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A Murder is a Wish Your Heart Makes Monday

Crossposted from Dreamwidth

What I've Finished Reading

Unfinished Portrait is the second murder-free novel published by Christie under the pen name Mary Westmacott, and it's much better than Giant's Bread. Maybe it's just that the weaknesses don't show as much, since Unfinished Portrait is the story of a hapless young twentieth-century housewife/aspiring writer rather than that of a hapless young musical genius with amnesia. The melodrama hits closer to home. In fact, all signs point to this being a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Self-Saboteur. The emotional, imaginative Celia throws over a handful of admirers to marry a golf-minded nonentity who gives her a daughter she can't understand; the nonentity leaves her for another woman and gets huffy when she expects him to handle the divorce business himself (at the time, divorce required proof of infidelity, and he was too chivalrous to "put Marjorie through it"). Celia is just about to throw herself off a cliff when she meets The Narrator of this Book, a former portrait painter who can no longer paint (because of The War) but who is so touched by her story that he wrote this book, an unfinished portrait in words. If anyone I didn't already know was Agatha Christie had tried to pull the bit of Significant Imagery she does with the painter's hands, I think I would have cringed hard enough to sprain something, but Christie is cringe-proof and always will be.

What I'm Reading Now

Women Sleuths is a Mount TBR selection that I took home before the used bookstore shut down and haven't opened since. It's a Reader's Digest anthology of four? five? novellas, beginning with The Toys of Death by notable Golden Age of Murder weirdos Margaret and G. D. H. Cole, a Fabian couple who co-wrote 35 mystery novels. The copyright page of Women Sleuths claims that The Toys of Death was published in 1939; Wikipedia says 1948. I'm interested to read a socialist murder mystery from the Golden Age milieu. So far, there are no very noticeable differences. A house party has been planned, and the Marpleish mother of a well-known detective has just embarrassed the pompous host by accidentally correcting the geography in his fanciful story about Catalonia. Now she's in the garden, making unflattering observations about the guests. What could be better?

What I Plan to Read Next

Next in Christie is Death in the Air, which involves both Hercule Poirot and the exciting new world of (getting murdered on) airplanes!


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 15th, 2017 12:32 am (UTC)
Oooh, will be interested to hear what you think of Death in The Air... I don't think it's one of her best, but I did like it.
Aug. 22nd, 2017 04:57 am (UTC)
I'm not sure I'd relate well to "Unfinished Portrait". I get frustrated with characters sometimes.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


blase ev

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