Mysteries, Christie and the Love of Books
One of the things I’m most grateful for, naturally, is the ability to read — and for that I thank my mother, who not only helped me learn to read, but kept me supplied with library books for years. It’s because of Mom that my heart still beats faster when I see card catalogs (on Etsy, repurposed as recipe-card files… I do have to live in the modern world!).
But it was my mother’s sister, my Aunt Mary, who turned me on to the “hard stuff” — mystery novels. Back in the day, when we didn’t have a plethora of YA fiction, I was constantly searching for new books, authors and genres. It was Aunt Mary who had the idea of letting me read Agatha Christie’s output, when I was around 11. She gave me Ten Little Indians, and before long, I was reading every battered hardcover and worn paperback of Dame Agatha’s on our library shelves. Yes, these books are formulaic, but that was perfect for a young adolescent. Trying to out-sleuth Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple was much more pleasant than enduring another day in middle school.
I still read Agatha Christie novels, especially when I’m looking for a “comfort read” — a book that will take me away from stress for a short period of time. That’s why I’m particularly delighted to be able to share this news: There is a new (yes, new!) Agatha Christie book out right now! Hercule Poirot and The Greenshore Folly was a manuscript Christie wrote as a charity opportunity for her local church. She wound up publishing a different version at full length, and another one at short-story length.
Only now has the entire original novel been found and published by HarperCollins’ Witness Impulse imprint. Available only as an e-book, “The Greenshore Folly” involves Christie’s unforgettably fussy Belgian private investigator, Hercule Poirot, and a parlor game that turns nasty in a chocolate-box English village. It’s vintage Christie — meaning I couldn’t put it down.
So, actually, I’m triply grateful this week. I’m grateful to my mother for instilling a love of books and reading in me, to my Aunt Mary for sharing her passion for whodunits with me, and to Dame Agatha Christie for being both backlist and frontlist in one column. That’s a lot to be thankful for. Good thing you can never be too thankful; hope I can remember that you can, however, eat too much pie.
Happy Thanksgiving, readers!
As the said Mom in this article I am delighted for the acknowledgment from my talented daughter, Bethanne Patrick. She exhibited a very early interest in books and the adventures to be found between the covers. I am honored to have played a part, however humble, in encouraging her passion for the written word.
Jennifer Bensko Ha
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