I discovered Agatha Christie’s books when I was in Junior High school. Between her mysteries, Tolkien’s “The Lord of The Rings” trilogy and Sir Arthur Conan’s Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series, I was solidly on the path to becoming a life long Anglophile.
A couple years ago, I re-read as many of Christie’s books as I could find. It was like meeting an old friend at a high school reunion. My favorites are “Murder on the Orient Express” and “And Then There Were None” which was her best-selling novel. I left her book, “Curtain” for last, which seemed appropriate even though I didn’t realize it was Hercule Poirot’s last as well. Poirot is undeniably my favorite of Christie’s characters, though it was her least favorite. After watching David Suchet (who played Poirot to perfection) I then had a visual of his character and hear his succinct dialogue in my head. Too soon, I had read through all her books and will probably not pick them up again for a while.
I find it interesting that Christie’s books didn’t contain bad language, sex scenes or even gratuitous violence like most of the mysteries written today. Her novels have sold roughly four billion copies, and her estate claims that her works rank third, after those of William Shakespeare and the Bible, as the world’s most widely published books. Clearly, Christie perfected the art of mystery writing that other writers should follow.
The following audio is from a 1955 BBC interview with Agatha Christie on how to write a bestselling novel. Click here to listen