23 July 2010

Would Agatha Christie really have been interested?

I have a Google Alert out for references in blog posts and other online places to Agatha Christie.
I've been thinking for some time about the way people casually refer to her in passing, and wonder whether they are attributing false characteristics to her, or whether it is an example of some sort of literary snobbery - you know, they sound better, carry more authority,  because they "know about" Agatha Christie.

I'll let you make up your own mind about the following examples

The old lady’s butler became suspicious of Woerth, and secretly taped the fellow’s conversations with his employer. (Agatha Christie, where are you?) The two talked about money, cash, secret Swiss accounts, a yacht, oh, and the Jews.
From a blog post titled Sarkozy: Banning Burqas and Collecting Envelopes?  in the National Review where David Pryce-Jones talks about people who have designs on the money of Madame Liliane Bettencourt, aged 87. She’s inherited L’Oréal cosmetics, and a fortune of about sixteen billion euros makes her one of the richest women in Europe.

Agatha Christie would be proud of the plot line unfurled ahead of tonight's Tri-Nations return match between the All Blacks and South Africa.
From a report titled Springboks: Men of Mystery all about their current rugby tour of New Zealand. It all boils down to an admission that the New Zealand side has very little idea of what to expect in the coming match.

So far you have survived the worst crisis in financial markets since the Great Depression. You have held onto your sizable wealth, which presents us with a tax-planning scenario that only Agatha Christie could have dreamed up:
From an article in the online Bloomberg Business Week, Beware Greedy Relatives If You Hope to See 2011 by Kevin Hassett about the fact that in the US estate tax this year is 0%.

In a plot twist worthy of Agatha Christie investigators said Rosenberg made the recording knowing that two days later, on May 10, assassins he had hired would ambush him near his home. He was shot three times in the head, once in the neck and once in the back. He apparently hoped the video would render him a martyr.
From a news article titled Lawyer in YouTube murder plot video hired his own assassins – UN

5 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - What a terrific post! You've given some really interesting examples, too, of the way that Agatha Christie's name is dropped, if you will. I suppose it may be because people want to seem to be "literary," or, as you say, they want to add more credence to what they write. It makes me wonder just how much Christie they've read...

Bernadette in Australia said...

Great post Kerrie. I find this kind of cultural shorthand fascinating...how long does it take for something/somone to become synonymous with a particular subject and how long does that last...it's actually quite amazing that Christie can be associated with 'things mysterious' even for people who've never read her

Lourdes said...

So Agatha Christie automatically equals anything to do with crime?! Thanks for all the great examples.

Vanda Symon said...

I watched the tri-nations rugby test and there was no mystery - the All Blacks were always going to win!!!

Deb said...

Coincidently, just after I read your post, I had forwarded my husband a news item from here in the States about a man who had conned his parents out of almost $200,000 by pretending his life was in danger from (I kid you not) Walmart hired assassins. My husband's response: "Perhaps his parents had never read Agatha Christie or they would have seen that this was an obvious con."

I'm sure what he meant was that the parents had never read much crime fiction in general, but Christie was the representative of the entire genre.

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