I have decided to institute a monthly theme to my author's blogs. My theme for the month of March is female writers of (cozy) mysteries that have influenced my own writing in some way. Agatha Christie has influenced me from childhood with her characters, so she is going to take the lead for March.
Christie wrote 66 detective novels, and fourteen short stories. She introduced two of my favorite characters: Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. I want to think that I carry a tiny bit of each of these characters in my psyche: Miss Marple for her astute observation of the people around her from a very down to earth point of view, and Hercule Poirot for his astute observations of the people around him from a more intellectual point of view. Both of these characters have given me many hours of reading pleasure, and will continue to do so.
Christie is known for her well developed characters, as well as descriptive backgrounds, and portraying the mores of her time well. I absolutely adore both the book and movie versions of "Murder On The Orient Express" - it is absolutely riviting about the inter-relationship between the passengers, and one does really not guess the truth until it is spelled out at the end of the story.
Christie's story hooks were often very simple facts of life - such as a character knowingly exposing a group of people to measles, causing a death that did not have to be (Miss Marple - "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side"), or blackmail (Hercule Poirot - "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd").
Another character that Christie developed was Raymond West (Miss Marple's nephew). It took me a while to get used to him, but hehas great charm. He is an author, married to an artist, and he helps support Miss Marple financially. Through this character, Christie is able to expand her stories to a wider audience (IMHO).
Through Agatha Christie I have seen what a cozy mystery really can be. I have no intention of tring to duplicate her work - it stands alone, and always will. What I do intend to do is to reflect the life and mores of my time through the genre of cozy mystery.
Next up: M.C. Beaton, author of the Agatha Raisin and Hamish MacBeth series.
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(c) March 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.