Friday, August 23, 2002

Taken At The Flood

One of my constant stand-by favourites is Agatha Christie. She wrote so many books that one can never possibly have read them all, and I am always rather excited when I come across one that I haven't yet read.

I picked up Taken At The Flood the other day (in our local London Drugs, of all places); it features Hercule Poirot and a whole string of twists of identity.

With a twist-of-identity plot, the characters become the most important feature of the mystery. A couple of my favourite characters from this one are Aunt Kathie-- who is "under spirit guidance" and puts great faith in ouija boards and mediums-- and Frances, "one of those lean greyhound women who look well in tweeds", with "a rather arrogant ravaged beauty about her face which had no make-up except a little carelessly applied lipstick". That description in particular says so much with so few carefully chosen words, which is one of the reasons why I love Agatha Christie.

Anyone who dismisses Christie as a serious writer because of her prolific writing or her status as a 'mystery novelist' is missing some very clever snapshots of human nature and life in England... and in the case of Taken At The Flood, an interesting perception of life after war-- for those who stayed behind and those who went to war and returned-- for men who stayed at home and women who went as Wrens and returned.

Even more than most Christie mysteries, this one is worth reading.

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