Hitting the Books with Gary Thorne: “Curtain and The Mysterious Affair at Styles”

Sometimes one needs to read just for the joy of it all. Such is the love for Agatha Christie’s works that have survived multitudinous changes in societies worldwide.

The 1975 publication of Christie’s “Curtain and The Mysterious Affair at Styles” is a combination of a beginning and an end. “Styles” was the first book she published and “Curtain” was the last of her works involving the investigating hero of so many of her fiction: Hercule Poirot.

HTBCurtain.jpgThe story goes that her first work was the result of a dare from her sister, Madge, that Agatha could not write a novel. I don’t believe in dares, but thank goodness for that one. Agatha wrote the book, was rejected by six publishers then found an acceptance years after the book was written.

“Though this may be the first published book of Miss Agatha Christie, she betrays the cunning of an old hand.” - The New York Times Book Review

The dare had been wrong, the review was on the square.

“Curtain” is the final mystery to be solved by Poirot, with the stellar mix of characters and twists and turns found in Christie’s books.

Numerous articles on her life say she wrote 88 crime novels, is the best-selling author of all time with four billion copies of her books sold in 45 different languages.

Christie’s works are about characters. Her writing allows the reader to feel an intimate knowledge of these folks and a reader then pursues the mystery with concerns for the characters as much as the solution.

Some have said this book is peculiarly structured since Curtain, the last investigation for Poirot comes before “Styles,” her first work. Such placement doesn’t seem to render the reading of the book any less enjoyable.

“You start into it, inflamed by an idea, full of hope, full indeed of confidence. If you are properly modest, you will never write it at all, so there has to be one delicious moment when you have thought of something, know just how you are going to write it, rush for a pencil, and start buoyed up with exaltation. You then get into difficulties, don’t see your way out, and finally manage to accomplish more or less what you first meant to accomplish, though losing confidence all the time. Having finished it, you know it is absolutely rotten. A couple of months later, you wonder if it may not be all right after all.” - Agatha Christie

Gary Thorne is the play-by-play voice of the Orioles on MASN, and the 2017 season is his 11th with the club and 32nd covering Major League Baseball. His blog will appear regularly throughout the season. The Orioles and Sarasota County have partnered on the Big League Reader Program, which rewarded kids who read three books in February with tickets to a Grapefruit League game at Ed Smith Stadium in March.

* Hitting the Books with Gary Thorne. © Copyright 2017 Gary F. Thorne. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Gary F. Thorne and MASNsports.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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