This week: Sir Arthur or Dame Agatha?Edited by: eyestar~
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Hiya Readers! I am back as your editor for this edition!
I have been watching some mystery channel shows: Sherlock Holmes and Poirot and thought I would do a bit of reading on their creators.
"Mediocrity knows nothing higher that itself but talent instantly recognizes genius." A. Conan Doyle
"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?" Sherlock Holmes
“The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”
Murder of the Orient Express, Poirot by Agatha Christie
I was watching a show that debated who was a better writer, Jane Austen or Emily Bronte! Two speakers gave their rationale and then the audience was to vote before and and after the speeches and readings! Hard to choose and even the debators knew it unfair to compare..but all in fun! So I thought why not ask you to choose which classical mystery novelist you would choose:
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Dame Agatha Christie?
Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) wrote his first novel "A Study in Scarlet" in 1887, three years before Agatha Christie was born. His last novel was in 1917.
By the time Agatha Christie (1890-1976) published "Mysterious Affair At Styles" in 1920, Doyle was 61 and had turned his attention to the study of Spiritualism. He was even asked to assist with his psychic friend to try and find Agatha in 1926 when she disappeared for 11 days.
He died at 71 in 1930 having written 4 novels, 60 short stories and had been a prolific writer of at least 200 pieces in sci-fi , fantasy, romance, plays, history and non-fiction. Sherlock Holmes was his main detective creation, who many thought was a real person. A whole society build up around Doyle and Holmes.
Agatha died in 1976 at 85 with 66 novels, 14 short stories (many with Poirot and Marple characters). She i
was the most widely read novelist and her play the MOUSETRAP is the longest running play.
She read Doyle's work and once said Sherlock Holmes was "the one and only" and "not emulateable" . In her autobiography she said she realized that she had absorbed more of Doyle than she thought: Poirot with his friend Hastings and a side cop Inspector Jap. Like Holmes with Watson and Lastrade.
Sherlock Holmes apparently is the most known and popular as Doyle gave him hidden depths and never really gave a lot of details about him so keeps us guessing and looking as he shifts! Poirot is popular but we know all about him and he does not change much.
By the time Agatha wrote there were two conventions already formed in the mystery world.
-the eccentricity of the detective (think of Sherlock Holmes and Poirot) and the idea of "rationcination" where the detective shows no emotion but uses inductive reasoning and science.
So both she and Doyle used the principles of logic, science and psychology. Sherlock Holmes stories seem more real to life with simpler issues where as Christie's are more dramatic with more psychological element. Doyle was the first to use science and forensic science in his works
Each author had their own style in their mystery genre.
Doyle created stories with perplexed clients visiting 221D Baker Street,a home that shows a lot about Sherlock, and all but two were narrated by Dr. Watson. He engages the reader's interest in wanting to know how Sherlock will find the culprit, deducing facts and connecting the dots, which he reveals to all as he explains to Watson his thinking. He has his detective run around after clues actively even devising disguises for a bit of drama.
Christie uses various settings and has the reader looking for who the murderer is. The explanations and reasons come later. All the characters seem to be suspects or there are secrets held back so confusion can reign in our heads. She used various narrative types, omniscient narration or from one point of view (eg. Hastings, in Poirot stories) and even in the first person. She engages with suspense and characters and has been called the Queen of Crime! She created two identifiable detectives, Poirot and Miss Marple, which I understand is quite a feat.
Some cool facts:
Agatha Christie did not go to school and in spite of her mother, taught herself to read and write. She never set out to be a writer but took a dare from her sister to write a crime story!
Conan Doyle was a Scottish writer and physician, whose mother loved books and told stories in a dramatic way that stayed vividly in his mind.
Sherlock's observation, logic, deduction, and diagnosis persona was based on Doyle's admiration for Dr. Joseph Bell, one of his teachers in Medical School. His favourite authors at the time were E. A. Poe and Brett Harte. he wrote his first short story for a magazine then too.
In May 1891, after a bout of deathly flu, Doyle gave up medicine and chose writing after trying to give both his attention for a long time.
Christie's "Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case" was written at the start of the second World War but not published until 1975.
It is possible to read a different Agatha Christie book every month for seven years.
Christie worked in a hospital dispensary during World War One, thereby gaining her knowledge of poisons.
She was as successful a playwright as she was a novelist, a feat that no other crime writer has achieved.
So What do you say? Sir Arthur or Dame Agatha?
Thanks for reading. Write on!
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Share your thoughts or knowings about these iconic crime folks! And who would you pick?
"If you had to choose...."
Thank you for your kind comments on "Mystery Newsletter (July 22, 2020)" !
Write 2 Publish 2020
"Murder to me is when one or more take a life without the consent of another. Then I had to think what is it when someone is put to death for committing a murder? While it is without their permission the justification of taking one life for taking another isn’t murder in my books per se. technically yes if your dealing with words not lives. Interesting thought though."
I thought so too. LOL
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