All About Agatha (Christie)

By All About Agatha (Christie)

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 Jan 7, 2019


All About Agatha is a podcast all about, well, Agatha. Agatha Christie, of course. The Queen of Crime, a real-life Dame of the British Empire and author of sixty-six mystery novels that spanned the Twentieth Century, defining a genre. Every month we revisit one of these novels in the order they were first published in the UK. Discussions range from plotting and interpretation to the impact of the beloved adaptations to an attempt at ranking them all. On the weeks in between, we take a breather to discuss one of her many (100-plus) short stories, plays, non-mystery novels, and notable periods in her life. Call it a Christie-fest, as we revisit Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Tommy and Tuppence, and oh so much more.... Join us.

Episode Date
And Then There Were 25: Mrs. McGinty's Dead by Agatha Christie
We couldn’t stop talking about Mrs. McGinty being dead! Mainly good things, though not *all* good things. But what a delight it was to reach, at long last, this first of the “late Poirots” featuring Ariadne Oliver. Come for the drive-by fruiting, stay for the sick Poirot burns as to “feminine intuition.”
Jan 18, 2020
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: Murder in the Mews by Agatha Christie
We begin the year in style with one of Dame Agatha's leaner puzzle mysteries--especially among those featuring our favorite grandstanding Belgian detective. It's been a while since we've had the pleasure of discussing our dear Papa Poirot in short story form, though this one is a bit super-sized, as it is in fact one of the few novellas within the canon. This year we all get to celebrate ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF CHRISTIE, so you know we have high hopes for 2020. Happy New Year to all!
Jan 03, 2020
A Very Special Holiday Episode: The Call of Wings by Agatha Christie
Most people know the apocryphal tale of Agatha's sister challenging her to write a murder mystery, but years earlier--1912 or thereabouts--her mother is supposed to have challenged her to write as a way of entertaining herself while recovering from influenza. Apparently this lead to an extended bout of neophyte creation that included this rather spiritual yarn, which just may remind you of another classic Christmastime story....
Dec 20, 2019
And Then There Were 26: They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie
Real talk: this is not one of our favorite Christies. Alas. But it features some excellent scene setting in and among Baghdad and Basrah; whenever Christie takes us to the Middle East, we know we're in good hands as far as mise en scène goes. We just wish we could say the same about the plot (or lack thereof), and the characters populating this globe-trotting thriller....
Dec 14, 2019
A Very Special Episode: Knives Out, the Agatha Christie-Inspired Film
We've been looking forward to this film for months... and are happy to report that on the whole it did not disappoint! Let's swoon together over cleverly employed Christie tropes, perfectly weathered white cable-knit sweaters, and everything in between.
Dec 06, 2019
A Very Special Episode: Interview (#2!!) with Sophie Hannah, Author of New Hercule Poirot Novels
We had so much fun speaking with Sophie Hannah a year ago, we had her on again! Tuck in for a free-ranging conversation that starts with Sophie's new mystery novel and ends--as all conversations should--noodling over the finer aspects of moral culpability in And Then There Were None. (DOES Emily Brent get a raw deal?) With lots of chatter about lots of Christie titles in between. (Are Evil Under the Sun and Five Little Pigs diametric opposites as to style? Is The Body in the Library secretly the best Miss Marple? Which should we be more excited about reading in the future: The Pale Horse, or After the Funeral?) We could go on... and we do! See you in the episode.
Nov 27, 2019
Getting Happy with Parker Pyne: Problem at Pollensa Bay by Agatha Christie
Somehow, we've reached our penultimate Parker Pyne story. As we won't be covering the last one till that far-off, misty era when our podcast ends, this will be our last Parker Pyne for quite some time.... Which may be welcome news or a disappointment, depending on your point of view. Much to our surprise, we find that we fall into the latter category. Until we meet again, Mr J. (or is it C.?) Parker Pyne....
Nov 22, 2019
And Then There Were 27: A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie
You know the drill by now: long episode = lovefest episode. In 1950 a murder was announced, and the world was never the same.... Join us as we gush over this gem of a Marple novel (and lovingly identify its flaws).
Nov 08, 2019
A Very Special HALLOWE'EN Episode: The Last Séance & The Lamp by Agatha Christie
We have two creepy and unabashedly supernatural short stories for your spine-tingling pleasure this Hallowe'en season. And even though this is Christie off her regularly beaten path of logic and reason, the lessons to be gleaned from these two macabre tales are fully on brand for our beloved Dame Agatha. Beware: 1) a mother's love; and 2) a real estate bargain. [Insert banshee keen here.]
Oct 26, 2019
And Then There Were 28: Crooked House by Agatha Christie
We went a little long with this one, which is as good an indicator as any of how much we *adored* this gem of a Christie (Kemper especially). And what better time of year for such a twisted, creepy tale?! Take a listen... IF YOU DARE.
Oct 12, 2019
Getting Happy with Parker Pyne: The Oracle at Delphi by Agatha Christie
Do it, Rockapella: Well he glides around the globe from Paris to Damascus. He’s a double-dealing sleuth with a taste for trickery He’ll take you for a ride on a slow boat down the Nile Tell me where in the world is… Parker Pyne, heart specialist? This week he's in Greece, in close proximity to an oracle, no less. You know what that means: a kidnapping, an impersonation, and an attempted jewel heist, of course. Enjoy!
Sep 27, 2019
A Very Special (Anniversary) Episode: The State of Our Rankings
How is it possible that another year has passed? We lay the blame squarely on Dame Agatha, whose light prose and masterful puzzles have made the months slip silkily on by.... ! It's time for another nerd-fest as we assess the state of our rankings, having just passed the three-year mark (!!) on our literary trek through the Christie-verse. We hope you all have as much fun listening to this podcast as we do creating it. Onward, to Year 4!
Sep 20, 2019
And Then There Were 29: Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie
We are back with another Poirot novel! And we were on the whole quite pleased with this twisty-turny post-WWII puzzle mystery, perhaps most notable for its searing evocation of a specific time and place in history. So travel back with us to 1946 and the tiny village of Warmsley Vale where--spoiler!--all is not as it first appears to be....
Sep 12, 2019
Communing with Mr. Quin: Harlequin's Lane by Agatha Christie
'Tis time for the final story in the Mysterious Mr. Quin collection, and while *technically* things end with a thud rather than a bang, we were by no means disappointed by what we found in this crazypants tale of love gone SERIOUSLY awry. Oh, Mr. Quin. It's a good thing you're a supernatural being intent on haunting us till the end of days, because at this point we'd be lost without you....
Aug 30, 2019
Get Your Creep On: The Red Signal by Agatha Christie
We've got an early short story involving supernatural premonitions, inherited insanity, and an early example of the very Christie-ish imperative to read closely. All we're missing is an actor, but hey, there's always next time.
Aug 17, 2019
A Miss Marple Nightcap: The Case of the Perfect Maid by Agatha Christie
Sometimes when Christie takes to the short story form, she gets a little loose, a little wacky. We saw that in our last Miss Marple short story, and we see it again here, in a story that features... well, we won't be specific about the number, but let's just say there are a fair amount of maids in this one. Are any of them perfect? Let's find out!
Aug 08, 2019
And Then There Were 30: The Hollow by Agatha Christie
Well, whenever we go beyond an hour of nattering away about a title, it's a good sign, and this episode is no exception. Come and bask with us in the many splendors of The Hollow, a much-beloved, mid-career masterwork of Christie's with rich characters and yet almost no puzzling to speak of, despite the presence of our dear Poirot. If this one is a Christie "crown jewel," it's one with all sorts of imperfections, but everyone knows it's the flaws that make a thing more interesting....
Jul 27, 2019
Communing with Mr. Quin: The World's End by Agatha Christie
You know the drill by now: we've got Quin; we've got Satterthwaite; we've got spooky intrigue; we've got thwarted lovers. How's it all going to end? With an abrupt departure by our favorite proto-Tyler Durden, of course.
Jul 21, 2019
Getting Happy with Parker Pyne: The Pearl of Price by Agatha Christie
It's been a while since we visited the enchanting city of Petra by way of Christie, and this one is definitely a much simpler, slighter puzzle mystery than what we encountered in Appointment with Death. But there is always a healthy amount of intrigue where the wily Parker Pyne is concerned....
Jul 13, 2019
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: Yellow Iris by Agatha Christie
What's better than a tale of twin poisonings like we had in our last episode? Twin tales of twin poisonings, of course. This short story is substantially similar to Sparkling Cyanide, which we just covered, but it actually came first, and as a precursor to that novel it also has some fascinating differences. Journey with us not only to New York but--in the Suchet adaptation--to Argentina too as we explore all that this Poirot story has to offer.
Jun 30, 2019
And Then There Were 31: Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie
We both relished this glittering tale of twin poisonings set within a posh circle at a swanky London restaurant, though it comes with a few problems/weaknesses all its own. Come geek out with us over the intricacies of cyanide, the later career of Nancy Marchand, and so much more.
Jun 23, 2019
A Miss Marple Nightcap: Strange Jest by Agatha Christie
You'd be forgiven for mistaking the bucolic English country estate where this story is set for the Borscht Belt of upstate New York, because this Miss Marple yarn (see what we did there?) is pretty darn funny. Poor Edward and Charmian had no idea what they were in for when Jane Helier (!!) recommended they consult with the very best of amateur sleuths in the attempt to recover a modern-day buried treasure. Take cover, because the hijinks are flying fast!
Jun 15, 2019
Communing with Mr. Quin: The Bird with the Broken Wing by Agatha Christie
As Mabelle Annesley could perhaps sing for you herself on her ukulele, it's time to "Get Ur Freak On," and how, in this remarkably cuckoo Monsieurs Quin & Satterthwaite tale. Enjoy! We always do when it's these two....
Jun 07, 2019
Getting Happy with Parker Pyne: The House at Shiraz by Agatha Christie
Bar the gates, because Parker Pyne is still abroad, flitting here, there, and everywhere in the Middle East. This time we find him in Persia (i.e., Iran)--specifically, the lovely city of Shiraz. But not so lovely as to prevent it from harboring one who is some combination of murderer, lunatic, and/or impostor. Let's sort it out together before our peripatetic PI jets off someplace else for further adventures.
Jun 01, 2019
And Then There Were 32: Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie
While we did not love this one, we do appreciate what an outlier it is within the Christie canon, and the fact that it was the first "historical whodunit" to combine the genres of detective and historical fiction. Also, like most murder mystery fans we love a high body count, and at seven murders (and eight deaths), this one definitely does not disappoint in that area....
May 27, 2019
A Miss Marple Nightcap: Miss Marple Tells a Story by Agatha Christie
It has been too long since we visited with Miss Marple in short story form, which Christie herself identified as our favorite spinster sleuth's natural milieu, after all.... And we get more of Miss Marple than we normally do in this outlier of a short story, written as a script to be read out by Christie herself (!!) on the radio.
May 17, 2019
Communing with Mr. Quin: The Dead Harlequin by Agatha Christie
Mr. Quin has decided to haunt our podcast yet again with one of his trademark spooky tales involving a seemingly locked-room suicide, a talented (yet extremely grumpy) artist, and a book that Mr. Satterthwaite authored called Homes of My Friends. There is A LOT to discuss in this one; let's get to it!
May 09, 2019
*Special Announcement* re Our Brand New Patreon Account!
We are excited to announce that we have started a Patreon account for bonus or extra episodes of our podcast. Please listen for a more thorough explanation, but our first episode is a VERY lively discussion of the recent John Malkovich adaptation of The ABC Murders.... We hope to see you over on the Patreon account, And have no fear: our regularly scheduled programming will resume right here next week.
May 05, 2019
Getting Happy with Parker Pyne: The Gate of Baghdad by Agatha Christie
Parker Pyne is still abroad, spreading his statistician-acquired cynical know-how the same way his forebears spread smallpox, this time on a "Pullman coach" across the desert from Damascus to Baghdad in which a sock may or may not have been used to murder someone. Where's Rob Kardashian when you need him? Fortunately, he's right here!
Apr 27, 2019
And Then There Were 33: Towards Zero by Agatha Christie
Christie rarely deals in psychopaths, but when she does she tends to handle them with panache, and this novel is no exception. (Not a spoiler, as we are put on our guard almost immediately that a psycho lurks in these pages....) While it is by no means one of our absolute favorites, we quite enjoyed this one, which features a number of familiar Christie tropes spun/twisted in ingeniously dark ways.
Apr 21, 2019
A Very Special Episode: Interview with Jamie Bernthal, Author of Queering Agatha Christie
We were so thrilled to have a special guest on the podcast for a fascinating interview about reading Agatha Christie in a way that may (or may not!) be a departure for some listeners. Jamie's book Queering Agatha Christie (which we've referred to many times on this podcast) applies a subset of literary theory called “queer theory” to Christie’s works, and it is a truly thought-provoking way to analyze what is happening in these beloved texts. We hope you enjoy our discussion as much as we did.
Apr 13, 2019
All About Opera: The Face of Helen & Swan Song by Agatha Christie
It's another special double episode, this one focusing on the world of opera and Christie's personal love of music. In our first story we attend Covent Garden with Mr. Satterthwaite and the mysterious Mr. Quin, while in the second it's a private theatrical extravaganza starring world-renowned prima donna Paula Nazorkoff. As anyone familiar with the plots of many an opera will know, it doesn't take long for things to get rather murder-y....
Apr 06, 2019
Getting Happy with Parker Pyne: Have You Got Everything You Want? by Agatha Christie
All aboard the... Orient Express?! That's right: heart specialist Parker Pyne is going abroad, and while we've already covered one of his travels in Christie's *other* Death on the Nile, here he untangles a jewel heist (or is it?) aboard that infamous train right around the same time Monsieur Poirot was taking it in the opposite direction. (Maybe one day someone will find an alternate And Then There Were None in the basement at Greenway, in which Pyne finds himself on an island being hunted down by a murderer, only to solve the murderer's problems by means of an elaborate theatrical ruse....)
Mar 30, 2019
The Name's Bond. James Bond. Just Not *That* James Bond: The Rajah's Emerald by Agatha Christie
No, really: the protagonist of this story is "James Bond," who appears more than a quarter century before Ian Fleming's *slightly* more famous character. And our poor James Bond is suffering through a vacation (er, holiday) so wretched, it has to be one of the worst Christie ever depicted--which as we've discussed in previous episodes is definitely saying something, given Poirot's various ill-advised vacances sur la plage.... Let's take the plunge in the icy English waters together, shall we?
Mar 10, 2019
Manic Pixie Monster a.k.a. Never Go to the Second Location: The Golden Ball by Agatha Christie
We have been here before, and we will almost certainly be here again. It's time for another kookily "romantic" story in which two young things banter their little hearts out to what seems to be to them--if not us--a satisfying conclusion. It's Listerdale Mystery time, and good God but this one hinges on a piece of fruit, too.
Mar 01, 2019
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Double Clue & The Capture of Cerberus by Agatha Christie
We’ve heard tell that two hearts are better than one, so we figured we'd take that approach to our exploration of a character within the Christieverse replete with both passion and flair: the Countess Vera Rossakoff. Behold a double episode showcasing the two stories in which she appears, along with a general discussion of who this so-called Countess is and what she may or may not mean to our dear Monsieur Poirot.
Feb 24, 2019
And Then There Were 35: Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie
Well, the last time we posted such a prolix episode it was to gush over what became our highest ranked novel, And Then There Were None. We will leave it to you, dear listener, to discover whether this beloved Poirot novel managed to unseat the champion and become our new #1. We’ll give you this much: it was close! Enjoy. FLP4EVA (Catherine is currently requesting this vanity plate from the California DMV.)
Feb 15, 2019
Communing with Mr. Quin: The Voice in the Dark by Agatha Christie
This Harley Quin story has, if not quite everything, then nearly so: a boating catastrophe in the distant past that is neither the Titanic nor the Lusitania; a young Mr. Satterthwaite (!!) snogging (!!!!) a maid (!!!!!!); a man named Bimbo (seriously); and a true rarity for Christie—a bathtub murder. Things always get a little weird in this corner of the Christieverse (the Satterthwerse?), so fasten your seatbelts... (oh yeah--Bette Davis gets a shoutout too).
Feb 09, 2019
Getting Happy with Parker Pyne: The Case of the Rich Woman by Agatha Christie
Let's just hope for all our sakes we never get another opportunity to go off on a tangent about body-switch comedies. (One never knows in the Christieverse.) In this, the final story in the "Miss Lonelyhearts"-esque section of the Parker Pyne collection, we perhaps see our "heart specialist" at his most dastardly AND brilliant.
Feb 01, 2019
On Scheherezade & Omar Khayyám: Mr Eastwood's Adventure by Agatha Christie
We are discussing another early Christie thriller, so we've got a dippy male protagonist combined with dubious gender politics, sigh. But it also turns out this is a very (classically) Persian episode, who knew? We did, and so will you.
Jan 25, 2019
And Then There Were 36: The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie (a.k.a. Miss Marple is BA-ACK!)
Praise be: we have at long last arrived at our second Miss Marple novel! We couldn't be more thrilled to revisit St. Mary Mead and its assorted characters, and boy do we get a lot of them in this alternately breezy/bleak story. So let's join our six investigators (no, really--four professional, two amateur) and find out what happens when people stop being polite, and start getting murder-y.
Jan 18, 2019
Communing with Mr. Quin: The Man from the Sea by Agatha Christie
Yes, we are back once more with our spooky friends Messieurs Quin and Satterthwaite, and this time things get extra, extra weird, in ways both problematic and not! Let’s puzzle our way through this non-puzzle mystery together, shall we?
Jan 11, 2019
A Run-By Fruiting, Twenties-Style: A Fruitful Sunday by Agatha Christie
We've got another light, flirty Christie adventure on our hands here, and while normally we'd say that hijinks ensue, there is so little going on in this short story that perhaps we have only a single hijink? Maybe two? In any case, this is a pleasant enough tale of automotive and fructiferous tomfoolery. Please enjoy, as the year winds down in these final few days of 2018!
Dec 28, 2018
A Very Special Holiday Episode with Parker Pyne: The Case of the City Clerk by Agatha Christie
Well if the Grinch's heart can grow three sizes bigger, why not Mr. Parker Pyne's?? 'Tis the season for such character arcs, after all. Join us as we learn a bit more about Christie's heart specialist of a detective. You just may find a new appreciation for him. (Or, if you are cynical like Catherine… you may not.)
Dec 21, 2018
And Then There Were 37: N or M? by Agatha Christie
Rejoice or beware, per your preference, because Tommy & Tuppence, those alliterative lovebirds, are back! And in wartime no less: the spring of 1940, to be exact (and Christie is very exact). Join us as we discuss this mid-career thriller of Christie's, which is in many ways quite typical (poor Tommy and his poor head!), but in others quite unusual....
Dec 15, 2018
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: Triangle at Rhodes by Agatha Christie
This week we revisit a familiar-seeming love triangle, and while it’s true that this Poirot short story and the Poirot novel we just covered--Evil Under the Sun--share many similarities, they also share some key differences…. Join us for our 100th episode (!!) as we use this little exercise in compare and contrast to marvel yet again at the fecundity of Dame Agatha’s nimble brain.
Dec 09, 2018
A Very Special Episode: Interview with Sophie Hannah, Author of New Hercule Poirot Novels
We were thrilled to have bestselling—and Poirot-continuing!—author Sophie Hannah on the podcast for a wide-ranging chat about all things Agatha. Please revel in the Christie fandom, as we did.
Nov 23, 2018
Communing with Mr. Quin: The Soul of the Croupier by Agatha Christie
Are you ready for an oh-so-European tale of despair, betrayal, and misplaced pride? Would it help if you listened to some Edith Piaf while we told it to you? Okay, then. Time to sit for another soulful spell with Mr. Harley Quin and his dessicated sidekick, Mr. Satterthwaite, this time on the shores of Monte Carlo. Bon voyage!
Nov 18, 2018
And Then There Were 38: Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie
While this one is something of a fan favorite, we were surprised by the simplicity of the central mystery upon a reread, given all the Christie puzzles we've solved thus far.... Add to that a number of characters who are never really suspects, plus a few absurd side-plots that don't quite hang onto the main action as they should, and we come out a bit more critically on this one than we expected, despite retaining a healthy affection for some of this Poirot novel's better elements.
Nov 08, 2018
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Affair at the Victory Ball by Agatha Christie
How have we not covered Christie’s first published short story yet?! (A Poirot, naturally.) Consider this a master class in some of the fundamental tropes she would go on to use many, many times. Actors, costumes, a temporal deception, even the harlequinade! Add to that a real-world, “ripped-from-the-headlines” analogue, and what more could two Christie podcasters want? (Well, we could always use more Miss Lemon in the Suchet adaptation, but we can't have everything.)
Nov 02, 2018
She Works Hard for the Money: Jane in Search of a Job by Agatha Christie
While we can't pretend this is a special Hallowe’en-themed episode, there is perhaps nothing scarier than being in want of a job…. We were also rather frightened by the flimsiness of this early Christie thriller when it came to its establishing concept, its plot, and its romantic intrigue. So take a listen... if you dare.
Oct 26, 2018
A Very Special Anniversary Episode: The State of Our Rankings
Given the ceaseless flitting of that winged and mysterious fourth dimension known as time, we have managed to pass the two-year mark for our podcast... which means it's time to check in on our rankings! In other words, we were given a great excuse to nerd out yet again over those Christie creations we've already covered, and boy, did we capitalize on that opportunity. We hope you enjoy, as we did.
Oct 19, 2018
And Then There Were 39: One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Agatha Christie
While a trip to the dentist with Agatha Christie is the only trip to the dentist one might actually enjoy, we are sad to report our enjoyment of this novel was somewhat sullied by the incompleteness of the puzzle mystery therein. Thank goodness for Inspector Japp, who makes his final appearance in a Poirot novel in these pages, and who does not disappoint on screen either, as brought to life by the talented Philip Jackson.
Oct 12, 2018
Communing with Mr. Quin: The Sign in the Sky by Agatha Christie
Time for another wacky installment of the enigmatic Mr. Quin and the put-upon Mr. Satterthwaite, who we see traversing not only the Atlantic Ocean but the Canadian continent in this story of a fatal attraction. (Be assured that no bunnies will be harmed in the reading of this story, or the listening of this episode.)
Sep 28, 2018
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Dream by Agatha Christie
It's been a while since we've had the pleasure of dissecting a miniature Poirot mystery puzzle, and this one has almost all the classic Christie clue tropes we've come to love. We also enjoyed revisiting our beloved Captain Hastings and Felicity Lemon, as brought to life on an extremely early episode of the Suchet series. Come and revel with us in the Poirovian splendor of it all.
Sep 21, 2018
And Then There Were 40: Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie
While the characters populating this Poirot novel almost all live up to its melancholy title, we're happy to report our reading experience did not, as we both quite liked this unusually structured Christie puzzle mystery... despite some glaring plot holes.
Sep 14, 2018
Calling Flannery, Shirley, Joyce, and Stephen Too: Accident by Agatha Christie
To say we loved this shockingly unsung short story is an understatement. We may even have lurved it. Come take a walk with us on the darker, dread-laden side of Christie....
Sep 07, 2018
Tea with Tommy & Tuppence: The Ambassador's Boots by Agatha Christie
Our final installment of the Partners in Crime series, in which we say goodbye for now to Tommy and Tuppence, and goodbye forever to the series that adapted the collection. As discussed in previous episodes, we don't love every aspect of Christie's married detective duo, but we found a lot to celebrate here nonetheless.
Aug 31, 2018
Getting Happy with Parker Pyne: The Case of the Discontented Husband by Agatha Christie
Another doozy from Mr. Parker Pyne! Someone ought to revise that final couplet of Romeo and Juliet, because we’re pretty sure this story has more woe in it, albeit of the marital variety…. Join us in a discussion so far-ranging, it manages to incorporate creations by Cole Porter, Tennessee Williams, and Jerry Springer. (Yup, Jerry Springer. You’ve been warned.)
Aug 24, 2018
And Then There Were 41: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie - Part 2 (The Films)
And then it was time to talk about the film adaptations (and one televised adaptation, too). We were lucky enough to have Dr. Mark Aldridge, author of Agatha Christie on Screen, back on the podcast for an interview about the many films based on this novel. We hope you enjoy... and that you also forgive us the telephonic tinniness of our voices. Alas, we could not fly to England to interview Mark in person. Maybe next year?
Aug 17, 2018
And Then There Were 41: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie - Part 1 (The Text)
A bit of a supersized episode for a supersized novel! It is time, at long last, for And Then There Were None. Join us as we focus on the text only (film adaptations to be discussed next week), and revel in what many consider to be Christie’s most glorious creation, outlier though it undoubtedly is when considered in the context of her overall canon. We also deal with the unfortunate original title, as well as the unfortunate allusions made in earlier editions to that problematic nursery rhyme. We will say this, however: as Christie’s first novel to incorporate a titular rhyme, it’s almost definitely her most successful. Consider it one more thing to celebrate in this gem of a novel.
Aug 10, 2018
Of Mice and Misogyny: The Manhood of Edward Robinson by Agatha Christie
We found quite a bit to mull over with regard to our titular character, that romance novel-reading, trivia contest-winning, accidental jewel-thieving Edward Robinson. Does he secure his, ahem, manhood by the end of the story? Did we as Twenty-First Century readers find the definition of said manhood in this story to be rather troubling? Yes and yes, naturally.
Aug 03, 2018
Tea with Tommy & Tuppence: The Clergyman's Daughter by Agatha Christie
Tommy & Tuppence are ba-ack, so you know what that means: time to start digging for buried treasure! No, really. Join us for this Christmas adventure in July as we discuss, among other topics, the vagaries of keeping potatoes from spoiling in warm climates, and whether or not Tommy and Tuppence are in fact smug marrieds. (They are.)
Jul 20, 2018
Communing with Mr. Quin: At the "Bells and Motley" by Agatha Christie
So much happening at the "Bells and Motley" (let's dare not forget those quotation marks). This is a Mysterious Mr. Quin story, so we shouldn't be surprised that things get loopy, fast. But did you ever think a Christie story would directly reference the year 2025? We sure didn't!
Jul 13, 2018
And Then There Were 42: Murder is Easy by Agatha Christie
Murder is easy... if you're a small-town serial killer with a whole host of deep-seated issues. But is this decidedly thriller-like puzzle mystery of Christie's easy to read? Or enjoy?
Jul 06, 2018
Getting Happy with Parker Pyne: The Case of the Distressed Lady by Agatha Christie
We all know diamonds are a girl's best friend, but are they a distressed lady's best friend? Let us discuss. (Also: if you were thinking to yourself that the one thing this podcast is missing is Marilyn Monroe, then boy are you in luck.)
Jun 29, 2018
In re the Perils of Boat Travel: Sing a Song of Sixpence by Agatha Christie
Hoo boy, this one's a bit of a doozy, in that the mystery is unfortunately light and our amateur detective is unfortunately creepy. Join us as we sing a song of sixpence... none the richer, that is. (No, but seriously: what *is* a milky twilight?)
Jun 22, 2018
Tea with Tommy & Tuppence: The Unbreakable Alibi by Agatha Christie
It's time to romp once again with our alliterative detective duo, and oh, what a romp we have here. Particularly in the televised adaptation, which we discuss at some length as the "mystery" of this one is rather... simple, shall we say? But not quite as simple as our poor, besotted "victim" Montgomery Jones.
Jun 15, 2018
And Then There Were 43: Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie
It is in no way beginning to look a lot like Christmas, either in the real world or inside the pages of this novel. What it *is* looking a lot like is that rare creature, an honest-to-goodness Agatha Christie locked room mystery! Leave your crackers and crowns at home, but perhaps bring along a sponge or paper towel to help absorb the oodles of blood we encounter in one of Christie's more gruesome murder tableaux. Who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him...?
Jun 08, 2018
Special Episode: Interview with Agatha Christie Scholar John Curran
We were honored to speak with Christie scholar John Curran, whose books we reference so liberally on our podcast! Despite some sound quality issues, we think you’ll enjoy the insights and opinions he shared with us in a wide-ranging conversation about all things Christie.
Jun 02, 2018
A Miss Marple Nightcap: Death by Drowning by Agatha Christie
At long last we complete our baker's dozen of stories within the Thirteen Problems, Christie's first collection of Miss Marple short stories. Get ready to go DEEP on issues of class--not quite as deep as our poor, pregnant (!) victim does in a river snaking through the woods of St. Mary Mead, but deep nonetheless. As we've come to learn by now, nothing is off-limits where Miss Marple is concerned.
May 26, 2018
Tea with Tommy & Tuppence: The House of Lurking Death by Agatha Christie
Well this one has a lot of Sturm und Drang for what we've come to expect from the Beresfords! But really, when a story includes *both* a box of poisoned chocolates and a suspected case of ptomaine (t)poisoning, should we really be all that surprised when someone's bed goes up in flames?
May 18, 2018
And Then There Were 44: Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie
There are mothers, and then there are MOTHERS. Mrs. Boynton definitely belongs in the latter category, as we explore in our latest novel, another "travelling" Christie--this one set in and around the Holy Lands, including an extended stay in Petra (Indiana Jones and affiliated grail hunting not included). Get out your Freud, your Jung, and of course your little grey cells as Papa Poirot goes deep--and we mean DEEP--into psychology to solve this rather elegant puzzle mystery.
May 10, 2018
Getting Happy with Parker Pyne: Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
That's right; do not adjust your screens; before she wrote her much more famous Death on the Nile, Christie wrote a short story featuring her "heart specialist" Parker Pyne on a trip up that same (in)famous river.... Join us as we plumb the depths of this neat little puzzle mystery, which features a glancing reference to a substance these two American readers found most intriguing of all: Bovril.
May 04, 2018
Communing with Mr. Quin: The Shadow on the Glass by Agatha Christie
Harley Quin is ba-ack! But barely; he makes all but a fleeting appearance in this light yet surprisingly robust tale of double homicide rooted in a ghost story dating back to the English Civil War. (If you wanted a refresher on the "Roundheads" versus the "Cavaliers," you are in luck!) So grab some popcorn and watch along with us and Mr. Satterthwaite as the romantic sparks--and bullets--begin to fly....
Apr 27, 2018
Tea with Tommy & Tuppence: The Sunningdale Mystery by Agatha Christie
Rejoice, for our favorite (well, only) married detective duo are back! And they have chosen to put their brains together in the early Twentieth Century version of a Denny's restaurant to solve a murder-by-hatpin on the links that has been reported in the newspaper. Okay, sure! Plus we were able to shoehorn The Golden Girls into this episode, so everybody wins. (Except the hatpin murderer, of course.)
Apr 19, 2018
And Then There Were 45: Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
This novel officially marks our progress through one third of Christie's canon! And it is of course much beloved among Christie fans... due in no small part to the outrageously enjoyable 1978 film adaptation (we're looking at you, Bette Davis; we are always looking at you). But there is much to discuss, not only about this adaptation and Suchet's spin on the material, but the workings of the story itself. Join us as we tease apart what we believe to be one of Christie's most complex puzzle mysteries. And as we all know by now, that is most certainly saying something!
Apr 13, 2018
Getting Happy with Parker Pyne: The Case of the Middle-Aged Wife by Agatha Christie
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned... unless that woman has Parker Pyne to turn to for help with her decidedly scornful husband. Is the "happy" result truly happy? Join us as we discuss this and such other topics as the nuances of movie makeovers (!!).
Apr 06, 2018
Get Your Screwball On: The Girl in the Train by Agatha Christie
That's right, there's no typo in this episode's title: it's The Girl *IN* the Train, and we wouldn't have it any other way. Well, perhaps we would have a meatier mystery and more three-dimensional characters, but we couldn't help enjoying this simplistic and somewhat fantastical early thriller story.... Think of it as Christie on a busman's holiday, enjoying herself the entire way.
Mar 30, 2018
Bringing on the Drama: The Listerdale Mystery by Agatha Christie
What's the opposite of a no-drama mama? While you're pondering that, get out your hanky and start dabbing lightly at the corner of your eye because we've got a weepie on our hands. Especially if, like one of our co-hosts, you feel especially passionate about real estate. Come take a stroll on the softer side of Christie; we quite enjoyed it! And we hope you do, too.
Mar 23, 2018
And Then There Were 46: Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie
Real talk: we are not big fans of this one. But we *are* big fans of the three dogs discussed herein: 1) fictional dog Bob, our titular “dumb witness” (though whether he ever actually witnessed anything is... questionable); 2) Christie’s real-life faithful companion Peter, to whom this book is dedicated; and 3) actor dog Snubby, for whom David Suchet apparently fell as hard as his version of Hercule Poirot did in the televised adaptation. And it isn’t often we get to celebrate man’s best friend in the course of discussing a murder mystery. We just wish the puzzle mystery could have been more up to Dame Agatha’s habitually high standard.
Mar 16, 2018
A Miss Marple Nightcap: The Affair at the Bungalow by Agatha Christie
All good things must come to an end. At long last we hear from the final guest at the Bantry dinner party: Jane Helier, actress--and dingbat--extraordinaire. And boy does this one turn out to be a doozy! We've said it before, and we'll say it again. Beware the blue-eyed Janes....
Mar 09, 2018
Getting Happy with Parker Pyne: The Case of the Discontented Soldier by Agatha Christie
Yes, we have another Christie detective to meet! But is he a detective at all? Let's explore this question along with an unfortunate "stuck in its time" element we were not expecting in this, the short story that introduced Ariadne Oliver to the world. At the very least we can say that Mrs. Oliver emerged fully-formed from Christie's head, clothed in all her self-deprecating, no-nonsense glory. (Perhaps she should have been named Athena Oliver?)
Mar 02, 2018
And Then There Were 47: Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie
Welcome to Dame Agatha's twentieth mystery novel! There are those who love Cards on the Table, and those who loathe Cards on the Table. As it turns out, we (mainly) love it. Regardless of your feelings, you have to admit there is much to unpack here in the way of not just bridge but psychology. Plus: Ariadne Oliver! Let the meta-hijinks begin!
Feb 17, 2018
Communing with Mr. Quin : The Coming of Mr. Quin by Agatha Christie
It's time, at long last, to meet the mysterious Mr. Quin! This is a special, spooky little corner of the Christieverse that may be a favorite with some fans, and unknown to others. Join us as we parse not only his first mystery but the literary provenance of his character, which may be the biggest mystery of all....
Feb 09, 2018
A Miss Marple Nightcap: The Herb of Death by Agatha Christie
We've all experienced the well-worn trope of the unreliable female narrator at this point, but in this story we have the rare example of the *unwilling* female narrator... with quite interesting results. So join us, as our poor hostess Dolly Bantry is cajoled into telling a tale of vegetal mayhem and murder. Just don't call her Mrs. B.
Feb 03, 2018
A Miss Marple Nightcap: The Four Suspects by Agatha Christie
This week's short story relies on both arcane technical knowledge *and* dubious cryptography, and yet it was not written by Dan Brown. Go figure. Come and sit a spell with us at Gossington Hall, at the seemingly never-ending Bantry dinner party. It's Sir Henry Clithering's turn to tell a tale, and he does not disappoint. Plus: a bonus peek at the softer side (or is it?) of Miss Jane Marple!
Jan 19, 2018
And Then There Were 48: Murder In Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie
It’s time for Dame Agatha’s first Middle Eastern-set novel! And while there is much to discuss here (including the fascinating real-life inspiration for our murder victim), unfortunately there wasn't quite as much to love in either the novel or the Suchet adaptation. Still, it wasn’t nearly as bad as drinking a glass of hydrochloric acid!
Jan 13, 2018
A Miss Marple Nightcap: The Companion by Agatha Christie
What better way to say goodbye to 2017 than with a tale of overlooked--hence underestimated--women? And who better to solve such a tale than our very own Miss Jane Marple? Though let's be real: she isn't ours... she is very much her own, thank you very much. Happy New Year to all; we look forward to bringing you much, much more Christie in 2018!
Dec 29, 2017
A *Very Special* Holiday Miss Marple Episode: A Christmas Tragedy by Agatha Christie
Last year we had M. Poirot over for a Christmas visit, so we figured it was only fair to extend the invitation this year to our dear Miss Marple. Luckily she accepted... with a dark tale of sandbagging, impoverishment, and domestic discord! And this is why we cherish her so: she keeps it real, that Jane Marple. Happy holidays, everyone!
Dec 22, 2017
And Then There Were 49: The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie
A serial killer is on the loose… or *is* he (or she for that matter)? Come deep-dive with us--into the depths of this unusual Christie novel, in which our analysis gets granular enough to identify not one but two points of intersection between this novel and podcast favorite The Man in the Brown Suit. (I know; we were surprised too… surprised, and delighted.) Does Christie pull off everything she's trying to achieve here? Perhaps not, but we enjoyed the ride nonetheless.
Dec 17, 2017
A Miss Marple Nightcap: The Blue Geranium by Agatha Christie
Miss Marple is back! And perhaps better than ever in this inaugural tale of the Tuesday Night Club redux, a.k.a. part two of The Thirteen Problems. Get your thinking caps on because Miss Jane Marple is about to school us all. We wouldn't have it any other way. (Okay, Kemper, at least, wouldn't have it any other way....)
Dec 02, 2017
Tea with Tommy & Tuppence: The Crackler by Agatha Christie
For the Americans among us, we may be looking forward to a little R&R over the impending Thanksgiving break, and why not add a little T&T to that equation? Regardless of your nationality, join us in this quaint little counterfeit caper, in which our favorite married detectives are shown the money, and then some.
Nov 22, 2017
A *Very Special* Episode: Murder on the Orient Express, the 2017 Film
Just as you, dear listener, have probably done, we have gone out and watched the Kenneth Branagh adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express! And we have thoughts. So many thoughts.... Take a listen to our off-the-cuff remarks, and then feel free to share yours with us; we'd love to hear from you. (Except maybe if you're Josh Gad. Although actually, if Josh Gad were listening to this podcast we would in fact love to hear from him. E-mail us, Josh!)
Nov 17, 2017
And Then There Were 50: Death In The Clouds by Agatha Christie
Also known as the OG Jazz Age version of The Bridge meets Snakes on a Plane. There is a lot to unpack in this one, including our mixed/middling feelings about it despite its dishy setting. Come unpack with us; just beware that by the end of the episode contents may have shifted during your listening experience....
Nov 10, 2017
A Special HALLOWE'EN Episode: The Dressmaker's Doll & Philomel Cottage by Agatha Christie
It's Hallowe'en! (Yes, we are wedded to that apostrophe, unfortunately.) Join us (IF YOU DARE) as we dissect (LIKE CREEPY SCIENTISTS) two rather horrifying Christie short stories... with lots and lots of references to horror movies both high and low, of course. You may never feel the same way about dolls or husbands ever again.
Oct 30, 2017
Tea with Tommy & Tuppence: The Man in the Mist by Agatha Christie
Quick: we say "Gilda," you say... what? Rita Hayworth? Gilda Radnor? Well, after this episode you very well may say "Ghost Cop." It's another caper courtesy of our pals Tommy and Tuppence, and this time Tommy is dressed up as a priest from a previous (failed, naturally) case. Can he do his best Father Brown impersonation and figure out whodunit? That is honestly an open question when it comes to these two, so you'll just have to listen to find out!
Oct 26, 2017
Tea with Tommy & Tuppence: The Case of the Missing Lady by Agatha Christie
Time to get your screwball on! This may be Christie's most Wodehousian story yet (and it's certainly got some competition). Join us as we dive into a delightfully lighthearted Tommy & Tuppence caper. Oh, and also: were you aware that FUTURE PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN once played Tommy in a live televised adaptation of this very story?! Because we certainly were not. So much yet to learn about the Christieverse....
Oct 20, 2017
And Then There Were 51: Three Act Tragedy by Agatha Christie
Get ready for some drama! Both from this theater-saturated novel and from your intrepid co-hosts, as one of us quite liked this one, the other, less so. But it's not all tragedy, because stage plays aren't the only things to come in three parts. So too do... love triangles! And we know how Papa Poirot enjoys a romance. So join us as we debate the merits of this rare Hercule Poirot novel to feature another detective, one Mr. Satterthwaite of "The Mysterious Mr Quin" fame. He too enjoys a side-dish of romance amidst a generous helping of murder. Let's dig in.
Oct 13, 2017
Tea with Tommy & Tuppence: Finessing The King by Agatha Christie
What happens when our adorably mischievous young married duo T&T get up to no good at a '20s masquerade? Someone gets stabbed through the heart, of course! Nor do the horror and hijinks end there, not even close.... For one thing, we've got both 50 Cent and Andrew Lloyd Webber in this episode; what could possibly go wrong?
Oct 06, 2017
Tea with Tommy & Tuppence: The Affair of the Pink Pearl by Agatha Christie
Get ready for some light-hearted banter, folks, because Tommy and Tuppence are back! T&T sightings are relatively sparse in the Christieverse, but this early collection of short stories will help tide us over, as will the early '80s TV adaptations. Prepare to be delighted.
Sep 29, 2017
A Very Special Anniversary (!!) Episode: Rankings & Other Musings
We officially turned one year old! Come celebrate with us by engaging in a granular evaluation of the state of our novel rankings thus far, with many a blast from the past! (Mary Cavendish and Jane Wilkinson will be pleased.... Anne Bedingfeld, not so much. Sorry Anne.) Plus our thoughts on this crazy little projects of ours, including what makes Christie so gosh-darn special. Honestly, we could talk about that any time, but a birthday is an excellent excuse.
Sep 23, 2017
And Then There Were 52: Why Didn't They Ask Evans? by Agatha Christie
One might be inclined to ponder why they would ever ask Evans anything at all after we're done discussing this mid-career Christie thriller.... But let's focus on the positive, shall we? This episode posts on the birthday of our beloved Dame Agatha, born a whopping 127 years ago, her legacy stronger than ever.... We look forward to celebrating many more together.
Sep 15, 2017
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Lemesurier Inheritance by Agatha Christie
A.k.a. the one that got away. Yes, friends, this is the *only* Poirot short story not to be adapted by the ITV series starring David Suchet. And while it's a bit... out there, we found ourselves wishing this tale of madness and murder had been adapted in the earlier, peppier seasons featuring the whole crime-solving gang. What would Miss Lemon have made of a centuries-old inherited family curse? What sport would Hastings have been obsessed with as a side-pursuit? When would Japp and his trench coat have made their much-needed appearance? How would a car chase have been shoehorned into the proceedings? The fact that we'll never know just may be our own curse, but we'll learn to live with it together.
Aug 31, 2017
A Miss Marple Nightcap: The Thumb Mark of St. Peter by Agatha Christie
Things get a little wild when Miss Jane Marple herself tells the story in this, the final installment of the Tuesday Night Club. We've got carp; we've got haddock; we've got insanity; we've got the power of prayer. We may even have (gasp) true love? Has a romance been blossoming amidst these weekly tales of mayhem and intrigue? Leave it to Miss Marple to ferret it out... and to put it in its place.
Aug 25, 2017
A Miss Marple Nightcap: Motive v. Opportunity by Agatha Christie
Are you a fan of the 1990 blockbuster smash-hit film GHOST, starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and--most importantly--Whoopi Goldberg? If your answer to this question was a resounding "yes!" then this is your dream episode, as we found some startling parallels between the situational dynamics in this Miss Marple short story and that film. If your answer was "huh?" then we have so much to teach you.... Let's get started.
Aug 18, 2017
And Then There Were 53: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie - Part 2 (The Films)
Our first interview! We were so thrilled to chat with Christie scholar Mark Aldridge, author of Agatha Christie on Screen, about the many film adaptations of Murder on the Orient Express…. Please join us in the second (and final) installation of our exploration of this Christie classic. And have no fear: we *will* be revisiting this topic come November when the new film adaptation is released!
Aug 11, 2017
And Then There Were 53: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie - Part 1 (The Text)
This is a big one! So big, we decided to break it into two parts. This episode deals with the novel only; next episode we will tackle the three English-language adaptations and also touch on the feature film yet to be released, which looms darkly on the horizon.... Our ranking of this one is bound to be a bit controversial, and we'd love to hear any strong opinions you may have. But first, go get your sponge bag, your handkerchief, your pocket watch, your pipe cleaner, your scarlet dressing gown, and of course your passport (no smudges, please) and climb aboard the Simplon-Orient Express with Papa Poirot for this undeniable Christie "crown jewel" of a novel.
Aug 04, 2017
A Miss Marple Nightcap: The Blood-Stained Pavement by Agatha Christie
Another day, another episode wherein Miss Marple outsmarts all those foolish enough to underestimate her. This one is quite a pitch-black little story, as evidenced by its rather fantastic alternate title in the U.S.: Drip! Drip! And perhaps also by the fact that it's set in a place called "Rathole."
Jul 29, 2017
A Miss Marple Nightcap: Ingots of Gold by Agatha Christie
What do Poldark, Daphne Du Maurier, and the Spanish Armada all have in common? If you said Cornwall, then you are an ideal listener for this week's tale of Cornish intrigue brought to you by Miss Marple's nephew, the fake novelist Raymond West. (Spoiler: we do not like Raymond West.) Now for another one: what do Olivia de Havilland, Beverly Cleary, and Northanger Abbey all have in common? If you said nothing, then you are correct! Although technically, they are all tangents we explored on this rather freewheeling episode. Enjoy! (We certainly did.)
Jul 22, 2017
And Then There Were 54: Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie
This one is a little controversial! In a few different ways. Join us for a rollicking discussion of our latest Poirot novel, including such topics as: feminist literary theory (and whether it has a place in the interpretation of this text), and our first instance of (a subtextual, yet heavily implied) homophobia.... Oh, and there's also David Suchet playing (gasp) Inspector Japp!
Jul 17, 2017
A Special SUMMER HOLIDAY Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: Problem at Sea by Agatha Christie
The real mystery of this very special episode is why Hercule "mal de mer" Poirot would choose to spend his summer holiday in a boat on the Mediterranean, but luckily for us he does, along with a cast of characters running the full spectrum of companionability from delightful to despicable.... So come soak in the sun with us as we explore Poirot's most extreme--and perhaps, ironically, darkest--solution of extralegal justice among his many, many cases.
Jun 29, 2017
A Miss Marple Nightcap: The Idol House of Astarte by Agatha Christie
Have you watched the new Murder on the Orient Express trailer? We have, and we have thoughts. Many of them. We also have a new Miss Marple short story, one that may be a little short on clues, but not on atmosphere. Not that our dear Aunt Jane’s razor-edged bear trap of a ratiocination machine (a.k.a. her mind) would ever be affected by such a silly thing as atmosphere....
Jun 22, 2017
A Miss Marple Nightcap: The Tuesday Night Club by Agatha Christie
So much to discuss in our first Miss Marple short story, including: 1) the "Peter Panning" of yet another beloved Christie detective; 2) the perils of dismissing your dear Aunt Jane if you happen to be a pretentious blowhard of a novelist; 3) the further adventures of dubiously tinned seafood. Throw a log on that fire, spill some lace down your chest, and settle in for some good old-fashioned cynicism, Marple-style.
Jun 10, 2017
And Then There Were 55: Peril at End House by Agatha Christie
There is so much to cover in this devilishly clever and somewhat underrated Poirot mystery. (Plus cocaine. A lot of cocaine.) Join us as we discuss just how bad a job M. Poirot does in this one (it's surprising!), the finer points of Art Deco design, and the delightfulness of Cornwall as a setting (though sadly, sans Poldark).
Jun 02, 2017
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Chocolate Box by Agatha Christie
All right, it's time to talk about the *one* case our M. Poirot failed to solve. A better title might be: The One That Got Away, or in the case of the Suchet adaptation, The One *Who* Got Away.... Join us as we discuss television's penchant for spelling out sorrowful/traumatic backstories, and ponder just how big a chocolate can possibly be. We promise you'll never hear the line, "My mama always said, life is like a box of chocolates" quite the same way again.
May 26, 2017
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Lost Mine by Agatha Christie
There are so many things lost in this story: a mine; the papers pinpointing the location of said mine; the narrative facade whereby Hastings is supposedly the one telling us this story (more on this last point in our next episode).... But one thing we were sure *not* to lose was context, because boy is it necessary while wading through the colonialist Orientalism on display here.... So pull on your gaiters and wade with us. Along the way we get to hear Poirot call Hastings a "grumpus," so all is not lost.
May 19, 2017
*Special Announcement* in re Agatha Christie: A Reappraisal (a.k.a. We're Going to Cambridge!)
We are heading to the University of Cambridge in June to present a paper on Agatha Christie! We wanted to share this news with you because 1) we are so excited; and 2) we encourage you to join us there if you can! (Check out for more details.) Our regularly scheduled programming will resume next week....
May 12, 2017
And Then There Were 56: The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie
Well, this turned out to be rather a delightful read, despite a surprising number of unpleasant characters of the male persuasion. Perhaps that is the ultimate revenge of our plucky heroine, Emily Trefusis (not to mention Dame Agatha herself), in this, our very first standalone novel. So make yourself a hot cocoa (sans strychnine, please) and come enjoy with us the wintry wonders of Devon....
May 05, 2017
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Veiled Lady by Agatha Christie
Irish brides, Chinese boxes, Dutch murders... this mini-thriller masquerading as a Poirot short story has it all! Except for clues. But what it is lacking in clues it makes up for in FUN, particularly in the Suchet adaptation.... Woe to those who find themselves in a cell block next to "Mad Dog" Poirot. It's only a matter of time before he figures out how to make a shiv out of that mustache comb.
Apr 29, 2017
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Case of the Missing Will by Agatha Christie
It isn't often we're more critical than adoring of *both* a Christie story and its adaptation, but that seems to be the case here. I guess you could say where there's a missing will, there's a missing way. (Oof; just because you *could* say that doesn't mean you should....)We actually had a lot of fun exploring our different issues with each medium here. So put on your best suffragette-white outfit and come spend a spell with "new woman" Violet Marsh.
Apr 22, 2017
And Then There Were 57: The Murder at the Vicarage (I.e. Our First Miss Marple!) by Agatha Christie
Introducing… Miss Jane Marple! We could not be more thrilled to have reached, at long last, Dame Agatha’s most celebrated amateur detective. Join us as we endeavor to untangle not just the rather traditional puzzle mystery we find in this novel, but the character of Miss Marple herself. Is she a cynical yet well-meaning old lady with a knack for problem solving, or is there something more devious, even sinister about her powers of observation and inference? Come take a listen before you too fall victim to “sleepy sickness” and turn into a completely different person. (No, seriously: that is a thing in this book. It’s very weird. And not at all a spoiler because it has nothing to do with... anything.)
Apr 11, 2017
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman by Agatha Christie
This one is a comely little Christie puzzle that is definitely not going to win any awards for ingenuity, but it's pleasant enough to read. And to discuss. Warning: you might not want to sit down to this one with a cup of coffee. Or a rice soufflé. Or any food, really.... (That's not a spoiler: when Hercule Poirot stares at the remains of a meal for as long as he does at the beginning of this story, you know the meal has to be significant.)
Mar 30, 2017
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim by Agatha Christie
This week's pleasing Poirot puzzle is noteworthy for a few reasons: 1) it features Agatha Christie's recitation of the different ways a person might disappear, written five years *before* her own disappearance; 2) the Suchet adaptation features a bit of delightful wordplay involving a parrot; and 3) that same parrot leads to perhaps the greatest Hastings putdown ever recorded. Poor, poor Hastings....
Mar 22, 2017
And Then There Were 58: The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie
Join us as we frantically dig our way out of the grand old estate of Chimneys (last visited in The Secret of), like cartoon convicts shoveling our way to freedom.... This is the last of the early Christie thrillers, and if you haven't had your fill of secret societies, happily-ever-afters, or clock masks, you're in luck. There are actually some bright spots here; this may be Christie's most Wodehouse-ian novel yet.
Mar 17, 2017
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Kidnapped Prime Minister by Agatha Christie
This one gets pretty political! (Because if there's one thing we're missing these days, it's politics....) However, it's at least OLD politics (also known as history), taken from four discrete periods: 1918(ish), 1923, 1936, and 1990. Join us as we two Americans attempt to speak somewhat intelligently about what's been happening across the pond all these years.... Also, this may in fact be our most Irish episode; even Liam Neeson makes a guest appearance!
Mar 08, 2017
The Witness for the Prosecution: An Agatha Christie Classic
Back in 1925 Agatha Christie published a short story called "Traitor Hands," which would go on to spawn a successful play and several film adaptations, including the celebrated "Witness for the Prosecution" directed by Billy Wilder, as well as the rather luscious BBC miniseries that aired this past Christmas. Join us as we examine the original story alongside the original play while also taking a closer look at these two adaptations. Wanna kiss me, ducky?!
Mar 01, 2017
And Then There Were 59: The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie
Tell people you're reading a Christie novel set on a train--a Poirot, no less--and they'll almost definitely think you're reading Murder on The Orient Express. And you might be! But you might also be reading The Mystery of the Blue Train, which predates its much more famous sibling by a few years.... Climb aboard with us and traverse not just the French countryside but a hybrid whodunit/thriller centered on murder, adultery, priceless jewels, and a 33-year-old woman who is apparently in the "autumn" of her life (!!). This one definitely was not Christie's favorite, but we found a lot to enjoy here.
Feb 15, 2017
Gone Girl: The Notorious Real-Life Disappearance of Agatha Christie
We’re going true-crime for this one… or is that true-hoax? Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction, and Agatha Christie’s real-life disappearance for eleven days in 1926 is the perfect encapsulation of this phenomenon. Join us as we unravel the mystery as best we can, including its impact on our beloved author’s work and overall career. There’s also a movie from the ‘70s starring Vanessa Redgrave and Dustin Hoffman that is… interesting. Let’s discuss.
Feb 06, 2017
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan by Agatha Christie
Put on your thinking cap and solve this bare-bones locked-room logic puzzle with us. Then discard your thinking cap and revel in the theater-filled antics of the much more robust Suchet adaptation. Is "Pearls Before Swine" the best title, EVER, for a play? Undoubtedly. Is Poirot constitutionally capable of taking a proper holiday? Not a chance.
Jan 27, 2017
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb by Agatha Christie
Do you believe in spirits? Well then M. Poirot believes in YOU. Especially if you happen to find yourself in the vicinity of a murderer willing to kill FOUR people (so... a serial killer) for the slim possibility of a hastily scribbled note passing muster in a probate court as a legitimate will. Join us on one of Dame Agatha's early, pre-Mallowan, archaeological digs.... Hope the sand and heat don't bother you as much as they do Poirot!
Jan 20, 2017
And Then There Were 60: The Big Four by Agatha Christie
How do you fit a square peg in a round hole? Awkwardly! In this case the square peg is our beloved M. Poirot, and the round hole is one of Dame Agatha's breezy thrillers from her early years. And yet all is not lost: there is much to love in this episodic novel--and in its adaptation, aired during the final, sepia-tinted season of the Suchet series.... It's 2017 and our resolution is to read as much Christie as possible; let's do this.
Jan 09, 2017
A Special HOLIDAY Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie
What better way to celebrate the holiday season than with a very special Christmas-themed episode? Join Poirot as he partakes of a traditional English Christmas involving pudding, mistletoe, a fresh blanket of snow, a jewel thief, a drugging, and a possibly dead child atop said blanket of snow. You know, the usual.... But really, this one is quite lovely. Enjoy, and happy holidays!
Dec 24, 2016
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Million Dollar Bond Robbery by Agatha Christie
Toot, toot: all aboard the transatlantic steamer "Olympia," where a robbery has occurred. Or has it? Join us as we pick apart this elegant yet unfairly presented short story, and then revel in the maritime hijinks of the Suchet adaptation.... Hope you're not prone to "mal de mer" like poor Captain Hastings. Oh, Hastings.
Dec 19, 2016
And Then There Were 61: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
Ah, finally, our first real classic. A great, inventive, rule-breaking classic. Before there was "Gone Girl," our inimitable Dame Agatha was playing the long narrative con. Plus, we get Poirot in all his masterful gamesmanship, sly as ever. A certain murderer may have wished that mustachioed Belgian had never retired and gone to grow vegetable marrows, but we (and justice seekers everywhere) are so much the better for his countryside foray.
Dec 13, 2016
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge by Agatha Christie
We all know getting the flu isn't fun, but if you're Hercule Poirot, this dreaded illness has the extra side-effect of unleashing an un-chaperoned Captain Arthur Hastings on the world as replacement detective.... Let's review the hijinks together, shall we?
Dec 01, 2016
And Then There Were 62: The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie
Are you a reader who loved "The Man in the Brown Suit" but found it sorely lacking in English country homes? Well, fear not, because this week's episode tackles a Christie novel overflowing with rose gardens, secret passageways, and... chimneys. Does the novel also bear a somewhat suspicious similarity to the plot of our last novel? It does! Join us as we explore this similarity, as well as the intricacies of fictional Balkan geopolitics, diamond thievery, and... chimneys... in this, Superintendent Battle's first case.
Nov 24, 2016
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Adventure of the Cheap Flat by Agatha Christie
Call it what you will: a flat, an apartment, a love-nest, a pad.... A humble abode is hard to find--especially, apparently, if you live in early Twentieth Century London, where a cheap flat just may get you assassinated.... Come discuss this rather silly and shakily constructed short story, which redeems itself with yet another excellent Suchet adaptation.
Nov 11, 2016
And Then There Were 63: The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
This is about as close as an Agatha Christie novel gets to an episode of "The Love Boat," and in some ways it gets kind of close! Climb aboard as we journey from England to South Africa with our plucky heroine Anne Beddingfeld, getting embroiled in murder, diamonds, espionage, and of course romance along the way.... Are there all sorts of troubling implications in this rollicking adventure of both the gender and race relations variety? Of course! Let's try untangling it together.
Nov 05, 2016
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor by Agatha Christie
Our second short story episode! And while there's more than enough tragedy to go around in the original version--including a(n arguably) coerced confession and incredibly poor doctoring skills, the Suchet adaptation may be more aptly titled The Comedy at Marsdon Manor. So many hijinks!
Oct 28, 2016
And Then There Were 64: The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
So... there is surprisingly little golf in this Poirot novel, given its title, but there are many, many other things: an unfriendly rivalry between detectives; not one, but two romantic subplots; and lots of “continental” flair. Oh my. Come play with us… not in a creepy-haunted-hotel-twins kind of a way, but in a tumbling-vaudevillian-twins kind of way. I.e., goofy, and dopey, but more fun.
Oct 21, 2016
A Hercule Poirot Amuse-Bouche: The Adventure of the Western Star by Agatha Christie
Our first "interstitial" episode between novels. Brush up on your Nineteenth Century detective novels and clichéd Twentieth Century portrayals of Asian culture. Also, take a closer look with us at the televised adaptation: witness the softening of Poirot from page to screen, and some crucial differences in the Poirot/Hastings relationship. Poor Hastings.
Oct 16, 2016
And Then There Were 65: The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
Time for Dame Agatha's very first thriller featuring the delightful detective duo Tommy & Tuppence taking on the devious criminal mastermind "Mr. Brown." Was Tuppence modeled at least somewhat on young Agatha herself? Is "hanging a lantern" an appropriate technique to use in a novel? Do American teenagers really know French *that* well? All these answers... and more!
Oct 07, 2016
And Then There Were 66: The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie - Part 2
In which we dive into the delicious world of David Suchet and Hugh Fraser as Poirot and Hastings. (Shout out to Philip Jackson as Inspector Japp, too.) We also introduce you to our ranking system, which involves an extended discussion about some of the more difficult aspects of enjoying Christie's fiction from a Twenty-First Century perspective....
Sep 30, 2016
And Then There Were 66: The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie - Part 1
Episode 1! In which we tackle Agatha Christie's first published novel--and first Poirot novel--The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Deep-dive with us as we try to figure out how Christie crafted this cunning "puzzle mystery," and why one woman would regularly ingest coffee, cocoa, tonic, and sleeping powders all in one night.... Come for the kissing cousins, stay for the discussion of Holmes/Watson homage (a.k.a. fan-fic).
Sep 22, 2016
A preview of the upcoming podcast. Also: happy 126th birthday, Dame Agatha!
Sep 15, 2016