#201: For Carr vs. Christie – Start Your Engines…

carr-vs-christie

Okay, the results of the vote for your collective choice of the best individual novel by John Dickson Carr and Agatha Christie are in, and it’s now fixed which two need to be read for the head-to-head comparison that Brad and I have planned for April.  So, after over 100 votes in each poll (though not a multiple of three in either case, despite having three votes per author…) counting down the top five, we have…

5th

 hc_burning_court_uk  a_murder_is_announced_first_edition_cover_1950

4th

 Green Capsule  evilcover__span

3rd

 Hollow Man  the-abc-murders

2nd

 pb_judas_window  roger-ackroyd

And the winners are..

carr-vs-christie-winners

Coming sometime in April 2017: how do He Who Whispers (1946) and Death on the Nile (1937) stack up?  It’s already interesting to note that both are about the same distance into the careers of their authors —  16 years and 17 years respectively: maybe that’s the golden age of a writing career, hmmm?

Okay, get reading, and we’ll see you for this in a couple of months…full spoilers, remember — be prepared!

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23 thoughts on “#201: For Carr vs. Christie – Start Your Engines…

  1. I really like the way the top five stacked up against each other – I think you got some very knowledgeable and savvy people voting! Really look forward to reading what you and Brad come up with 🙂

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    • I think they pair up quite nicely — araprt from The Burning Court (which I’ve still not read) my attitudes to each of the pairs is about the same on both sides…including where I think a book is over-praised.

      I’m especially keen to reread Death on the Nile now, too, because I remember being decidedly unimpressed wth at at the time, but it scored more than twice the votes of second-placed Ackroyd…curiouser and curiouser…

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  2. Oh no, I left my copy of “He Who Whispers” behind on my bookshelf at home, and I failed to re-read “Death on the Nile” during my vacation. In any case, I suspect “He Who Whispers” will be one of the very last – if not the last – Carr novels I read, so that everything ends with a huge bang. 😀 I’m glad “He Who Whispers” emerged at the top of the poll, as it seems to be one of the titles that most people agree to be Carr at his best – the other titles seem to have their share of fans as well as detractors.

    In some senses I’m not surprised “Roger Ackroyd” emerged at the second place. It’s exceptionally clever – but not quite as multi-faceted as some of the other titles. Perhaps Christie’s most memorable title, but probably not her best from a wholistic standpoint? Incidentally, I don’t recall being overly fond of “Evil under the Sun”…

    The biggest surprise for me was that “Till Death Do Us Part” didn’t make the top 5. I haven’t read as many Carr titles as Puzzle Doctor – but I would also have ranked it at the very top of the ones I’ve read. I certainly liked it a fair bit more than “Judas Window”.

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    • I’m very pleased to see how high Evil Under the Sun rates, because it’s a novel I have a huge affection for and think to be one of the finest of Christie’s intircate puzzle plots. I doubt my perception of it sometimes, however, since I read it — a murder mystery set on a holiday island full of strangers — while on holiday on a Greek island surrounded by strangers…frankly it was the perfect book for the occasion! Still, I suppose this kind of echoing doesn’t always improve a book: One, Two Buckle My Shoe is doubtless not enhanced by being read in a dentist’s waiting room, nor Desintation Unknown whil being…indcuted into a..secret organisation of scientists who…yeah, okay, that doesn’t really compare.

      Imagine reading Death in the Clouds on a long-haul flight, though, or ANd The There Were None while being killed off one at a time on an isoated island — almost worth it for the experience that would provide 😀

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      • I think someone being killed on an isle might not have the time to read “And Then There Were None”; incidentally, I first read it onboard a long flight, and the claustrophobia of being on a plane probably made it more intense…!

        Incidentally, until I read “Peril at End House”, I mistakenly assumed that there was danger at the ends of my house. Being a young child this error made me fearful of lingering at the ends of my house…!

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      • P.S. Cheeky thought… The five sets of titles largely boast of an excellent sampling of Carr’s and Christie’s writing – why not have five rounds of battle between you and Brad? I meant, five rounds between Carr and Christie? Surely a square-off between giants cannot be resolved easily…

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        • I don’t think five rounds would be that interesting after a while, plus there’s so much else to read and write about as well. But, let’s see; HWW & DotN first, and if there’s any interest in doing more we can go from there…

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        • Any chance of revealing the full results for both polls…? Would be curious to know how ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ fared, as well as some of the other titles.

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        • In some cases books got the same number of votes, but broadly speaking it looks likes this outside of the top 5:

          13: Wrong Answers & Vicarage
          12: Nine & Library
          11: Teacups & Styles
          10: Plague Court & Seven Dials
          9: Snuffbox & Pigs
          8: Suicides & Funeral [fittingly…]
          7: Till Death & Crooked
          6: Died a Lady & Orient Express

          There were overall more votes in the Carr poll, which is encouraging for those of us who hope there’s enough interest to see him reprinted at some point, but everything in both polls received at least one vote, so every book here is in someone’s top 3. Which is nice.

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  3. I can’t argue with the way the vote went, the result is a showdown involving two exceptionally good books. While there could be a case made for other titles deserving the top spot, we’d be into hair-splitting territory and HWW & DotN easily represent the two authors at the top of their game.

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  4. I only read HWW a year ago, if that, and it shot to the top of my favorites list. Nile has always been a favorite, consistently one of my top five Christies. I see some interesting parallels between them, at the same time that they are quite different. I think the decades in which they were written make that difference. Now, if we were comparing HWW to Five Little Pigs . . .

    Oh, am I supposed to stow it till April?

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  5. It is saddening to see The Burning Court in the fifth position. I was hoping it would emerge the winner. Black Spectacles and He Who Whispers are definitely NOT my favourites. Happy about Death on the Nile, though. Looking forward to the bout.

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    • Burning Court is the one I haven’t yet read, so it would have been interesting to take on something new, but since I haven’t yet got a copy that also would have made tings a little difficult at my end. My memories of Nile are sketchy and not at all positive, so my intrigue increases even more to learn how much people seem to think about it — it ran away with the vot from day 1, and nothing else ever got close to catching up…

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