hercule poirot

365 Challenge: Day 306 – Crime (Author Alert: Agatha Christie)

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Crime: (a) an action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law, or (b) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — Agatha Christie

christie.jpg

If you are new to the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, the 365 Daily Challenge, or the Author Alert segment, check out the About Site section from the main menu. I usually feature a new author who is currently writing: I share an interview with him or her, as well as fresh content about their upcoming work and fun facts. This week, as I wasn’t able to secure a new author in time, I’ve gone retro to cover an ole favorite! Below are some key things to know about this author, but at the end of this post, you’ll see the permanent page I’ve added to my blog. You can return to check out more on who (s)he is, what she’s writing and how to buy her future work. I am pleased to present a few tidbits about the very talented Agatha Christie. 

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First, I apologize for not bringing you a new author this week. I had a few possibilities falling into place, but given their schedule and my reading schedule, we opted for posting about them later this month or in early February. So… rather than rush to read someone else’s book at the last minute (to prepare me for a new author alert), I went with one of my go-to authors for when I want to have an amazing read!

I can’t imagine there is anyone out there who doesn’t know who Agatha Christie is… perhaps they’ve not read one of her books, or seen a TV/Film adaption, but the name must ring a bell. Just in case… huge fiction writer in the early/mid 20th century known as England’s Grand Dame of mysteries. She’s produced ~70 books in her lifetime, many focused on popular characters such as Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and Tommy & Tuppence; however, there are also non-series books that are as equally compelling.

Miss Christie herself also had a bit of a mystery when she disappeared for months. To this day, many people still wonder whether it was staged or real. It’s an interesting story because she was considered quite famous at the time — no one would believe she’d stage such a thing, but then again… think about all her characters! I’ll leave it at that… let you have a bit of a puzzle to go in search of what really happened.

Mystery fiction is my favorite genre, and it’s because of Agatha Christie. The ingenuity built into the plots is often so clever, you will never be able to guess it; yet when you finally get to the reveal, it makes 100% perfect sense. In “And Then There Were None,” my all-time favorite of her books, ten people are invited to an island where one-by-one, they are murdered according to a poem they found in the remote house. It’s a bit of a controversial book in that the title was changed a few times; it had previously been called ‘Ten Little Indians,’ but far worse, it once held a name using the nasty ‘n’ word. Although it was ~100 years ago, and didn’t necessarily have as bad/awful/shameful a connotation as it’s grown to have, it was still a shock when I learned about it years ago. As it’s clearly WRONG, I won’t go into it anymore, but it did give me some concern when reading the books. Ignoring that for a moment (as the plot is purely about murder and revenge), the story is absolutely top notch.

When I need something brilliant and curious, I will always turn to a Christie. I love the inherent English tradition within them. When they visit the Middle East or India, it’s quite eye-opening to see how people (both the English and the native inhabitants) behaved in foreign lands at that time. Some of the dialogue and words are peculiar, which makes me want to look up more about the culture to get a better sense of reality. It’s engaging and analytical. I can usually push through one of her novels over 3 hours in one sitting, as you don’t want to put them down.

If you’ve never read a Christie, but want to… ask for a recommendation! If you want to buddy-read one with me this year, let me know. I’d love to share this author with others and have a great discussion about their beauty. And we can use our ‘little grey cells’ together.

 

Links To Learn More About Miss Christie

Goodreads

Amazon

Author Site

 

I’ve read about 20 of her books, but you’ll see below that I only have 7 listed with reviews, as I read them too long ago to be sure I could write a proper review. Instead, I challenge myself to read another 7 in 2018 as part of my Goodreads Challenge to read 104 books this year. I wonder which ones I will select…

Books I’ve Read

  1. And Then There Were None (1939) — My favorite Christie & in my top 5 of all books

Book Series – Hercule Poirot Mysteries

  1. The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
  2. Murder on the Orient Express (1934)
  3. Death on the Nile (1937)
  4. Evil Under the Sun (1941)

Book Series – Miss Marple Mysteries

  1. The Body in the Library (1942)
  2. A Murder is Announced (1950)

Note: If there is an active link, I’ve completed a review.

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To see more about Agatha Christie on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out her dedicated author page where future content and reviews will added as I read her books.

Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.


 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: Death on the Nile

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Death on the NileBook Review
4+ out of 5 stars for Death on the Nile, a Hercule Poirot mystery published in 1937 by Agatha Christie. This is one of Christie’s better mysteries, not because of the complexity in the mystery but due to the characters she creates. No one is who they appear to be on this ship, and they are all trapped together. It’s nearly 100 years ago, so how could anyone get on or off the boat without the Captain or the rest of the staff in the know? (No, I’m not giving away a spoiler). Poirot is on vacation this time, and he is trying not to work. But when someone turns up dead, he has no choice but to solve this crime. People using different names, a killer trapped with little escape… seems easy to figure out. Add in a bit of archaeological history and all the wonderful things Christie learned on her own Egyptian trips, this is a culture storm waiting to explode. Poirot is at his best, which is usually his most annoying, of times. The upper-class and lower-class exploration in this novel crosses lines many times, as does the affairs or confusion over who is or was previously with someone else romantically. So many clues, so much fun to guess. And the film adaption does a great job at capturing the different personalities. Great one for a beginner to the series!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: The Mysterious Affair at Styles

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The Mysterious Affair at Styles
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you’ve read my reviews before, you know I love mystery fiction, and in particular, the classics. Agatha Christie died in 1976, and I was born the following year. Two things come to mind… (1) It’s a good thing I wasn’t alive when she died because I would have been so miserable to be around. (2) Since I was born just about a year later, I’m wondering if maybe a small part of her lives on… as I love her genius and her works of literature… and I can re-read her books over and over again without ever getting bored.

There are tons of reviews of all her major works, and I don’t need to be repetitive in my review. What I’d really try to get across is why you need to read ANY of her works, and then why I’d suggest this one:

1. This was one of her first books, and I believe the first published one, in 1920, which means she was probably writing it exactly 100 years ago. And though some of the language is a little different, and it takes place with a different cultural atmosphere, the crux of the story — its plot, is appropriate at any point in time. People don’t love Christie for her beautiful language or her great ideas… yeah, she had some of those… but it’s her plots and characters that stand out. And those transcend time.

2. Who else can create such a puzzle that you are constantly trying to guess what’s going on? True, tons of writers today, but not 100 years ago. And even with modern writers, it’s often in a suspense and thriller type of novel, where it’s all about the chase. Christie was all about the calm approach to solving a murder. She didn’t try to end each chapter with a big WOW and heart-wrenching scare tactic. It’s simple evolution of a timeline, collections of clues, conversations with people… and then you start to see the puzzle come together. But at the last minute, you get the unexpected twist.

3. With this first book, you meet Hercule Poirot, one of her two popular detectives. Poirot is annoying. He’s painful. He will make you angry while you are laughing. And that’s the cool part. Columbo is the best comparison I can come up with. And I’m certain Columbo was based on large part by Christie’s Poirot.

So why this book???????

It’s the first in the series. It’s a prime example of why her stories work. It’s the ultimate tale – a family with secrets. It takes place in the UK… the best place to visit and perhaps live. I don’t live there, only visited it. :}

But it’s really the slow build-up of the clues that will have your mind working overtime. So… if you need a Christie stand-alone book, go to “And Then There Were None.” If you like female investigators, choose a Miss Marple. If you like a Belgian male detective, flip a coin and pick between Murder on the Orient Express or The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Both will be a great read. But if you need to start at the beginning, go with this one to see what an author’s first book looks like. Because if I didn’t have my Christie… I’d be like…

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.


View all my reviews

Review: And Then There Were None

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And Then There Were None
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars to Agatha Christie‘s And Then There Were None. This is the book that started my absolute love of the mystery genre. I was addicted and must have read it 3 or 4 times over the course of the year. Between the poem, the deserted island, the plot twist, the count-down, the pure clandestine suspense… it couldn’t get any better.


Story

Ten people receive a mystery letter from someone they don’t know that indicates they should come to a remote island. Why would they go????? After arriving, they try to figure out the connection between all of them while waiting for their mysterious host. After coming across a cute little poem about how ten little indians die, they decide they will wait it out until the next morning when the ferry comes back to take them home. But it will never come! Each guest suddenly dies matching the line from the poem… resulting in alliances and mistrust. Pure fun.

In a masterful conclusion, the reader understands all the connections, learns why the killer chose them to die and develops a very distinct opinion on who was right and who was wrong in this story.

Amazing!


Strengths

1. Plot – can you get any better than telling the reader that 10 people will die and then guessing the order and the weapon?
2. Characters – All walks of life, all personalities. You’ll love some and hate some.


Weaknesses

1. Only that there wasn’t a follow-up…


Final Thoughts

If you are a mystery fan, you must read this. If you’ve never read Agatha Christie, this must be your first – before you tackle Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot. You must understand the master before getting hooked on any specific protagonist in one of her other series.
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Review: Murder on the Orient Express

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Murder on the Orient Express
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars to Agatha Christie‘s Murder on the Orient Express. I chose to read this Christie spectacular after finishing “And There Were None.” She’s such a treasure – never disappoints.

A train. A murder. Multiple suspects. Nearly an alibi for everyone. But wait, there’s a motive for everyone. How did this seemingly impossible murder occur? Hercule Poirot knows.

Well, I’m glad he did because I was stumped! But with good reason as this plot twist will have your knickers locked down (and not just in a bunch!).

The plot is just too delicious. The characters are just fascinating. No modern day electronics. No ability to research anything other than by asking questions. And Christie wrote this nearly 100 years ago. That’s why it’s a 5 for me — it’s pure good storytelling without anything in the way.

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Review: Evil Under the Sun

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Evil Under the Sun
Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hercule Poirot is just fun! Agatha Christie is clever and intriguing. I’ve been fascinated by her stories since I was a teenager. Evil Under the Sun is a great story – not quite her best, but certainly in the top 10. After reading the book, I watched the movie adaption given some of the actors playing the roles.

Story is good – lots of little twists and turns. In the end, I was close to figuring it out, but only because I’ve read hundreds of mysteries at this point. A good start for a new Poirot reader!

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Review: The Body in the Library

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The Body in the Library
The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It had been a while since I read an Agatha Christie novel. I combed through the list of her work and thought to myself… I’m not actually sure if I ever read this one. And it turned out, I hadn’t! Now I want to watch a TV version to see how they interpret it!

Great story. So much has been re-done from this early on work. It’s a must read for Christie fans and truly any mystery buff!

Just sorry I waited so long!

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