Words in Pictures: Agatha Christie

The prolific crime writer on her leading hero and heroine.

 

This week marked the 75th anniversary of Penguin Books, the Bristol-launched publisher founded for the purpose of making good quality contemporary fiction affordable in paperback form.

Included in the first batch of ten publications produced under the Bodley Head imprint was Agathe Christie's first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which introduced the long-running character detective Hercule Poirot, later to appear in 33 of Christie's novels and 54 short stories.

In this animated audio clip, recorded whilst the author was writing her autobiography in the mid 1960's, Christie discusses both Poirot and her long-serialised female protagonist, Miss Marple, first introduced in The Tuesday Night Club (1927). Christie explains why Poirot and Marple could never have appeared in the same story.

"Hercule Poirot, a complete egoist, would not like being taught his business or having suggestions made to him by an elderly spinster lady", she says.

 

 

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Brexit… Leg-sit

A new poem by Jo-Ella Sarich. 

Forgot Brexit. An ostrich just walked into the room. Actually,
forget ostriches too. Armadillos also have legs, and shoulder plates
like a Kardashian.  Then I walked in, the other version of me, the one
with legs like wilding pines, when all of them

are the lumberjacks. Forget forests. Carbon sinks are down
this month; Switzerland is the neutral territory
that carved out an island for itself. My body
is the battleground you sketch. My body is
the greenfield development, and you
are the heavy earthmoving equipment. Forget
the artillery in the hills
and the rooftops opening up like nesting boxes. Forget about

the arms race. Cheekbones are the new upper arms
since Michelle lost out to Melania. My cheekbones
are the Horsehead Nebula and you are the Russians
at warp speed. Race you to the finish. North Korea

will go away if you stop thinking
about it. South Korea will, too. Stop thinking
about my sternum. Stop thinking about
the intricacy of my mitochondria. Thigh gaps
are the new wage gaps, and mine is like
the space between the redwood stand
and the plane headed for the mountains. Look,

I’ve pulled up a presentation
with seven different eschatologies
you might like to try. Forget that my arms
are the yellow tape around the heritage tree. Forget
about my exoskeleton. Forget
that the hermit crab
has no shell of its own. Forget that the crab ever
walked sideways into the room.
Pay attention, people.

Jo-Ella Sarich is a New Zealand-based lawyer and poet. Her poems have appeared in the Galway Review and the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017.

This article first appeared in the 17 August 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Trump goes nuclear