Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The Agatha Christie Challenge...

I really want to post pictures of our awesome weekend trip to Big Bear Lake, in the Californian Mountains, but they are all on husband's macbook, so it'll have to wait.  Instead, I am today honouring the rather marvellous people at the City of Los Angeles Public Library. Yesterday, the city council did something rather wonderful, reinstating longer opening hours that had been part of the panic budget cuts to save the state from going bankrupt.  The eternal politics student in me knows that this is not quite so simple as it appears, but I still think it's a cause to celebrate when public services here are, quite frankly, grim.

With that in mind, I've set myself a reading challenge, since I have 1,000,000 hours to kill. I'm going to read all of Agatha Christie's books.Why Christie? Firstly, it makes me think of autumn. I had a long conversation with my friend Hilary about why LA goes nuts for holiday celebrations. There are Halloween decorations EVERYWHERE. Every home, every business. When I went to get my driving permit, the DMV had a halloween display of a car crash with a dummy from the LA County Coroner's Office in the middle of it (photography was, unfortunately, banned.) We agreed that this overt display of holiday cheer is a desperate attempt to confirm that time is in fact passing. It is 28 degrees here today. As husband and I like to say to one another, 'it's another beautiful day in southern california.' It is always another beautiful day. There is no sense that it is not summer any more. Instead of pumpkins, spiders and candy, I'm choosing Christie.

Source- HarperCollins

The second reason is the Westwood branch of the library has hundreds of them, and I've read quite a few new ones in the last few weeks, and the ones I've read have been non-Poirot or Marple ones. These are some of my favourites.

Here's the list. There are a LOT. I'm hoping to have it done by the time summer rolls around. some I've read before, but it's hard to be certain what I've read and what I've seen on TV. They can be very different. A fair few of the Marple's are actually stand alone stories adapted for TV, as there are not that many stories featuring Miss Marple. Anyway, the list...

1920 The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Poirot)
1922 The Secret Adversary
1923 The Murder on the Links ( Poirot)
1924 The Man in the Brown Suit
1925 The Secret of Chimneys
1926 The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Poirot)
1927 The Big Four (Poirot)
1928 The Mystery of the Blue Train (Poirot)
1929 The Seven Dials Mystery
1930 The Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple)
1931 The Sittaford Mystery
1932 Peril at End House (Poirot)
1933 Lord Edgware Dies* (Poirot)
1934 Murder on the Orient Express* (Poirot)
1934 Why Didn't They Ask Evans?*
1935 Three Act Tragedy* (Poirot)
1935 Death in the Clouds* (Poirot)
1936 The A.B.C. Murders * (Poirot)
1936 Murder in Mesopotamia (Poirot)
1936 Cards on the Table (Poirot)
1937 Dumb Witness* (Poirot)
1937 Death on the Nile (Poirot)
1938 Appointment with Death (Poirot)
1938 Murder for Christmas* (Poirot)
1939 Murder is Easy
1939 And Then There Were None*
1940 Sad Cypress (Poirot)
1940 One, Two, Buckle My Shoe* (Poirot)
1941 Evil Under the Sun (Poirot)
1941 N or M?
1942 The Body in the Library (Miss Marple)
1942 Five Little Pigs* (Poirot)
1942 The Moving Finger* (Miss Marple)
1944 Towards Zero
1944 Death Comes as the End
1945 Sparkling Cyanide*
1946 The Hollow* (Poirot)
1948 Taken at the Flood* (Poirot)
1949 Crooked House
1950 A Murder is Announced (Miss Marple)
1951 They Came to Baghdad
1952 Mrs McGinty's Dead* ( Poirot)
1952 They Do It with Mirrors* (Miss Marple)
1953 After the Funeral (Poirot)
1953 A Pocket Full of Rye ( Miss Marple
1954 Destination Unknown*
1955 Hickory Dickory Dock* (Poirot)
1956 Dead Man's Folly (Poirot)
1957 4.50 from Paddington*  (Miss Marple)
1958 Ordeal by Innocence
1959 Cat Among the Pigeons (Poirot)
1961 The Pale Horse (Insp Lejeune)
1962 The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side * (Miss Marple)
1963 The Clocks (Poirot)
1964 A Caribbean Mystery (Miss Marple)
1965 At Bertram's Hotel (Miss Marple)
1966 Third Girl (Poirot)
1967 Endless Night 

1968 By the Pricking of My Thumbs
1969 Hallowe'en Party (Poirot)
1970 Passenger to Frankfurt
1971 Nemesis (Miss Marple)
1972 Elephants Can Remember (Poirot)
1973 Postern of Fate
1975 Curtain Poirot's 'last' case (but written in the 1930s)
1976 Sleeping Murder Miss Marple's 'last' case (also written in the 30s)

(courtesy of the Agatha Christie Facebook Page. I don't have the energy to type them all out myself...)

The stars indicate alternative titles, for example I have just finished 'And then there were none', which used to be called Ten Little Indians. The reason for that particular change is, I hope, rather obvious. So this is the challenge. I have a pile to read just now, shall be back to update soon...

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