100 Years of Agatha Christie

In October of this year, we get to celebrate Agatha Christie being brought into our lives. Her first novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles was published in the U.S. in October of 1920. The United States was first to be introduced to Hercule Poirot. He would go on to be the main character in 33 of her novels, 2 plays, and 50 short stories, and be the only literary character to ever have a written obituary in the New York Times. His death was written into Agatha Christie’s novel Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case. Poirot had his own television series that aired for 24 years on ITV, not to mention many renditions of his books made into movies, most recently Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express.

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Mystery Challenge: Professionals – The Police

~by David W.

Someone’s been murdered: who are you going to call? A haughty genius and his devoted doctor sidekick? A persnickety little Belgian whose egg-shaped head is punctuated by a tiny moustache? A wisecracking shamus in a dingy office, drinking rotgut and polishing his gat? Of course not: YOU CALL THE COPS!

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Mystery Challenge: Amateur Sleuths

~ by Jenny C.

For all of you reading along in the Mystery Challenge, this week we focus on the valiant, perceptive, amateur sleuth. Now, many heroes and heroines of the mystery genre qualify as amateurs, especially those from points in history before official certifications, but I wanted to highlight some of the most winning personalities among these amiable snoops.

Click here to find Whose Body? in the SPL catalogThe classic amateur investigator has to be Dorothy Sayers’ beloved Lord Peter Wimsey. Aristocrat and gad-about, forever dependent on his alarmingly efficient manservant, Bunter, Lord Peter swans around the countryside with an endearingly foppish attitude. When push comes to shove, however, his harmless façade drops to expose a ferocious intelligence. Set against the backdrop of the World Wars, Lord Peter’s adventures are not to be missed! Start with Whose Body? and discover why Sayers is one of the greats. Continue reading “Mystery Challenge: Amateur Sleuths”

Lumpen London

Click here to view Lucky Bunny in the SPL catalogThe loveable con artist is a staple of British literature.  Lucky Bunny by Jill Dawson fits the pattern, but with a whip smart female protagonist who comes full circle from stealing from doorsteps to keep her little brother fed, to taking part in the heist of the century to escape from an abusive husband with her daughter.  Along the way she teams with other women to carry shoplifting to a high art and turn fleecing older gentlemen into an act of mercy.  Can she really abandon a career that’s this much fun? Continue reading “Lumpen London”

Alphabet of Crime: Keeping up with the Jameses.

The book’s location is MYSTERY > JAMES. Quick – who’s the author?

Chances are you guessed P.D. James, the doyenne of contemporary British crime fiction, who over the past fifty years has penned over a score of titles – most featuring buttoned-down Inspector-cum-Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh – that have consistently raised the bar on what is possible in crime fiction, and won scores of fans among genre and literary readers alike. Fair enough, and fans of James should check out her recent master class on the genre, Talking About Detective Fiction. Continue reading “Alphabet of Crime: Keeping up with the Jameses.”