Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making: More Stories and Secrets from her Notebooks

John Curran. Harper, $25.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-206542-1
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. Merely deciphering the 73 almost illegible and largely undated notebooks Christie left behind is a feat, but Curran organizes the notes into a readable chronology. Moving decade by decade, he outlines not only Christie’s prodigious output but also its critical reception, while weaving in passages from relevant notebooks. Devoted Christie fans will be thrilled by the previously unpublished work Curran incorporates, including a deleted scene from the first Hercule Poirot mystery, The Mysterious Affair at Styles; an early incarnation of the short story “The Red Signal”; and an earlier, unpublished draft of the Miss Marple short story “The Case of the Caretaker’s Wife.” As the notebooks indicate, Christie’s mind was teeming with ideas and Curran wisely places interstitial “Unused Ideas” chapters, giving the reader glimpses of potential plots and characters, from a Poirot case based on the popular game Clue to sketches for new plays, including a follow-up to the wildly successful Mousetrap. Even 120 years after her birth, the allure of Christie continues, and this volume will rightly prolong her reign. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/2011
Release date: 11/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 430 pages - 978-0-00-739676-4
Paperback - 430 pages - 978-0-06-206543-8
Paperback - 438 pages - 978-0-00-739678-8
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