A Talent to Deceive: An Appreciation of Agatha Christie

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Studies the thrillers and crime novels of Agatha Christie, analyzing her masterful solutions, strategems of deception, and ability to divert the reader's attention from the matter of real importance and revealing her racial and class prejudices.

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User Review  - sgerbic - LibraryThing

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 ... 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

Their Aim Is World Domination
11
The Road to Mayhem Parva
21
Surprise Surprise
37
Copyright

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About the author (1980)

Robert Barnard 1936-2013 Robert Barnard was born in Essex, England on November 23, 1936. He read English at Balliol College, Oxford. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, he was a professor. His first novel, Death of an Old Goat, was published in 1974. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 40 books including A Cry from the Dark, The Bones in the Attic, Posthumous Papers, Death in a Cold Climate, Sheer Torture, Political Suicide, The Missing Brontė, The Corpse at the Haworth Tandoori, and A Charitable Body. He also wrote an illustrated biography of Emily Brontė and A Brontė Encyclopedia, compiled with Louise Barnard. He received numerous awards including the Nero Wolfe, Anthony, Agatha, Edgar and Macavity Awards. In 2003, he won the CWA Diamond Dagger Award for a lifetime of achievement. He died on September 19, 2013 at the age of 76.

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