Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I Love Agatha Christie and Come, Tell Me How You Live

I can't remember when I first read an Agatha Christie mystery, or which one for that matter, but I do remember the first time I felt completely transported by a novel so quickly I hardly noticed I was entering a world that was both glamorous, dangerous, and teaming with mystery. Agatha Christie's writing was the first I encountered to be completely spellbinding while at the same time so full of real, complex, and entertaining characters. Over the years I think I've read between 20-30 of her novels and have never been disappointed, no matter the setting, the crime, or which of her famous detectives the particular novel featured I always feel as part of her world. She seemed to have an ability like none other at creating perfectly a world with many layers and characters, passions and motivations, and of course crime, effortlessly. She maintained this wonderful skill while never lowering herself to bending the rules or either good crime writing or portraying a world in which right and wrong may be tampered with. She had a keen understanding of human psychology and motivation, but she never let a sympathetic murderer make murder alright.

I recently finished Agatha Christie's travel memoir, Come, Tell Me How You Live, about her time spent with her archeologist husband in the Middle East before the Second World War. It was a perfect time capsule of what life was like in a time one can hardly imagine now. She captures the environment perfectly, she tells humorous stories of herself, husband, and all who help their expedition, she depicts the people of the region honestly and with beauty. The reader comes away with an intense picture of what travel really meant. She may have been a Dame of the Empire, but she certainly wasn't travelling in a five-star fashion.

But I especially loved her candour. Agatha is blunt, opinionated, funny. A girl after my own heart. I can't help but love her even more for knowing that in real life she was more than willing to call a spade a spade, make a joke at her own expense, and use her keen power of observation when meeting new people. I wish we could have met, or at least enjoyed a weekend party at a country house together - no murder necessary!

Come, Tell Me How You Live is a must read for any travel lover no matter your feelings on Agatha Christie, and if you love her famous mysteries it is a special treat to read how she saw the world, and her life.

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  1. I've always felt the same way about Christie - I think at last count I was at 46 of her 80+ mysteries. I will definitely check this one out per your suggestion! I knew she wrote a couple plays in addition to her detective stories but I've never heard of this one. Thank you!

  2. If I lived in the great white North, I'd hope it would be close to to so I could live down the street and we would have a book club of all your excellent picks.

  3. I have a friend who LOVES memoirs. I might give her this one as a present. Do you watch Dr. Who? Have you seen the episode with Agatha Christie?

  4. I had never read a mystery novel until late into my college years when I took a mystery lit class. Christie was on the reading list among many other greats. I didn't have high hopes for the genre, but after reading one of her books, I was really entertained. I went out and bought another (which I still have yet to read years later...)

    The point is, she changed my view on an entire genre of literature.

    Now, let's talk about the unsung hero of this post: you. The review of this book is so well written that it stands out as amazing. Great command of the language, gurl.

  5. I have read ALL her mysteries (some twice or thrice), but I've yet to read Tell Me How You Live. I should probably remedy that.


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