I didn’t finish my previous read, Strange Weather In Tokyo, until Saturday and I was busy for most of Sunday. So, I knew that I needed to pick a quick read for today’s review. I always read less during the week because of work, so I decided to listen to an Agatha Christie audiobook instead. On days when I don’t have to do much writing, I find it easy enough to listen to books as I work. If I’m doing any kind of copywriting, it becomes trickier. Nobody wants me to start typing out Poriot’s speech about who the murderer is. Well, nobody who would be browsing our website anyway. This is a book that I’ve been meaning to include on my big Agatha reread because I love the concept. It’s classic Christie and classic Poirot. With work being so stressful at the moment, it’s been great to be able to shut everything else out and just listen instead.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Agatha Christie is a sure-fire way to cure your bookish blues. After taking a long time to read Monsters, I knew that I had to do something drastic to get me back into reading. On Sunday I stuck on the audiobook version of this novel and didn’t turn it off until the end. I listened as I took my week’s Instagram photos and went about my general weekend business. It’s always glorious listening to a Christie audiobook. Not that it isn’t glorious reading it yourself but there’s something about an audiobook that just enhances the cosiness. Regardless of the reason, as soon as I was finished, I felt much better about life and reading. I’m renewed and ready to get a few more books off my TBR this month.
I’m still continuing with my plan to try and read at least one Agatha Christie novel per month. My original hope was to have as many finished as possible before October this year. I’d secretly wanted to read them all before them because 71 books in 12 months seemed more than doable. Of course, my inability to stop buying books and increasing my TBR really put those plans to bed. But that won’t stop me going back to the books I love. I don’t reread enough anyway and Agatha always makes me feel better about the world. That could be considered weird considering her books are so full of awful people but her books are like a warm hug. Reading them is a really great counterbalance for the crappy few months we’ve been having.
It’s becoming something of a tradition that I read at least one Agatha Christie book each month. Not only are they super easy to get through but they just make me feel happy. Considering what the past 12 months have been like, we all need to dedicate more time to the things that make us happy. Christie is not only a fantastic writer but she has an incredibly wicked streak. As I say every time I review one of her books, she understands people and what might compel them to commit murder. In my recent rereadings of her novels, I haven’t actually read any Miss Marple stories yet. I think in terms of the books, I prefer a lot of the Poirot novels but who can’t love Miss Marple. I also think the ITV adaptations of these novels were fabulous. They made a few changes and modernisations but they capture the spirit perfectly. The adaptation of this novel is definitely one of the better ones.
Who is the best author to go to when you’re falling behind in your monthly reading challenge? Agatha Christie is definitely one of the best writers for getting me back on track. I always enjoy her books and they’re usually really quick reads. Meaning I can cross off a couple of letters in a matter of days and stop stressing about it so much. So, I picked up a quick standalone novel. I realise that in my re-readings, I tend to focus more on the Poirot or Miss Marple novels. Well, apart from And Then There Were None which I never stop banging on about. But this is definitely one of her best. There’s a reason why it was included on my suggestions for where to start reading Christie books.
After the travesty that was my previous read, there was a lot of pressure for the next one to be worthwhile. I’ve had Nothing Can Hurt You for a while now and I was really looking forward to reading it. I almost started reading it last December but decided to stick with more seasonal books. I’m glad I waited because I’m not sure that I was in the right mindset last month. After a couple of false starts where I only got through one chapter a night, I raced to the end of this book. It’s the first time in ages when I’ve just stayed up reading. I got to the final chapter at the time I’d normally call lights out but I knew that I had to keep going. Any regret caused by my fatigue the next day was worth it.
As you know, I love a bit of cosy crime. I’ve enjoyed reading Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle for as long as I can remember. More than anything, I have an affinity for the novels from the Golden Age of detective fiction. Just give me a whodunnit in a country house, an amateur sleuth and plenty of red herrings. That’s all I really need. Modern crime fiction is getting too pretentious for my liking. It’s trying to be more like television and it’s getting ridiculous. So, when this contemporary version of a Golden Age novel I knew that I had to give it a go. I’m always wary of books that get compared to Agatha Christie because no modern writer has ever been able to match her genius. Still, I’m always hopefully that someone will come close.
This was supposed to be the book I read on October 31st but it ended up taking me over a week to get through it. I did also read another book in that time but there is no denying that this was a slog. So, you might be wondering why I was bothering to read it? There’s only one answer to that question: I’m super stubborn. This was a joke Christmas present from my friend last year and I decided that I had to finish it. If only to make the joke even better. I almost gave up but I sat down on Sunday evening to get it done. I can’t say that I was giving it my whole attention but I got the gist of it. It’s not as if I even went into it thinking it would be great. I mean, it was co-written by a fictional character. How good could it actually be?
How could I not read this during my Agatha Christie month? After all, it’s 100 years since it was first published. 100 years and Agatha Christie is still an important part of the literary canon. The fact that this year sees the release of another adaptation of Death on the Nile only proves that. As a writer, she is so often dismissed as being a writer of cosy crime but she has continually shown her longevity. It’s ridiculous to think that people still underestimate her but that’s always been the problem with the literary canon. And I understand that there are more than a few unsavoury moments that haven’t aged particularly well over the years but she’s not alone there.
You know you’ve made a cultural impact if you inspire an episode of Doctor Who, right? Season 4 is one of my favourite seasons because I think Donna is the best companion in modern Who. It also has some fun episodes. Most importantly for this post is The Unicorn and the Wasp. An episode in which Agatha Christie’s mysterious disappearance is connected with an alien murder mystery involving a giant wasp. Death in the Clouds is referenced towards the end of the episode as evidence that the encounter stayed with her subconsciously. I do wonder how many Who fans picked up the book following the episode. Maybe hoping for something fantastical and extraterrestrial? The giant wasp on the cover of my copy might certainly suggest something rather more sinister to anyone who hasn’t already read it.