Did you know Agatha Christie only received 25 pounds for her first mystery, The Mysterious Affair at Styles
? And that wasn't even an advance. She only got that because someone agreed to serialize it, and that was her take.
I've been asked to write the introductions to two of Christie's novels; Styles
, which introduced Hercule Poirot, and The Secret Adversary,
her second mystery, which introduced Tommy and Tuppence. I got this assignment quite a while ago, but of course, I've just been reading, taking my time. But now they're due so I'm diving in. In addition to re-reading Christie's works, I've immersed myself in Christieana - from her autobiography to modernist critiques that defend her "formulaic" writing as a response to "formalism." (I'm not entirely sure I have that part right.) And another take that sees the detective story as post-modernist because of it's "double plotting." In other words, mysteries have the apparent surface story - and the darker, true understory, which we only glimpse as clues. This, according to one critic, " reflects [the post-modernists'] own highly self-conscious awareness of the artificiality of narration and the ambiguity of plots.”
Yes, I should be working on the new project. I definitely should be working on the "Probable Claws" revisions, but this is kind of fun!