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Reviewed Jan 2005
Barnard attempts to show shy Christie should be appreciated. He quotes critics who compare her books to novels and wolds of fictions nothing like the detective story. He takes the side of the prosecution using the critics arguments.
The problem I had with this book it that the author assumes the reader has an extensive literature background (as well as French) often quoting other works and comparing Christie to other authors. I have never heard of these other people so I lost a lot of understanding.
Barnard's point is that Christie is not "trying to write 'Crime and Punishment.' Agatha Christie is a teller of popular tales." (p. 108) Critics are missing to the point and work like Christies should be held to a different standard than most novels.
Another main point of Barnard's is that Christie does not totally "color-in" her characters and settings. The reader is able to picture for themselves, "drawing on their own experiences" p.117. this way the reader remembers the "tricks" Christie uses to fool them and personalize the story. "Christie was it (evil) in our wives, our friends, the quite circle of which we are a part. And perhaps thereby she made us sense it in ourselves." p. 126
Review: A Talent to Deceive: An Appreciation of Agatha ChristieUser Review - Mary Ronan Drew - Goodreads
Robert Barnard is one of my favorite creators of detective fiction (if you haven't read Fete Fatale, do so immediately.) A graduate of Balliol, he is not your run-of-the-mill mystery writer. He has ... Read full review