Agatha Christie is the best selling novelist of all time. That means she has sold more books than Stephen King, for instance. Or Charles Dickens. Her career spanned more than fifty years and produced sixty-six novels plus short stories and plays.
I am reading more of Christie's novels now for several reasons. First, though I had always thought of her as an old-fashioned mystery writer who belonged to previous generations, I now see she was publishing regularly through the 1960's and until her death in 1976, well into my lifetime.
Second, she wrote several kinds of novels. She is famous for Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, and indeed they account for about two-thirds of her novels, but among the others is her best selling book, And Then There Were None, a murder mystery with no sleuth. She also wrote one narrated in the first person by the killer (I won't say which one). So there's lots to explore.
Also, since I want to write mysteries people will want to read, I'd like to learn from the best.
This is a great idea for a book. The editors asked over one hundred currently active mystery writers to name their favorite mystery book and write a short essay on it. "Mystery" is taken broadly to include amateur sleuth mysteries, private eye novels, police procedurals, thrillers, suspense novels and so on.
So, for instance, we see that Michael Connelly chooses Raymond Chandler's The Little Sister as his all-time fave. In fact, he narrows it down to Chapter 13. He says he reads that chapter each time he starts to write a new book. I've read Connelly's books as they have been published over the years, all of them I think. I've enjoyed them and admired them. It's great to know where he gets his inspiration.
Lauren Anderson writes about Agatha Christie's Endless Night. What she says got me curious enough to find this book and read it. Wow! I've seen my share of film and TV adaptations of Christie's novels and I acted in a production of Ten Little Indians in high school (based on the novel And Then There Were None). But I am only now beginning to appreciate the range of her work. Endless Night is not a whodunnit solved by a nosy old lady or a fussy Belgian detective. It is a suspense novel that will appeal to fans of Patricia Highsmith and Jim Thompson -- dare I say, dark.
By the way, I'm not familiar with the work of Lauren Anderson, but since I like her favorite book, I think I will look her up. That's the flip side of this collection of essays. Along with getting introduced to classics, one meets contemporary writers. So many books, so little time.
By the way, I found this book at the Mechanics Institute Library. After reading it, and finding out how much I like it, I went out and bought this paperback copy. This is how I control my bibliophilia: whenever possible borrow a copy and read it. If I really like it and know I'll read it again, I buy a copy.