Agatha Christie: Power and Illusion by R.A. York

By R.A. York

This examine exhibits how she sought to reconcile her attachment to the Victorian earlier along with her attractiveness of a brand new society that undermined establishment and in doing so gave extra possibilities to ladies, harassed class-boundaries, prolonged tolerance, allowed the cult of delight and self-assertion and published the ambiguities of respectability.

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This, it has to be admitted, despite all the controversy at the time of the publication, is fair enough. But there are other details that call for some comment. In Chapter 1, he mentions that his sister unreasonably suspects Mrs Ferrars of poisoning her husband. Two pages later he admits that he accepts her view to some extent. In fact, he must agree with the most important point of it, namely that Mrs Ferrars did in fact, as he well knows, poison her husband. In the following chapter, he remembers feeling concerned when he saw Mrs Ferrars in close conversation with Ralph Paton, and at a later meeting is relieved at the frankness of Ralph’s greeting; at the end of the book this obscure anxiety is clarified when he admits that he feared that she was telling Ralph that he himself was blackmailing her.

An ingenious false self-incrimination appears in The Hollow: Gerda Christow shoots her husband. She then hides the gun and is found clutching another gun by the family and acquaintances who rush to the scene. There is doubt as to whether even Gerda (who has cultivated a The Wrong Angle 31 reputation for being more stupid than she really is) could be so stupid as not to throw away the weapon in time, and this is apparently confirmed when it is proved that the gun she was holding was not the one used in the murder.

He was a man of bad character and alleged to have sold his soul to the devil, and was therefore known as Old Nick; his devoted granddaughter is accordingly known as Young Nick. This has the simple plot advantage of giving her a name unrelated to her baptismal name; symbolically it hints that she is the creation of the grandfather and may have sold her soul like him. Three prominent characters in Hercule Poirot’s Christmas are really someone else: Stephen Farr purports to be the son of an old friend of the victim, but he is really the victim’s own son; Pilar purports to be the victim’s granddaughter, but she is in fact an acquaintance of the real girl, now dead; Sugden, the policeman who investigates the crime, is really another son of the victim and is his murderer.

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