By Richard York
How comfortable are Agatha Christie's novels? they could appear to depict a strong international of admire for culture, shared tradition, settled gender and sophistication roles, political conservatism and unambiguous morality, within which cause suffices to manage illness. yet this global is threatened by means of modernity and uncertainty: battle, social mobility, extremist politics, ethical liberalization. favorite electorate could be criminals, detectives will not be absolutely not like murderers, social existence is essentially theatrical, and violence can result in concord.
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Extra resources for Agatha Christie: Power and Illusion (Crime Files)
Each of these layers of pretence has its own level of malice, and when the imposter takes action by threatening a relative of the wife, his manner is extremely sinister. As a Actors and Imposters 37 further complication, it proves that the wife is not really the wife, but an independent imposter. Letty in A Murder is Announced is really her sister Lotty, who has dishonestly claimed the money left to her sister, now dead, by her employer. Of the five other people in her household, Julia is not Letty’s distant cousin but a relative of the dead millionaire Randall Goesler, and Philippa is not a war widow but the wife of a deserter and the twin sister of Julia.
The novel as a genre has been plausibly claimed to derive from such an individualistic humanism, and criticized as such; Christie too has been criticized for her excessive concern with the personal and 32 Agatha Christie: Power and Illusion indifference to historical and class forces. We shall be concerned later with these views, which are not unfounded; at this point we shall be noting that her novels, while undoubtedly rooted in a conception of the free individual, may also be seen as inviting some scepticism about it.
Real crimes may not involve illusion; the perpetrator may be immediately obvious, or there may simply be no immediate information as to who he or she is, requiring the police to search for clues and witnesses to lead them to a yet unknown person. In the detective story, there is plenty of information, but it needs to be interpreted; the detective has to sort out the relevant from the irrelevant and arrange the relevant information into a coherent pattern. Above all, the detective has to distinguish the true information from the false.
Agatha Christie: Power and Illusion (Crime Files) by Richard York