Monday, 15 September 2008

Happy Birthday, Agatha

Today is the anniversary of Agatha Christie's birth in 1890 and, although I've got a little sidetracked by Allingham, I am still reading my way through her books; I shall have to try launching a raid on the library shortly, as I only have one or two left on my TBR pile. Reading several in short succession, I've realised what a good writer she was – her dialogue in particular in excellent, and is often funny. And as I've said before, I am a huge fan of Miss Marple, who was apparently based on Christie's grandmother.

This morning it was announced on Radio 4 that Christie's grandson has found a collection of 27 half-hour tapes, made while she was working on her autobiography, in which she talks about her writing. And last night there was a new episode in the long-running ITV series with David Suchet, an adaptation of Mrs McGinty's Dead. I still have that to watch, as we were actually watching a 2006 episode last night, Taken at the Flood; it was high melodrama, quite dark and rather good – Poirot is without any of his usual sidekicks, although the local inspector is delighted to play that role. The house party that Poirot attends is a delightful collection of grotesques, with Celia Imrie relishing her part as one of the grasping family. Most of the Poirot novels and stories have now been televised with Suchet as the detective, with the likelihood of the set being completed in the future – there is only a handful of novels and a collection of short stories left now. It took me a while to warm to Suchet as Poirot but, now that I have, I find myself eagerly looking forward to them.


  1. 'Taken at the Flood' is a good adaptation isn't it?
    I think the main reason it takes a while to warm to Suchet is because he is so true to the description. Peter Ustinov could get away with being blonde and more like himself than Poirot, but Suchet does everything in minute perfection and is consequently a bit unnerving!

  2. I still need to see any of the Suchet series. I think I'll wait now until they've done them all and then hope they issue a box set I can treat myself to for Christmas one year.

  3. Oxford-reader, one of the things I wasn't quite sure about at first was the relocating from the '20s to the '30s, but it really does work with Suchet's portrayal, and it makes the stories less "period", so more immediate.

    TT, your mention of boxed sets (good idea, btw) reminds me that I must do some more trawling round for VHS episodes of Morse for my parents. They started buying random tapes from Oxfam and now I'm having to plug a lot of gaps. There isn't a single series they haven't got at least one episode from, so I can't just buy a set!

  4. I love the Suchet Poirot. I've been watching them on youtube, and am glad to hear there is a new one (I don't get them via tv)