work. (By the time one gets to PASSENGER TO FRANKFURT, it truly doesn't matter if the novel covered five pages in notebook this and ten pages in notebook that...it's still a frighteningly bad book.) The pattern of presentation was remarkably similar from book to book, which made reading this occasionally tedious. The second reason for knocking off a star is the presence of a number of small errors (names, plot points) and questionable judgments of certain works. Of course, Mr. Curran is entitled to his opinions as a Christie expert AND a fan, even when they disagree with my opinions!! :-) If he think less of AFTER THE FUNERAL, one of my favorites, that's his business. But he makes a point of criticizing the violence of Cora's murder as unnecessary, even crass, and the violence done to the body IS most necessary, as anyone familiar with the plot could testify.
In this second volume Curran prints for the first time an unpublished version of ":The Caretaker';s Wife": a short story featuring Miss Marple the elderly amateur sleuth who knows all the secrets of her village ":St. Mary Mead": He also looks at the most notable novels and short stories written by Christie for each decade from the 1920s through the 1970s. This section of the book can become tedious if you have not read the stories under examination. This part of the book reads best if you look at the review and working methods of Christie just after you have read the book being discussed.
Dame Agatha kept her best ideas contained in over seventy notebooks. She was chaotic in her preparation for future stories and novels but produced the best detective stories produced in the popular genre. Christie often listed possible characters and plot developments in her notebooks. She also used her considerable knowledge of poisons. Curran includes Dame Agatha';s article on the creation of Hercule Poirot. Agatha Christie was a genius of light whodunit fiction. The world is a better place because of her.
John Curran has done a fine job in making her works more accessible to a new generation of readers. Recommended.
That was true, as the character of Miss Marple was inserted in a previously published Christie story (which had been published in both short story and novel forms). The story was improved by adding Miss Marple, but it was still only a revised story. I bought both of Curran's books mostly to read the "new" stories he included. If other readers are thinking of the same thing, they can avoid disappointment by not ordering either book. Both books had a fair amount of rambling and repeated ideas. As an ardent Christie fan, I want to read more interesting works about her.
Most recent customer reviews
there's a book inside of this book that got never got published a real gem for christie fans!