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Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making - Includes Two Unpublished Poirot Stories Hardcover – 3 Sep 2009
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Take a peek at the first chapter of Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks.
'Many of Curran's discoveries will shape how Christie is read in future… This book is fascinating.' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
‘Agatha Christie’s notebooks have had to wait for the meticulous attention, dedication and prodigious knowledge of John Curran to achieve publication.’ THE TIMES
‘A meticulously detailed study that is packed with shrewd perceptions about Christie's fiction… Curran has produced an enthralling miscellany of a book, in which her fans will rummage to their heart's content.' SUNDAY TIMES
'Curran has organized his material as efficiently as an Agatha Christie mystery… His enthusiasm for his subject carries us along.' IRISH TIMES
‘Something unimaginably unique: an unknown Poirot story, one that had lain silently between its covers for over 60 years.’ THE SCOTSMAN
From the Back Cover
When Agatha Christie died in 1976, at age eighty-five, she had become the world's most popular author. At the end of 2004, following the death of Christie's daughter, Rosalind, a remarkable legacy was revealed: seventy-three handwritten volumes of notes, lists, and drafts outlining all her plans for her many books, plays, and stories. Buried in this treasure trove, all in the beloved author's unmistakable handwriting, are revelations about her famous books that will fascinate anyone who has ever read or watched an Agatha Christie story.
Full of details she was too modest to reveal in her own autobiography, this remarkable book includes a wealth of excerpts and pages reproduced directly from the notebooks and her letters--plus, two complete, recently discovered Hercule Poirot short stories never before published.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product description
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Curran doesnt feel it necessary to do any pruning for the general reader, assuming everyone will need or want to know Absolutely Everything, which is not the case. The level of detail really does border on the obsessional. And the ending is very odd - no summary, no closing thoughts by the author, no "rounding up" - you come to the end very suddenly - in fact, at the end of a fairly straightforward paragraph, you turn the page to find...... nothing. Thats the end.
The claim of 2 "unpublished" Poirot stories is a bit spurious, to say the least - both were actually published but in slightly altered form to how they appear in this book.
There are no illustrations to leaven what is a very heavy mix. Certainly one for the devoted Christie scholar, but there is far too much information to process and the intrusion into the text of "text boxes" dealing with tangentially related topics to those already in the process of discussion is tiresome.
The discoveries are really very interesting. It seems that Curran's (and probably most readers of her work) image of Agatha sat endlessly typing murder after murder, book after book with the killer planned at the start isn't quite so. In fact as you get to read her notes, which John has painstakingly transcribed, you find she would often chop and change the killer as she went. The idea for a book might ruminate for years and start from a simple observation as `a stamp' the notes then look at how such an everyday item could cause someone to commit murder. Who knew that a certain famous Poirot scene was originally meant for Miss Marple? Which books didn't have the endings you and I might have read? Which short stories then with new characters and a subtle plot twist or motive change became a play or a novel? You can find all these things out and much, much more. I loved this book and found it very, very difficult to put down.
These notebooks therefore are a real find and make fascinating reading for those of us who have wondered about the background influences to her novels.
It appears that Christie was a disorganised and chaotic person in private and left ideas here,there and everywhere. This book helps us to understand her structure and her plotting. She certainly did not 'story board' her books and often left it to late in her draft before she herself chose the killer.
Her output over 55 years was amazing and she never seemed short of ideas.
This very interesting book by John Curran has helped me to appreciate her work more and to understand the techniques that she used that has often kept me guessing to the end.
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