Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making: More Stories and Secrets from Her Notebooks
by John Curran
In this follow-up volume to the award-winning ‘Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks’, Christie archivist and expert John Curran leads the reader through the six decades of Agatha’s writing career, unearthing some remarkable clues to her success and a number of never-before-published excerpts and stories from her archives.
Starting his investigation in the 1920s, John Curran examines the conventions of detective fiction as it existed then and reveals how Agatha Christie’s publisher talked her into changing the ending of her very first book, ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’, a move that almost certainly changed the fortunes of not only her career but also the future of the detective novel. For the very first time, this book prints Agatha’s original ending, painstakingly transcribed from the hand-written draft in one of her earliest notebooks.
Every decade saw Agatha Christie’s success grow to new heights. The emergence of the world-famous Collins Crime Club in 1930 brought with it the very first Miss Marple novel; the austerity of the 1940s had Agatha Christie preparing to kill off Hercule Poirot; and the 1950s saw her experiment increasingly with stories influenced by more modern thrillers. Focusing on more than 20 Christie novels as detailed evidence, John Curran demonstrates the evolution of Agatha’s writing through the decades, including her perseverance through the Swinging Sixties and Seventies into old age, concluding with a look at Agatha’s last notebook and her ideas for an unwritten final book.
As well as revealing more than a dozen unpublished book ideas, ‘Agatha Christie’s Murder in the Making’ contains two new short stories from her archives – ‘The Man Who Knew’ and an early Miss Marple draft, ‘The Case of the Caretaker’s Wife’.
NB: The first edition, first printing, has the ISBN on the reverse of the title page as in this record of the book but the back of the dust wrapper carries a different ISBN – 9780007908561! In addition there seems to be a variant title in that in some editions the last word of the sub-title is ‘Notebooks’ as opposed to ‘Archive’.