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

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

5.0 1
by John Curran
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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Awards–winning Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks, Christie expert and archivist John Curran once again examines the unpublished notebooks of the world's bestselling author to explore the techniques she used to surprise and entertain generations of readers.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

Overview

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Awards–winning Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks, Christie expert and archivist John Curran once again examines the unpublished notebooks of the world's bestselling author to explore the techniques she used to surprise and entertain generations of readers.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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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 Devoted Christie fans will be thrilled by the previously unpublished work Curran incorporates, including a deleted scene from the first Hercule Poirot mystery, The Mysterious Affair at Styles; an early incarnation of the short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.)
on Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making - Daily America
"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."
Cleveland Plain Dealer on Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making
“Curran’s analysis of these notes in the context of Christie’s life is first-rate.”
Daily America 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.”
Iron Mountain Daily News 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.”
Library Journal
Interest in Agatha Christie's works continues unabated 35 years after her death. Curran is an archivist, Christie expert, and literary adviser to the Christie estate who in 2005 discovered 73 of the writer's notebooks in a cupboard in her Devon home while he was advising the National Trust on its restoration. He began to mine the notebooks for insights into Christie's works and published Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks (2009), which included two previously unpublished short stories, excerpts from the notebooks, and Curran's comments placing the excerpts in context for the reader. The present volume follows the same pattern. Excerpts from the notebooks (dashed-off notes, brief plot or character ideas, fragments of writing) are filtered through Curran's extensive knowledge of Christie's works, shedding light on the writer's creative process. Also included are a previously unpublished Miss Marple story and an essay by Christie on her attitude toward her character Hecule Poirot. VERDICT Not for those who simply seek a good mystery, but recommended to avid Christie fans and researchers wanting deeper knowledge of her life and works.—Alison M. Lewis, Drexel Univ., Philadelphia
Kirkus Reviews
Following Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks (2009), which scrutinized the early stages of some two-dozen novels by the legendary mystery novelist, Christie expert Curran returns to exhume and analyze selected entries from her 73 notebooks dealing with dozens of other novels and stories. "Selected" is the key word, since the material presented is by no means exhaustive, and often thematically rearranged into categories like "Unused Ideas, 1-4" and "Agatha Christie and Poison." Curran's shaping editorial hand is inevitable because the notebooks are so chaotic. Christie, whose meticulously plotted detective stories present her as a master of logic and detail, could scatter undated entries on a given novel across several different notebooks, and her handwriting presented distinct challenges to her editor. Her preference for tight plotting, a deceptive but generous use of clues, a limited array of stock characters and a neutral, highly serviceable dialogue and descriptive prose are too well-known to be further illuminated here, but Curran produces some welcome surprises. His selection reprints a hitherto unpublished courtroom climax to The Mysterious Affair at Styles, an earlier version of "The Red Signal" and an alternate version of "The Case of the Caretaker's Wife." He describes a never-staged dramatization of The Secret of Chimneys, reveals the two quite different motives for murder in the British and American editions of Three Act Tragedy and notes that Christie intended to publish Sleeping Murder under the title Cover Her Face until P.D. James anticipated her in the long interval between Sleeping Murder's composition and its publication. Curran's single most important general revelation is Christie's fondness for playing with unpromisingly skeletal ideas until they turned into the high concepts for which she is best remembered. 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062065421
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
11/22/2011
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

John Curran is the author of Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks. The longtime literary advisor to Agatha Christie's estate and a recognized expert on her novels, often giving talks and appearing in documentaries about her life, he lives in Ireland.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Agatha Christie 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
chelseaguy5050 More than 1 year ago
One of my very good friends is an Agatha Christie buff. When I saw this I got it immediately and hoped it wasn't already a part of his collection. It wasn't and I scored big time!