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A Christiean early birthday treat!

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I must admit that after the recent bout of poorliness I’ve felt in need of treats recently, and OH (who is always so good at surprising me with unexpected gifts) came up trumps with an early birthday present in the form of tickets for the 60th anniversary tour of Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap”!

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As such a huge Christie fan, it seems a little odd that I’ve never seen her most famous play. However, OH was clever enough to notice that the tour had its last night at the local big town and got us tickets in the third row – how cool is that! The offspring were sworn to secrecy so this was a wonderful, wonderful treat and really gave me a lift when I needed it!

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I shan’t say much about the plot except that it’s classic golden age crime – set in a snowbound manor house-cum-guesthouse in the 1950s with murder and mayhem and a killer in their midst. The cast were absolutely wonderful and the whole experience was grand! If you haven’t seen “The Mousetrap” and you love Christie – well, what are you waiting for? 🙂

Happy Birthday Agatha Christie!

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Today is the birthday of one of my favourite authors – Agatha Christie, who was born on 15 September 1890.

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Christie is of course a literary legend, having created some of the most famous detectives in fiction, Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. She had a long and prolific career, producing 66 detective novels, many short stories, romances under the name of Mary Westmacott, and plays – including “The Mousetrap”, the world’s longest-running play.

That’s certainly some achievement! Agatha’s books have been among my favourites since I discovered Hercule Poirot in my teens, during that difficult reading transition from childhood to adulthood – this was in the days before there were dedicated Young Adult books, and in some ways I think this was preferable. If you were an avid reader, like me, you could easily make the transition to adult books in your early teens and murder mysteries were a good way to do this (we won’t mention my mum’s collection of Victoria Holt, Jean Plaidy, Mary Stewart, Susan Howatch et al!).

So I devoured Agatha’s books in my youth, collecting old and battered paperbacks where I could from charity shops, jumble sales etc (I didn’t have much book money at the time) and I still have them proudly on my shelves. I loved Poirot and Marple of course, but I’m also inordinately fond of her Tommy and Tuppence books, and also her thrillers.

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Christie has been criticised by some as having undeveloped characters or bad plotting, which I really don’t understand. She’s a brilliant writer in my view, in control of her material and what she wants to do and say with it. Her characters live for me and I return to her books over and over again, always with a great sense of enjoyment. Yes, perhaps her later books are not quite so good as the early ones – but not-so-good Christie is better than most others!

So happy birthday Dame Agatha – and thank you for the reading pleasure you’ve given me over the years!

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