I love detective fiction. Particularly detective fiction from the Golden Age of crime writing. And yet I have never read a single book written by Agatha Christie. It seems like a strange omission; worse than that, a positive crime against my literary completism. Some kind of investigation into this anomaly is clearly indicated.
I believe that part of the problem is superabundance. Agatha Christie’s books are everywhere; in every bookshop; every charity shop; on the internet in every edition imaginable. They are boringly easy to obtain; which, in part, I have conflated into believing that they are also boringly easy to read.
And then there is the issue that I feel like I already know all the stories without having to read the actual books; I have watched too many film and TV adaptations of her novels to be able to exhibit any surprise at the disclosure of the crime at the end of Death on the Nile or Murder on the Orient Express.
Both Poirot and Miss Marple, not to mention Tommy and Tuppence, have been ubiquitous characters in my life without turning a single page of the written word.
Do I feel any sense of guilt in overlooking such a major figure of 20th century literature? When I come to examine my feelings on this point, I think the answer, rather surprisingly, is ‘no’. Instead, in its place there is almost a sense of pride; a cussed pig-headedness to not be forced into reading Agatha Christie simply because of a community peer-pressure.
The silly thing is that if I started reading one of Agatha Christie’s book I am sure that I would enjoy it but, in the same perverse way that I refuse to subscribe to Amazon Prime, even though I know that it would save me money, I have taken a stand against Agatha Christie from which I am not easily to be shifted.
My loss, I know.
© Fergus Longfellow
Fergus Longfellow never said he was logical.