A talent to deceive: an appreciation of Agatha Christie

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Dodd, Mead, 1980 - Literary Criticism - 213 pages
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Family in Unexpected Places

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Dinah Taylor and Garret Miller are professionals with busy careers who find themselves drawn into the world of Jonah and his dog, Mutt. Through a turn of events, Dinah finds herself in a guardianship ... Read full review

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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
 

Contents

The Road to Mayhem Parva
21
VII
75
VIII
99
Copyright

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About the author (1980)

British writer, Robert Barnard was born in 1936 in Essex, England. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, he was a professor. He writes primarily mystery novels. His most recent novels include "A Cry from the Dark," "The Bones in the Attic," "The Mistress of Alderley," and "Unholy Dying." His works has earned him numerous awards. Among them are the Nero Wolfe, Anthony, Agatha, Edgar and Macavity Awards. In 2003, he won the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for a lifetime of achievement. Barnard currently resides in Leeds, England.