Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie

I usually read children's books because I am a children's librarian, plus I really do like children's literature.  Every once in a while I get a Christie craving, and indulge in a Miss Marple Mystery.  In this one a wealthy man drops down dead at his office in London.  Then a few days later his wife, and then his servant die as well.  Each of the victims have peculiar evidence on them when they are found.  The man has rye in his pocket and the maid has a clothes pin on her nose.  It takes a shrewd old lady to make the connection with the well known nursery rhyme and figure out who would perpetrate such an unusual set of murders.

I have been trying to figure out what makes the Agatha Christie mysteries so fun to read.  First of all,  all of the victims and suspects are not particularly likable.  As a reader you are not emotionally attached to any of them, so you can view the murder with a disinterested curiosity. The most likable characters, namely Miss Marple and whomever she is working with to solve the crime, (this time an inspector) are the ones that the reader cares about, and since you know that it is a certain kind of mystery, you know they will figure it all out in the end.  Of course, Christie is a master if giving the reader just enough clues and false clues to make the puzzle interesting and challenging. Still, I have found that, more times than not, if I choose the least likely suspect at the beginning, I am usually right at the end.  Anyway, it was a fun and fast read. (185p.)

1 comment:

  1. Just finished a biography of Agatha C. 'A Pocketful of Rye' is one of her best books. Sadly, nursery rhymes are not very relevant anymore. I write the Liffey Rivers Irish Dancer Mysteries. In one of my books, Liffey Rivers uses the Wee Willie Winkie rhyme to solve an art forgery at London's National Portrait Gallery. When I meet up with many of my readers (mostly 8-12-year-old girls) here and there, I am always astonished that so few of them have ever heard the rhyme. Not one of them could recite it! Sigh.