I did not know that Mr. Curran planned a sequel to his first book about Agatha Christie's notebooks. I was in a bookstore, picking out Christie novels for my drama students as prizes for creating and performing the best murder mystery when I saw this book on the shelf and snatched it up for myself. It may seem odd to write a review when I'm just beginning the book, but I have to applaud Mr. Curran and the publishers for finding a unique hook to attract true Christie fans. To be granted a glimpse into the creative mind of a favorite author, one who in life was so reticent about her process and ideas, is a rare and happy privilege.
I began a lifelong love for Ms. Christie's work when I was ten years old and picked up a copy of "And Then There Were None." Since then, I have read all the books, bought and listened to them repeatedly in audiobooks, purchased and enjoyed the films made for movies and television, as well as the marvelous BBC adaptations of Christie's work. I empathize with the reviewer for Mr. Curran's other book who described a dream of discovering a "lost" Christie work. I have had the same dream, I assure you! I think we all wish that Mr. Curran would find larger nuggets of Christie's work that could perhaps be adapted into fully fleshed-out novels. It would be a wonderful dream come true.
Meanwhile, I am looking forward to whatever new insights into Christie's mind and work that Curran provides in this second book. For his efforts - and for my abiding gratitude to Ms. Christie for giving me so much pleasure over the past five decades, I give this book five stars!
ADDENDUM: This final paragraph marks a return to this review and a deletion of one star for two reasons: first, the presentation of this material did get tiresome as the book went on. Sometimes Mr.Curran pondered tiny points of little interest, such as how many pages in the notebooks covered a certain work. (By the time one gets to PASSENGER TO FRANKFURT, it truly doesn't matter if the novel covered five pages in notebook this and ten pages in notebook that...it's still a frighteningly bad book.) The pattern of presentation was remarkably similar from book to book, which made reading this occasionally tedious. The second reason for knocking off a star is the presence of a number of small errors (names, plot points) and questionable judgments of certain works. Of course, Mr. Curran is entitled to his opinions as a Christie expert AND a fan, even when they disagree with my opinions!! :-) If he think less of AFTER THE FUNERAL, one of my favorites, that's his business. But he makes a point of criticizing the violence of Cora's murder as unnecessary, even crass, and the violence done to the body IS most necessary, as anyone familiar with the plot could testify.