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Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making Paperback – February 15, 2011
Everything We Keep: A Novel
On the day of her wedding, she buried her fiancé—and unearthed shocking secrets. Learn More
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“A must-have for any ardent fan of Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot.” (Washington Post)
“A must for all Christie fans.” (Newark Star-Ledger)
“Provides a unique look into the mind and working habits of one of the world’s most successful authors.” (Tulsa World)
“Meticulously detailed and scrupulous in its judgments.” (Strand magazine on Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks)
“A meticulously detailed study that is packed with shrewd perceptions about Christie’s fiction....Curran has produced an enthralling miscellany of a book, in which her fans will rummage to their heart’s content.” (Sunday Times (London))
“Many of Curran’s discoveries will shape how Christie is read in future....This book is fascinating.” (The Independent on Sunday)
“[Curran] has organized his material as efficiently as an Agatha Christie mystery….[His] enthusiasm for his subject carries us along.” (Irish Times)
From the Back Cover
When Agatha Christie died in 1976, at age eighty-five, she had become the world's most popular author. At the end of 2004, following the death of Christie's daughter, Rosalind, a remarkable legacy was revealed: seventy-three handwritten volumes of notes, lists, and drafts outlining all her plans for her many books, plays, and stories. Buried in this treasure trove, all in the beloved author's unmistakable handwriting, are revelations about her famous books that will fascinate anyone who has ever read or watched an Agatha Christie story.
Full of details she was too modest to reveal in her own autobiography, this remarkable book includes a wealth of excerpts and pages reproduced directly from the notebooks and her letters—plus, two complete, recently discovered Hercule Poirot short stories never before published.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is not a variorum or facsimile edition of the notebooks by any means, but rather Curran's selection, with copious comments, of Christie's musings and reworkings over the years. His transcriptions look letter-perfect (a generous sampling of the handwritten entries allows us to peruse both the way she wrote something, and the way Curran took it down). I couldn't spot a flaw.
Christie lovers will find much to marvel at here. My own hunger for more and more Christie, good or bad, started when I was a child. I had a recurring dream--one I still have, years later,--in which I'm in a bookstore, library, friend's house, looking at books, and I see an Agatha Christie novel I've never heard of before. I sit down and read through it, and even want to copy it down, but lack a pencil (ha ha, Freudian I guess), and think of filching it from the premises, but lack the balls. Sometimes I wake from the dream with a title and a few words still in my head. but always with a sense of loss and emptiness. Now Curran's edition has assuaged some of the ache. We hear of dozens of unrealized projects, and quite a few of them fully realized, but withdrawn from the marketplace for one reason or another.Read more ›
John Curran is a magician in his ability to decipher and chronicle the diaries. When they were first discovered, each cover was given a stickered number--purely to keep track of how many diaries there were. The contents of each diary could cover several years, story plots, and edits-often with no sequential order.
One page may begin a new plot but on the reverse were more ideas about a previous story, often from a previous diary.
Were do you begin?
Well John has done his homework and like Poirot or Marple has puzzled through the scribbles and doodling of the diaries to come up with a comprehensive book devoted to the genius of Agatha Christie.
This book will have you returning to favorite books and perhaps finding some that you had forgotten over the years.
READER BEWARE: the beginning of each chapter lists "Solutions Revealed" to the plots of the novels and plays that are discussed. I suspect that most of the audience reading this book will be familiar with many of her novels. And of course if you dont' want to read that particular chapter until you've reread the book....who is to stop you! Enjoy !
John Curran is a Dublin native who is one of the few persons who has been allowed to study in depth the seventy-three notebooks in which Dame Agatha wrote down story ideas;' possible plots;' list of possible characters and such mundane material as shopping lists and what to buy her family members for Christmas. The notebooks reveal, says Curran, that the doyen of crime liked to work in chaotic mode. Some of Christie';s stories and plots would lay dormant for decades before being used or discarded or transformed from short story to novel. (or vice versa!).
Curran asserts that Christie had an easy to read style and used everday life settings to mold her masterpieces. She is the only crime author who created two immortal figures of the genre:" Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. She had an extensive knowledge of poisons due to her nursing work and this was her favorite way to murder her literary victims. Her favorite murderers came from the ranks of medical men and women. Christie was adept at taking readers to exotic sites of which she was acquainted through the many archaeological digs she had been on with her husband.
The most valuable part of the book deals with the careful dissection Curran performs on examining many of the major novels and short stories of Christie from "The Labors of Hercules" to ":Sparkling Cyanide": to ":Sleeping Murder": and many others.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is very interesting to see how she planned and developed her books! This also has with many notes from her preparations. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sasha
Love this book. Full of trivia not to be found anywhere else.
Arrived on time and in perfect condition.
This was purchased as a gift for a Christie fan. The recipient loved it.Published 6 months ago by charmnday
Very useful for Christie lovers...exhaustive analysis of her notebooks in seeing what drove her to write and the process...well researched and written.Published 7 months ago by JON WATSON
What an absolute delight! If you're a writer or an Agatha Christie fan, you will find this fascinating! What a clever book to have put together. Read morePublished 16 months ago by lilcreative
I don't know how the author managed to make sense out of Agatha's handwriting or even where she was going with her novels! It is, however a good source when I re-read her novels . Read morePublished 18 months ago by jazzgirl
The book is about how christie designed her books and created her plots. It sometimes becomes boring if you do not remember exactly what is going on in each of her books. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Cyanogen
My sister and I are avid Agatha Christie fans. She was and is my favourite writer. I have read her since Middle School and still read all her books over and over again. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Valerie Tucker
Hodgepodge of disassociated notes; if her writing in the notebooks is chaotic then this book is even more so. I love Agatha Christie adaptations. This book is a disservice to her.Published 20 months ago by Southern gent