"There is evil everywhere under the sun."
- Hercule Poirot (The Great Belgian Detective)
I book I have recently read is 'Evil under the Sun' by Agatha Christie. Agatha Christie is famous for her crime mystery novels and short stories and like any other of her books this one is also a murder mystery. This book brings excitement and also challenges you to solve the mystery that Christie has brilliantly presented with the use of rather simple words and everyday language and repeats it, rather than trying to introduce new words and phrases. She also relies heavily on dialogue throughout the book. In addition, the solution often depends upon the reader’s interpretation of something that a character says. Therefore by keeping her dialogues very simple and straightforward, and not challenging the reader with the vocabulary, she leaves us free to focus on the plot.
Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born on 15 September 1890 in Torquay, England. Her father, Frederick, was an outgoing American with an independent income. Her mother, Clara, was rather shy; Agatha resembled her greatly in personality. There were two other children - Madge and Monty, both older than Agatha. Although Agatha had amused herself as a child, acting out stories and make believe, her writing career really began after her sister Madge challenged her to write a novel. It took several years to get her first book The Mysterious Affair at Styles published. Agatha’s happiness was complete when Rosalind, her only daughter was born on 5th August 1919 but by 1926, her life was in tatters: Christie’s mother Clara died and Archie left her for another woman. She then went to Baghdad to rebuild her life and married Max Mallowan and continued writing stories. After a hugely successful career and a wonderful life Agatha died peacefully on 12 January 1976.
Agatha had an easily recognisable style of writing, but this only led her to fame. There is a level of repetition of key concepts in her words within a small space. When Agatha is getting a concept across, she repeats key words and words which are similar in meaning in rapid succession and in a condensed space. This is how language affects the mind and how the words can have an affect on how we think and feel. By repeating words at least 3 times in a paragraph, it enables the reader to become convinced about something. In addition, a person’s conscious mind has a very limited focus, and can only focus on between five and nine things at one time. Once there are more than nine things to focus on, the conscious mind can’t continue to track them all, and so the person literally goes into a hypnotic trance. Agatha often uses this by using more than nine characters, and by having more than nine plot lines taking place at any one time. As the reader’s mind gets overloaded, they start to begin really experiencing the book, feeling the book, and getting lost in it.Agatha Christie very precisely controls the speed at which we read her books, by changing the level of descriptive passages. There are more descriptive passages at the beginning of her book than at the end, which has the effect that we read more quickly towards the end of her books... literally we are rushing towards the end to see who did it!
The book very well depicts the way she writes. This extract is from the beginning of the story and clearly shows the immense descriptive but simple language used by Christie; "Hercule Poirot, resplendent in a white duck suit, with a panama tilted over his eyes, his moustaches magnificently befurled, lay back in a deck chair on a sunny terrace overlooking the bathing beach. Casually his fellow guests at the luxury hotel moved around him, talking, knitting, drying from their bathes, anointing themselves with oil." As I mentioned earlier that Agatha uses multitudinous characters to lure the readers into her realm. There are many characters in this story as well and are described in such a manner that they speak to the...
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