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The Complete Christie: An Agatha Christie Encyclopedia: An Agatha Christie Encyclopaedia [Paperback]

Matthew Bunson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2000

Which poison was used most frequently in Agatha Christie's novels? How many of her novels featured a butler? Exactly where on the train were the suspects located in Murder on the Orient Express? How many actors have portrayed Hercule Poirot?

Get a clue. . .or a lot of them, in
THE COMPLETE CHRISTIE
simply the most comprehensive guide to the life and works of the immortal Dame Agatha Christie.

Join author Matthew Bunson, whose Encyclopedia Sherlockiana was compared to "a box of the best chocolates" by mystery author Anne Perry, in this entertaining and highly enjoyable tour of the vast world of mystery created by Christie, and discover. . .

  • a comprehensive biography of Christie, including new theories on her strange disappearance in 1926
  • plot synopses that offer colorful capsules of the stories (without giving away the solutions!)
  • A-to-Z entries on characters from vicars to butlers, police sergeants to maids, each cross-referenced to the story or novel
  • detailed listings of all films, television programs, radio shows, and documentaries of Christie and her works
  • up-to-date entries on the most recent releases of previously unpublished Christie writings
  • sixty illustrations, including book covers, shots from movies, and stage productions. Whether you've read every title in the giant Christie canon, or are just discovering her writing, The Complete Christie reveals in delectable detail why the mystique, fascination, and brainteasing fun of the mysteries penned by the century's most successful writing remain forever undiminished.

  • Frequently Bought Together

    The Complete Christie: An Agatha Christie Encyclopedia: An Agatha Christie Encyclopaedia + Agatha Christie: An Autobiography + Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making
    Price For All Three: £32.70

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    Product details

    • Paperback: 468 pages
    • Publisher: Pocket Books (1 Sep 2000)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0671028316
    • ISBN-13: 978-0671028312
    • Product Dimensions: 24 x 19 x 2.5 cm
    • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 707,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

    More About the Author

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    Product Description

    About the Author

    Matthew Bunson is the author or coauthor of more than twenty books, including a variety of references such as the acclaimed Encyclopedia Sherlockiana and The Vampire Encyclopedia. His most recent book is Prophecies 2000: Predictions, Revelations, and Visions for the New Millennium. He is also the author of Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Catholic History, Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire, and The Wisdom Teachings of the Dalai Lama. He has also served as a consultant to documentaries on the Arts & Entertainment Channel and the BBC.

    Inside This Book (Learn More)
    First Sentence
    PUBLISHING HISTORY: First published by William Collins Sons and Co., Ltd., London, 1936. Read the first page
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    Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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    Customer Reviews

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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
    Format:Hardcover
    There is a lot the Agatha Christie fan will like about this work. I particularly like the plot summaries, and I suspect many other readers will as well. These provide just enough of the plot to set the stage for, or recall the core of the story if previously read, without giving away the stories' solutions. This was not an easy task.

    However, not infrequently the summaries contain factual errors. As but one example, in the summary of "Hercule Poirot's Christmas', the author provides the location for this story as Gossington Hall when the location is actually Gorston Hall. The author also mentions this title was reprinted in paperback as "A Holiday for Murder". Although published with this title in paperback," it was also reprinted with this title in hardcover in 1983, as one of the volumes in "The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection". Although "The Complete Christie" has a copyright date of 2000, no hardbound edition of "A Holiday for Murder" is mentioned. There are a number of similar inadvertent errors and oversights throughout the work.

    Fortunately, the majority of errors will be obvious to Christie fans, and there is enough new information so fans will find this book worth reading and referencing. The plot summaries take up over 1/3 of the book with "The Characters" section, a brief description of the characters in Christie's stories, taking up about 1/2 of the book. The remaining major section of the book is devoted to "Film, Television, Stage, and Actors" associated with the adaptation of Christie's works. This last section contains the greatest density of black and white pictures from various adaptations, although there are pictures sparsely scattered elsewhere in this work.

    Bottom line: Really 3 1/2 stars.
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    5.0 out of 5 stars Agatha Christie rules!! 8 Aug 2012
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    A really, really good book for AC true fans. Full of information about characters (even down to the lowliest maid), plots, AC herself, etc. I thought I had her whole collection, but I am now sure there are books I haven't read. More sales for Amazon!!
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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
    Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
    32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable tome for Christieholics 29 Oct 2000
    By David Spanswick - Published on Amazon.com
    Format:Paperback
    If you are a Christie fan you must have this book. Once you start dipping you will not stop and once you start to cross-reference you'll end up being late for work. This dedicated addition to the Christie files is just great. It contains not only references to just about every character that ever appeared in a book by Agatha christe but has film references, T.V. references. (Will somebody please help me find the now lost "Agatha Christie Hour" programmes) as well as theatrical references.
    If you buy only one non-fiction Chritie reference book you will not be dissapointed with Matthew Bunson's brilliant hommage as no better critique could you find than a dedicated fan who would go to this much trouble. Thanks, Matthew, hope you sell loads
    16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars Many errors, little depth. 27 Jun 2010
    By Bradley Friedman - Published on Amazon.com
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    I must confess that I am writing this without having finished every page of this work. I commend any author for attempting to sort out and cross-reference every character and piece of writing, along with film and TV adaptations, of as prolific an author as Agatha Christie. But I have two complaints. The first is that, so far in my reading, there have been a great many silly errors throughout, ranging from wholly incorrect names to the misidentification of a character's position in a novel (in one example, a person is listed as a victim when in reality that person is the killer!), to incorrect details in plot. For a long-standing fan of Dame Agatha's work, the relatively large amount of errors suggests sloppy research and makes the author's methods suspect.

    The other point that strikes me is that I am not sure who the author considers his intended audience for this book. The entries of the novels are particularly light in terms of fact or discussion. They tend to describe the beginnings of the stories in great detail and then end quickly with "And then Poirot solves the case. The notes following these synopses are often quite brief, with a casual mention of of trivia ("This novel demonstrates Christie's knowledge of poisons) or a recounting of an anecdote well-known to real Christie fans, such as an explanation for why a particular book was dedicated to a particular person. I suppose these stories would be of most interest to new readers of Christie, although why they would be reading this book rather than the novels and stories themselves is puzzling to me. For a person such as myself who has made a study of Christie's work and read each book many times with pleasure, he or she should be warned that Bunson's work doesn't offer much insight into Christie's mind, style, much less any new "fun facts" about our favorite novels.

    When the author moves from the section on novels to the one on characters, the errors become deeper, not just ones of fact but of, I assume, perception. Here's an example: Maude Abernethie, a character from "After the Funeral," one of my favorite Christie novels: "An imperious member of the ... family....She is the very dominant wife of Timothy Abernethie, and uses her position to keep her husband under her control. It thus comes as a terrible blow to her when she breaks her ankle and is forced to employ the cook and housekeeper, Mrs. Gilchrist, thereby losing a little control over her husband." I don't see how anyone could interpret Maude as a dominant character. She is completely under the thumb of her hypochondriacal husband and does everything she can to protect his interests. HE controls HER. And to add a little period to the mistakes, the author has married off MISS Gilchrist! I know I sound picky, but a true fan of Christie has a right to expect accuracy, if not enlightenment.

    I can't ask for a book to be something it's not, but I long for a book that really analyzes Christie's work. I know it's usually considered forbidden to reveal endings, (I wouldn't mind this at all, since I know all the solutions!), but a look at Christie's observations of British society through an analysis of her characters and plots would be fascinating to me. Even an encyclopedia that delves a bit more into a plot or a character than this work does would have been more enjoyable for this big time Christie fan to read.
    25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you wanted to know about Christie 10 Sep 2000
    By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
    Format:Paperback
    Let me start out by saying I have not read every page in this homage to the great Ms. Christie. Instead, over the past few couple of weeks I have looked up the detailed descriptions of items of interest to me like the list of television shows, stage performances, and movies created from one of Ms. Christie's works. That is the beauty of thisencyclopedia. Fans of the author and readers of mysteries can easily pick and choose their personal preferences. Besides the above, Matthew Bunson provides a detailed synopsis of each novel and short story, and a brief description of each character (I cannot argue if it is not complete) that ever appeared in one of these works.

    THE COMPLETE CHRISTIE: AN AGATHA CHRISTIE ENCYCLOPEDIA is a fun piece of work that will provide much enjoyment to fans of Ms. Christie. Perhaps the only drawback to this wonderful book is a lack of a table of contents tied to the wonderful listings in the appendices that would enable casual fans to do even more specific digging.

    Harriet Klausner
    8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Great Guide With No Story Spoilers 3 July 2007
    By Deborah McGrane - Published on Amazon.com
    Format:Paperback
    A very straight-forward guide to the characters and stories of Agatha Christie. One of the best things about this book is that it does not spoil any of the mysteries. Plots are briefly recapped and characters lightly sketched, but the endings are never revealed. One or two character entries might provide clues as to "who done it," but other than that, this is a great book.
    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars This book provides an excellent overview of Christie's work, but with more errors than expected 19 Sep 2010
    By One-Reader - Published on Amazon.com
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    There is a lot the Agatha Christie fan will like about this work. I particularly like the plot summaries, and I suspect many other readers will as well. These provide just enough of the plot to set the stage for, or recall the core of the story if previously read, without giving away the stories' solutions. This was not an easy task.

    However, not infrequently the summaries contain factual errors. As but one example, in the summary of "Hercule Poirot's Christmas', the author provides the location for this story as Gossington Hall when the location is actually Gorston Hall. The author also mentions this title was reprinted in paperback as "A Holiday for Murder'. Although published with this title in paperback," it was also reprinted with this title in hardcover in 1983, as one of the volumes in "The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection". Although "The Complete Christie" has a copyright date of 2000, no hardbound edition of "A Holiday for Murder" is mentioned. There are a number of similar inadvertent errors and oversights throughout the work.

    Fortunately, the majority of errors will be obvious to Christie fans, and there is enough new information so fans will find this book worth reading and referencing. The plot summaries take up over 1/3 of the book with "The Characters" section, a brief description of the characters in Christie's stories, taking up about 1/2 of the book. The remaining major section of the book is devoted to "Film, Television, Stage, and Actors" associated with the adaptation of Christie's works. This last section contains the greatest density of black and white pictures from various adaptations, although there are pictures sparsely scattered elsewhere in this work.

    Bottom line: Really 3 1/2 stars. Containing lots of interesting details, and a work I still reference. With more careful editing and fact checking before release, it would easily have earned five stars. Even with its problems still a worthwhile purchase for the Christie enthusiast.
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