The Detective Fiction of Agatha Christie

“Her gift is pure genius, of leading the reader by the nose in a zigzag course up the garden and dropping the lead just when she wishes him to scamper to the kill.”

– Torquemada, Observer, 6th January 1935

“She is surely the neatest plotter we have.”

– Nicholas Blake, Spectator, 17th June 1938

“Roll over on your back like a wasp immobilised by a spider-bite in the thoracic ganglion, and enjoy the unfair, paralysing stab of surprise.”

– Maurice Richardson, Observer, 17th May 1953

Agatha Christie (1890—1976) was without any doubt the best-known writer of detective stories (Sherlock Holmes is better known than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle): her plots are very often brilliant; her characterisation at the very least solid, and very often solid, excelling in miniature portraits; and her ability to lead the reader gleefully up the garden path comparable to very few. However, those few are rarely compared to her—instead, we see Christie compared to Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham, and, less understandably, Ruth Rendell, to P.D. James, and to English muffins. It is one of the aims of this site not only to celebrate Christie's own out-put, but to see it in the light of her contemporaries: as a member of the Detection Club, and as a contemporary of G.D.H. & M. Cole, G.K. Chesterton, Nicholas Blake, John Dickson Carr and Anthony Berkeley.


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These pages copyright Nicholas Lester Fuller, 2001--2002.  Updated 4th December 2004.