Thursday, 29 April 2010

Hercule Poirot

I do love my detective stories (I blame Enid Blyton). Naturally one turns to Agatha Christie and her most famous detective, Poirot. I'm always amused by Christie's apparent dislike of the character and I can't say I blame her. I love to read them, but I would hate to be tied to writing such a character for 59 years (first story written 1916, last 1975), though, of course, I haven't read them all yet.

What I particularly like about these books is that the information is (usually) all available to the reader. This gives one the opportunity of figuring out the mystery themselves (the lack of which is the basis for my otherwise unexplainable dislike of Sherlock Holmes). Some people have complained that they can't read Christie's books because of the sheer number of supporting characters (read: suspects) in each book. I have never had a problem with that. What I do occasionally have a problem with is the utter ridiculousness of the plots. Some of them are reasonable, decent murder mysteries. Some of them, like The Big Four, which I read last night, are utterly ridiculous. While it doesn't really affect my enjoyment at the time, it does mean that I'm less likely to reread the book in question. It affects my memory of the worth of the book.

What this comes down to is: I really enjoy detective stories and I really enjoy the majority of Christie's Poirot books. I particularly like the fact that the books are set at the time she was writing and so move through the aftermath of the Great War to the 70s. I also enjoy the fact that these books do not contain graphic depictions of sex and violence, as some recent series do (I'm thinking Stephanie Plum and In Death). While I enjoy those series, that's not always what I'm in the mood for and I particularly enjoy having the choice.

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