Patricia Craig

Christie and Sayers

A Talent to Deceive. An Appreciation of Agatha Christie

By

Collins 203pp order from our bookshop

Dorothy L. Sayers: Nine Literary Studies

By

Duckworth 132pp order from our bookshop

The mystery of Agatha Christie’s extraordinary appeal is the subject for investigation in this engaging study by Robert Barnard, and by the end of the book you should be a lot clearer about the reasons for applauding the ingenious lady. It’s well-known, of course, that she played around with the original detective-story formula until she’d invented a puzzle of infinite adaptability. Tricks, complications, a great deal of stage management and endless activity all went into it, leaving no room for subtlety in characterisation or distinction in the writing. At best, her literary style is workmanlike; and Barnard argues plausibly that this, along with the clusters of cut-out figures she kept at her disposal, is not the defect it would have been in a different kind of fiction. It’s certain that there is nothing, in Agatha Christie’s novels, to distract you from the intricate workings of the plot.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,