Mystery Loves Company

Dear Readers, Dorothy cannot blog this month, so since we know you like your regular dose of her insight and humor, we are rerunning a post from a few years back that you might enjoy discovering or rereading. What are your thoughts about whether Agatha Christie’s novels were cozy or had a dark underside?

Dorothy Cannell: A few weeks ago a friend from England came to visit and gave me, fullsizerender_2perhaps in hope of breakfast in bed, a page from The Times, Monday October 3, 2016 written by David Sanderson under the headline “And Then There were … Plenty.” Set below is the opener:

“The best known novels of Agatha Christie are being revived for new film and TV audiences writes David Sanderson…. For once the culprit is obvious. It was Agatha Christie in her study with an astonishing output of drama and intrigue.

         “The author’s murder mysteries are set for a multi-million pound, 21st century makeover after her estate signed a string of film and television deals. The names in the frame are a who’s who of Hollywood including Sir Kenneth Branagh, Ben Affleck, Dame Judi Dench and Johny Depp.

“There are at least four feature films in the pipeline, plus a seven-programme adaptation deal with BBC, and another Hercule Poirot continuation novel.”

In my thoroughly biased opinion as an enthusiast of Christie’s work I think this news calls for a National Day (if not year) of The Mystery. What mainstream writer of her era is in her league when it comes to garnering fans not born until yeaCrs after her death in 1976? To have escaped becoming dated, as has been the fate of many from her era, is an inspiration to today’s mystery writers.

A quote from Hilary Strong, chief executive of Agatha Christie Limited, caught my attention:

“There is a darkness to the work that has not necessarily been interpreted by the film makers before…And Then There Were None is actually the grandmother of horror.”…. She was a social historian, and there is the wonderful sense of humour. Sir Kenneth [Branagh], who is directing and starring in a new film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, agreed that there was an edge to Christie’s work. He described the novel as ‘mysterious, compelling and upsetting,’ adding that he was honoured to be bringing ‘these dark materials to life for a new audience.’’’

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-2-03-20-pmI have frequently been involved in writers’ chit-chat as to whether Cristie’s mysteries can be labeled cozies. My take on The Body in the Library has long been cozy title to fit setting and grim plot, and that’s what I took from this article – that she can’t be slotted into any niche. She was the whole package – unique until some other writer can work out how she wove her magic.

Upcoming Feature Films: Murder on the Orient express; Witness for the Prosecution, And Then Were None, Crooked House.

BBC TV Adaptions: Ordeal by Innocence, Death Comes As The End, The ABC Murders.

On a personal note, huge thanks to PBS for the many wonderful British programs they provide. Currently loving Poldark and The Dr. Blake Mysteries on Thursday nights.

All best wishes, Dorothy

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8 Responses to Mystery Loves Company

  1. I’m so thrilled to hear of the new cinema deals for Agatha’s marvelous stories. Been a big fan for too many years to count. My one hope is that Hollywood does her work justice and sticks to the storylines. Poldark is fab and love, love, love the Drake mysteries, along with Miss Fisher. I write cozies and while I’m certainly not Agatha Christie, my work is also on the cusp of grim. 😀

  2. Gram says:

    Love Agatha!

  3. I love Dr Blake as well. I subscribed to Acorn which is UK TV, and I am discovering some wonderful series.

    As to Agatha–I adore her. I write a thesis about her. She is undervalued as a writer in so many ways. I wouldn’t put her in a cozy frame, ever. Traditional? Yes. Also romantic suspense, stand alone thrillers…the whole package.

    I look forward to the new movies, sort of. Of late, there has been a changing of plots that makes me cranky. So we shall see.

    Thanks for the great post!

  4. Dorothy, thank you so much for this post. I’ve long thought that the old movies didn’t do justice to Christie’s darker side–or her humor. Can’t wait for the new films!

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