Archive for ‘Poirot’

April 27, 2020

The Name Game

 

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I love to learn about names. What they mean, why they’re chosen, it all fascinates me. My name is Kimberly, chosen by my mom because she had never known of anyone named Kim except for the actress Kim Novak. That was up until she met her room mate in the maternity ward at Bon Secours Hospital. It had been decided my name would be Ann Elizabeth, but Mom changed her mind and when it came time to fill out the birth certificate I became Kimberly Anne, much to my dad’s surprise. At least it wasn’t Robin, another of Mom’s choices. “She won’t be named after no damned bird,” said Dad. And he was right, instead I was named for a woman Mom never saw again.

My mom’s name is Frances, she’s named after her aunt, my grandmother’s sister. Mom always said she felt fortunate she had been born in the parlor at Aunt Frances’s house and not one of her other aunts. Elsie, Lottie, and Desi were not names that appealed to Mom, though both my sister and I considered the name Lottie for our own children. My daughter ended up with the name Monica, but the protagonist in my supernatural stories is named Lottie, a nickname for Charlotte.

Naming characters in stories is fun. I think Agatha Christie found great enjoyment in this process. Many times she uses names to keep the reader on their toes, such as in A Murder is Announced with the names Lottie [who knew it was so popular?] and Lettie. Was this merely a slip of the tongue or were Lottie and Lettie two different people? I hope by now you’ve read that book and know the answer.

In They Do It With Mirrors, Miss Marple agrees to stay with her old friend Carrie Louise Serrocold. When she arrives at Stoneygates, she soon learns that she is the only person who refers to her friend as Carrie Louise. Mr. Serrocold, her friend’s husband, calls her Carolyn, while the secretary says Cara, and to Gina, the granddaughter she is Grandmam. Miss Marple makes note of this, but nothing more is mentioned about it throughout the book. I wonder was there a point for the names originally that just got lost or if it was a commentary by Christie on how we are seen by others.

I am mostly called Kim by just about everyone except for my financial adviser who insists on calling me Kimberly.  My mom never called me Kimberly even when I was in trouble. My cousins call me Kimmy, which is not my favorite. When my sister was a toddler and just learning to talk she called me Day because my grandfather would call me Kimmy Kay. She had a habit of only saying the end parts of words and that’s how it came out for her, Kay was Day. That was pretty cute.

Our names are important, they’re our identity and, many times, say a lot about us. For example, the name Kim means chief of war. It also written that people [because Kim can be used for both girls and boys] named Kim tend to be sensitive, eager to please and outgoing. It also says they can be perfectionist, strong-willed, and artistic.  I think I was named appropriately.

Think back to some of your favorite characters in books. Their names conjure up a certain image. Would James Bond be as dynamic if he were called Ralph Thomas? You’d expect Dorothy Gale {get it?} to be swept away in a mighty wind, but maybe not Patty Jones. Jane Marple is a plain, unassuming name. We can visualize her at once and believe that she is an elderly spinster. Hercule Poirot also tells us what we can expect from this character. Hercule, which is much like Hercules, means strong and refined. Hercule Poirot’s strength is in his little gray cells.

Are you named for anyone in particular? Do you know the story behind your name and why it was chosen? I would really like to hear your stories.

In the meantime, I have begun to read A Pocket Full of Rye, the next novel in the Miss Marple series. What are you reading? Let me know.

Stay well and have a lovely week!

April 6, 2020

The Big Four

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Happy Sunday! How’s everyone doing? It’s another week that I was unable to get a copy of an Agatha Christie book. You all must be doing a lot of reading out there! After skimming the reviews about this particular Poirot book, I can’t say I’m disappointed that I missed out on it.

This novel, which in actuality was several short stories thread together, is considered by many to be Christie’s least successful novel and her most controversial.  She completed the book while in the process of divorcing her husband and not long after the death of her mother.

Without the book to read, I did the second best thing. I sat down and turned on Britbox, and once again I enjoyed my favorite Poirot actor David Suchet. I thought the show was interesting and was happy I was able to see it. According to one article, this book was hard to film for many reasons, the wide range of locations being only one of them. This story was one of the last to be filmed in the Poirot series.

Beginning next week I will only be putting out one post a week on Mondays. There we will discuss both Poirot and Miss Marple. Until the library reopens we may need to stick to discussing the books I own which means we would be reading out of order. I think that will be fine and we will still be covering every novel featuring Christie’s most famous sleuths.

I hope you and your families are all well. I’m staying home and washing my hands frequently. I hope you are doing the same!

 

March 29, 2020

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

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“Strange,” he murmured. “We all have the little grey cells. And so few of us know how to use them.”       -Hercule Poirot

 

Today marks sixteen days I have been on the social distancing plan. I haven’t been any further than my own backyard.My husband ventures out to work and picks up anything we need. One thing he was unable to get for me was this week’s book. As I’m sure you are aware the libraries are all closed. You can’t even return books because they’ve locked the return bins.

I was also unable to secure the book online from the library, but did place a hold on it. Just goes to show you how popular Agatha Christie still is 100 years later! So, I did the next best thing; I watched it on the Acorn station. Are you familiar with Acorn? It’s similar to Britbox [I have both] and features movies and television programs from “across the pond.” If you enjoy Masterpiece Theater and Mystery, you will be interested in the programming on these stations.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was well done and featured my favorite Poirot, David Suchet. It was a bit different from the other Poirot stories. This one is basically told by Poirot himself as he reads from the murderer’s journal. See? Apparently writing in your journal daily helps everyone!The story gives nothing away until the very end, and I was surprised. I thought the butler did it at first. When he ended up among the victims I knew I was either wrong or he was a clever killer.

The show was well cast. Hastings does not make an appearance in this one which made me feel rather glad. Though I like the character of Hastings and Hugh Fraser, the actor who portrays him, I think he was miscast. In the books Hastings seems much younger.

The next Poirot book should be The Big Four. I hope to be able to read it, it’s not one that I own. If the book is unavailable, then we will once again discuss the show.

Keep reading and let me know what books you enjoy whether they are Christie or not. I wish you well and stay home if you are able and remember to wash, wash, wash your hands!

 

 

March 22, 2020

Poirot Investigates

 

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My happy place and a good spot to read.

How is everyone doing? I am mostly well, but must admit that I’ve had a few fleeting moments of panic. Today marks the eighth day I’ve been in my house. It has been a blessing to have this Agatha Christie project to keep my mind occupied. Aren’t books wonderful?

My local library is now closed, so I read this book online. I prefer an actual book, but it did seem to me that it took less time to read on my iPad. How do you prefer to read?

This week’s selection, Poirot Investigates, is a book containing fourteen short stories. Poirot may have been an excellent investigator, but I apparently am not. I did not realize this was not a novel. This will be our last short story selection, I would like to keep our reading to novels for now.

That being said, I do enjoy short stories and have a published my own in a few anthologies. This was the first time I’d read any of Christie’s Poirot short stories. I liked them very much, but I think I prefer her Poirot novels. My favorite story from this book was The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge. I think Agatha Christie was quite fascinated with actresses because she uses them in many of her stories.

This past week I also had the opportunity to watch the 1974 Sydney Lumet version of Murder on the Orient Express. I do love that movie, but it is for Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall and Jacqueline Bisset, definitely not Albert Finney’s Poirot.  As I’ve said before, David Suchet is the perfect Poirot.

Next week we will read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Until then, stay well, stay in your house, and keep reading to lift your spirits!

March 16, 2020

Murder on the Links

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I’m snuggled here in my office, doing my part at keeping my distance from others. I guess I’ve picked a good time to start reading Agatha Christie because it seems there will be plenty of time for at least the next two weeks.

How did everyone enjoy this week’s Poirot mystery? This was the first time I have read Murder on the Links and I really enjoyed it. I have not yet seen the show, but plan on doing so this week.

My first thought was that the story would be about golf, and must admit was thankful that wasn’t the case. I was able to guess the true identity of the victim, but was totally surprised at the conclusion. Towards the end of the book I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

Yesterday afternoon I watched a very entertaining show on Amazon Prime about Agatha Christie. The Mystery of Agatha Christie with David Suchet  was fascinating. He took the viewer on a tour of Agatha’s life by interviewing her grandson Matthew, and her biographer Laura Thompson among others. I especially enjoyed the interview with artist Tom Adams who created the covers of many of Christie’s novels.

In one segment David Suchet drives an almost identical car to the one that was found the night Agatha went missing in 1926. He and Laura Thompson park in the location where Christie’s car had been found and discuss the theories of her disappearance. All the information was extremely interesting and I highly recommend this program if you haven’t already seen it.

I am most interested in your thoughts about Murder on the Links and hope you will comment below. Next week’s book is Poirot Investigates.

Enjoy your week and keep yourself and your neighbors healthy by staying home and reading!