I don’t read many living authors — not intentionally, it’s just that the current trend of a lot of fiction doesn’t intersect with my tastes very often — and so I’m saved the concern of how they comport themselves on a daily basis and how this impacts my feelings about them. But following a comment by Dan at The Reader is Warned about a comment made by John Dickson Carr in She Died a Lady (1943), I got to thinking about the above question.
And so I enter the final decalogue of Agatha Christie’s works — from here to Miss Marple’s Final Cases (1979) — with a return visit to Thomas ‘Tommy’ Beresford and his wife Prudence, known (for reasons I genuinely cannot recall; someone will doubtless enlighten me in the comments) as Tuppence. The Beresfords are unique in Christie canon in that they are the only repeating characters who seem to age in real time, and in doing so they provide an overview of Dame Agatha’s writing career in just a handful of books.
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…
Following the spoiler-filled discussion about John Dickson Carr’s The Ten Teacups last week, I’d like to make a slightly regular feature of that kind of thing because, well, some excellent points were raised and I enjoyed it immensely. Since my good friend Brad of AhSweetMysteryBlog and I have been throwing about the idea of a Carr vs. Christie post for a while now, that seems like the sensible place to go next. Not with the intent of picking who is best — that’s Carr, obviously 😉 — but more to compare these two and see where they meet, where they diverge, and what we think can be said about the two finest proponents of the detective novel art.
Much like being stuck with that one relative who wishes to recount every event of note from their life regardless of how interested you appear, my reminiscing about the beginnings of my detective fiction reading continues. This week, with my oft-mentioned fondness for an impossible crime, I’m going to attempt to recall the first few, faltering steps I made into the subgenre. So, let’s see now…
The first month of 2017 sees The Tuesday Night Bloggers — again, it’s not a closed group, you’re welcome to pitch in whenever you like — reflecting on firsts, debuts, starting points, and anything else that lends itself to the beginning of something (provided it’s detective fiction-related, of course). So I thought I’d get all dewy-eyed over not just my first Christie but also my first classic detective novel ever, the entry-level drug that started me on this path to blogging, obsessing over obscure classics, and spending every spare moment in second-hand bookshops.
Following a recent post on John Dickson Carr’s The Lost Gallows over at The Green Capsule, I was reminded of just how much I love a séance in fiction. Now, to be clear, I’m with Charlie Brooker on psychics and other such manipulative awfulness, but have a real love of sleight of hand and up-close magic (as perhaps evinced in my enthusiasm for fair play detective fiction and impossible crimes therein) and a debunked séance is often a great way to explore the little ways a set of circumstances can be misrepresented, and often some fascinating insights come out of it.
So, here are five great séances from detective fiction, alpabetically by author.