Friday, July 2, 2021

Agatha Christie

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Agatha Christie born on September the 15th 180 in Torquay, England. Christie is hailed as the Queen of the Golden Age of crime fiction and the unrivalled champion writer of cosy crime fiction. Christie had no period time were she was a new writer trying to make it big instead Christies career started off with a bang with her first novel ¡§The Mysterious Affair at Styles¡¨ which was written during WW1 (114-118) but later published in 10. Christie¡¦s career was at its peak between the years of 1-16, during this time her most renowned detective Hercule Poirot was flourishing and stories featuring Tommy and Tuppence were at their height.


The way in which Agatha Christie shapes her plot in her stories and novel is not unique to her. The way in which her plot is designed is that she has a plot within a plot, the first and smaller of the two is the introduction to crime committed or the crime being committed. The second and main plot involves the detective going through the crime solving process and how the criminal is caught in the process. An example of this is evident in most Poirot stories were he is always present or at the scene after the crime has been committed.

A Poirot story, which is an example of this, is ¡§The Incredible Theft¡¨, where the first two and a half chapters introduce the situation and characters and the crime happens half way into the third chapter. The next five chapters are devoted to Poirot as he goes through and solves the crime. The influence on the way Christie can be traced back to the writing of Doyle¡¦s, Sherlock Holmes, which use the same plot construction as Christie¡¦s writing. A Holmes story that presents this is ¡§The Copper Breeches¡¨ where the crime has already been committed, then Holmes is informed and the majority of the time is taken to solve the crime. This is not evident in all of Christies work, the novel ¡§And Then There Were None¡¨ is the exact opposite were the whole book is based on the crime happening and in the conclusion the solution is given to the reader.

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Agatha Christie¡¦s style in the composition of her writing is based on that of her predecessors, Doyle and Chesterton. The style of having the detective being called to the scene of the crime after the crime has being committed is one mirrored in the works of Doyle and Chesterton but Christie has being hailed as the Champion of the style. The influence of these writers on Christie¡¦s style is presented in her works.

¡§The Veiled Lady was constructed as an ingenious takeoff of Doyle story The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton¡¨(1) also the ¡§Man in the Mist¡¨ by Christie is a takeoff of Chesterton¡¦s ¡§The Man in the Mist were Christie is also sharp about the use of colour in Chesterton¡¦s scene painting¡¨(). This stating the use of Chesterton¡¦s style of writing that is evident in the work of Christie.


The themes of Agatha Christies writing were influenced by her perspectives on events and ideas she had on beliefs and happenings of her life. The main theme of most of her work was ¡§reconciliation, especially within the family, Hercule Poirot Christmas, ends with the members of the family learning to accept each other, and end their suspicions of one another¡¨(). Other themes include blackmail eg. ¡§The Actress¡¨ and theft ¡§ The Incredible Theft¡¨, a theme that was used by Christie is Christmas example are, ¡§Hercule Poirots Christmas¡¨, ¡§The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and ¡§Murder for Christmas¡¨. The theme of Christmas was influenced by her childhood memories of Christmas.

The characterisation of Christies writing was influenced by the characterisation of past crime writers. Christie¡¦s detectives are based on previous detectives who share similar attributes. Hercule Poirot mirrors Doyle¡¦s Holmes minus the chemical addiction in many ways but the evident one is that both detectives share the possession of large egos. ¡§Never in the whole of London have I seen a pair of moustaches to equal mine¡¨ (4) Poirot boasting on his manliness.

The characterisation even though being influenced by her predecessors she followed closely to the formula of characterisation of crime fiction. This is in every novel or short story; the same characters are portrayed but differ from story to story by minor attributes, such as physical appearance, minor personality changes and the addition and removal of disabilities. Influences on her choice and creation of detectives are the events of her time eg; Poirot is a detective from Belgium who is fleeing German oppression. Miss Marple was influenced by the stereotypical personality trait of elderly women of the time and Christie¡¦s grandmother. Tommy and Tuppence were husband and wife detectives and the first of their kind.


The role of the detective in the writing of Agatha Christie is the key basis of a majority of her work, most of her short stories and novels are based around the detective solving the crime at hand. Christie had four main detectives, which she used most throughout her career; they were Hercule Poirot who was used most in both short stories and novels, Miss Marple a domestic based detective. The role she had as a detective was that she worked along with the police and used their work to solve the crime. Tommy and Tuppence were also an attempt to have partnered detectives working officially as detective out of an office.

Influences on the role of the detective in Christies work can be drawn from previous writers. The role of the detective in Poirot stories show influence from Doyle and Poe in their detectives Holmes and Dupin, by the fact that all three detectives shared superhuman deduction capabilities and they ridicule the police in that they are much superior to them and nothing remains unsolved to them. Influences on Miss Marple come from the works of Anna Katherine Green who had the detective that solved crime by the means of working along with the police. Tommy and Tuppence are influenced also by Doyle through Holmes and Watson, who assisted one another in solving the crime but Tommy and Tuppence have a more equal relationship (as they are married) than Holmes and Watson because Watson was more of a sidekick than a partner.


The use of mystery and deduction in Christies work is an evident and integral part of her compositions, the use of mystery and deduction differ from detective to detective and the influences are a prime part of this trend. Hercule Poirot deduction skills are far superior to that of Christie¡¦s detectives, he seems to look at the crime and with the use of minimal and vague evidence still is able to solve the crime. The use of deduction and extreme intelligence are influenced by Holmes and Dupin who too solved crime in that manner. The mystery associated with Poirot is how he comes to his conclusion because with Holmes and Dupin their deduction process is explained as they go, eg. Holmes explaining his process to Watson. Poirot reaches his conclusions after he is told the details of the crime and the rest of the deduction method is to satisfy the victim that he did the job properly.

Miss Marple like Poirot did not use logic and rational methods to solve the crime she relied on her feminine sensitivity and empathy to solve crimes. Miss Marple let the police do their work and by that, they completed the collection of evidence fact for her so that she could apply her feminine skills to it and see a link that they did not notice. The mystery behind Miss Marple is why does she involve herself with the crime investigation of police, influences on Miss Marple are Anna Katherine Green who had the idea of having an external sleuth working with the police and I sleuth that did not use tradition methods of deduction as Poirot.

Tommy and Tuppence were spoofs of Hercule Poirot by Christie in an attempt to create detective who solve mysteries by means of irrational and illogical methods. Their method of deduction was done by them stumbling onto the answer unintentionally, even though they had missed important clues in their detective work. ¡§The mystery of Tommy and Tuppence Tommy Beresford, an unimaginative but charming young man, encounters a childhood friend, Tuppence Cowley, after he is released from service in WWI¡¨(5). They then marry and work together as detectives.

By Michael Hamka


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4. Kellie Dundon Agatha Christies, Hercule Poirot. English Extension 000 H.S.C (

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A comprehensive and informative site on Agatha Christie and her influences as career as a writer. 5 0ut 5 (5 being the highest)

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This site included valuable information on the personalities and attributes of Poirot, Miss Marple and Tommy and Tuppence also get straights to the point. 4 0ut 5


Provides relevant information on Hercule Poirot and his history and progress.

„ WHILE THE LIGHT LASTS by Agatha Christie, published By Harper Collins London 17.

This is a set of Agatha Christie short stories, which provide a clear introduction to Christie¡¦s style of writing also each story have an After word, which explains they story and some public reactions at the time of its release. This book is an essential into understanding Christie¡¦s social values. Five out five

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