12

I haven't (yet) read the novel in question, but I can explain the passage's simple meaning as a fluent English speaker. Let's take this apart, one piece at a time. By Jove! As one of the commenters mentioned, "by Jove!" is an exclamation, similar to "By God!". In fact, according to Wiktionary, the term comes from another name for the god Jupiter. he'd ...


11

When people actually sent telegraphs, they were charged at so much per word. Therefore a prudent correspondent would pare the words down to the minimum necessary to communicate information. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telegram_style#Example Telegram style, telegraph style, telegraphic style or telegraphese[1] is a clipped way of writing that attempts to ...


11

As @yannis and @Valorum have said in the comments, the play's original title Three Blind Mice had to be changed because there was an earlier play with the same title. Yannis shared this information from the official Agatha Christie website: The story was adapted from a radio play, Three Blind Mice, written for the Royal family in 1947. The stage play had ...


8

According to the Wikipedia page on Hercule Poirot and based on quotations from Curtain, Poirot died in October 1949, thirty-three years after he first met Captain Hastings in June 1916. (He wasn't actually retired by that point, but he was a refugee escaping from World War I: it's unclear when exactly he retired). We know that he was a detective with the ...


8

Spoilers for the book follow First, the killer is found with a bullet through the forehead. This is the "mark of Cain". Cain was the first murderer: And the Lord said to him, Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him (Genesis 4:15). The precise ...


7

Make-up was long held to be morally questionable. You wore it to be more alluring, it misrepresented what you actually looked like, and you were risking your life and health for mere vanity, perhaps, especially if you used lead-based or arsenic-based make-up. This view was decreasing but not wholly gone by the time this book published. Therefore, ...


7

Lombard’s phrase “conjuring trick” refers back to chapter 14: Lombard said: “Armstrong’s disappeared…” Vera cried: “What?” Lombard said: “Vanished clean off the island.” Blore concurred: “Vanished—that’s the word! Like some damned conjuring trick.” If Armstrong’s disappearance and Blore’s death were conjuring tricks, then who was the conjuror? ...


6

There's no need to read the Poirot books in any particular order. Agatha Christie has rewritten a few of the early Poirot short stories (see list) from the book Poirot's Early Cases (1923) and The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories (1939) and the posthumous collection While the Light Lasts and Other Stories (1997) into full novels later. Thus, if you read ...


6

The plot hinges on the dream state induced in Norma by drugs administered by Robert Orwell, posing as her father, and his wife. I believe that Christie introduces the notion of there being lots of 'new' drugs around, possibly as an authorial defense against people picking holes in the storyline if some real named drug such as LSD or Purple hearts wouldn't ...


5

And Then There Were None was originally published in 1939 at the outbreak of World War 2. The author adapted for the stage in 1943 when the war was at its apex. According to Hilary Strong, CEO of "Agatha Christie Ltd" who manage the rights to the author's work, theatre producers at the time felt that in an atmosphere of such bleakness, there was no appetite ...


5

I believe it means "entrée" but I am not entirely sure why Agatha Christie wrote ongtray instead. Checking the meaning of "entrée": The main course of a meal. 1.1 British A dish served between the first and main courses at a formal dinner. The right to enter or join a particular sphere or group. - Lexico (2) fits the context. Additionally,...


5

"Make-up" is a single compound word meaning cosmetics applied on the face. "Innocent" here simply means "without". Per Google/Lexico: without; lacking. "a street quite innocent of bookstores" So "her face was innocent of make-up" means "her face was without make-up", or "she didn't use any ...


4

I'm wondering if the claim you heard was a conflation of a few things. I could find two sources online stating that the title of Why Didn't They Ask Evans was something Christie overheard. The first is this IMDB review from 2013, which claims: The title of the book actually came from a conversation Ms. Christie overheard coming out of a movie theater, and ...


4

The explanation seems extraordinary, but that’s what Henrietta says, and if she’s lying then we have nothing better. “Because John asked me to! That’s what he meant when he said ‘Henrietta.’ It was all there in that one word. He was asking me to protect Gerda. You see, he loved Gerda… I think he loved Gerda much better than he ever knew he did. Better ...


4

The grave was dug, Poirot concludes, by M. Renauld himself: ‘That night Renauld will first bind and gag his wife, and then, taking a spade, will dig a grave in that particular plot of ground where he knows a—how do you call it?—bunkair? is to be made.’ Agatha Christie (1923). The Murder on the Links, chapter 21. London: Bodley Head. It did not matter ...


4

In the collection The Listerdale Mystery (1934) the story has the title ‘Mr Eastwood’s Adventure’, but it was originally published in The Novel Magazine (August 1924) under the title ‘The Mystery of the Second Cucumber’. The Novel Magazine was a monthly periodical of pulp fiction, so under the original story title, Eastwood’s position corresponds exactly to ...


3

I dug up the quote on Google Books, as I believe it is relevant to the question exactly how the sentences are joined together. The full paragraph reads: He displayed neither resentment or surprise. Mr Cowan was indeed accustomed to the vagaries of the artistic temperament. He was a tall man, clean-shaven, with a frame rather too well covered, and ...


3

Agatha Christie uses the character of Ariadne Oliver to gently satirize her own career as a writer of detective stories. A few of Christie’s personal characteristics also show up in Mrs Oliver, but Christie’s war work, marriages, travel, and daughter, have no counterparts—these show up elsewhere in Christie’s writing. In this answer I’ll undertake a survey ...


3

Yes, Mrs Croft was really an invalid, and was not pretending. Chapter 19: ‘Hello-ello-ello,’ [Japp] said. ‘What’s this? An old friend! Milly Merton, I declare! And at your old tricks again, my dear.’ He turned round in an explanatory way to the company, disregarding Mrs Croft’s shrill protests. ‘Cleverest forger we’ve ever had, Milly Merton. We knew there ...


3

He deduced it from the way she avoided answering his questions: ‘I wonder, Madame, what were the names of the friends with whom you were staying.’ She raised her eyebrows. ‘Is there any reason why I should tell you that?’ she asked coldly. Poirot was immediately all innocent surprise. ‘A thousand pardons, Madame. I was most maladroit. But I myself, having ...


2

Whether Agatha Christie intentionally copied Watson in Hastings or not, he is an example of a necessity for a successful mystery writer: To fully engage a reader, generally one has to not just present the mystery and let the reader think about it to whatever extent he feels like doing and with whatever skill level he has. That route leads to dissatisfaction ...


2

The murderer refers to his three intended targets as "Three Blind Mice" -- in the first murder, a notebook mentioning "Three Blind Mice" is found, a note on the body, reading "This is the first." Following this, much of the story is of the murderer's elaborate construction of opportunity to catch his victims alone and vulnerable. Hence, a mousetrap. To be ...


2

This article suggests that Oliver was an exaggeration of herself. I expect she had fun doing that! Ariadne Oliver is a successful detective novelist that appears in two short stories (with Parker Pyne in Parker Pyne Investigates) and seven novels (six of them with Hercule Poirot). The middle-aged writer of detective stories is broad-shouldered and has "...


2

I think you're barking up the wrong tree by looking for murders involving a barrel. In the passage you quote, the context is about the notion of clergymen being immoral, "naughty" as she puts it. The reference then would be to Harold Davidson, also known as the "Rector of Stiffkey" or the "Prostitutes' Padre". He was a rector who was prosecuted in court for ...


2

The answer was in the locked drawer. Amongst the reports in the newspaper clippings was one which read: The personality of the man and his extraordinary power over women had been discussed at great length in the English papers at the time, together with an account of his excitability in court, his passionate protestations, and his occasional sudden ...


2

As ShreevatsaR said: The phrase you heard is Erin go Bragh, said by Irish Freedom sympathisers who kidnapped the Prime Minister. The short story and the episode both go by the name: The Kidnapped Prime Minister. The short story is in the book Poirot Investigates.


2

Have just been reading the autobiography of Agatha Christie's husband, Max Mallowan, in which he mentions this: [Stephen Glanville] was the only man ever to have persuaded Agatha to alter the end of a book, against—as she maintains—her better judgement. Her own ending would have been more dramatic. It was the one that was concerned with Ancient Egypt, ...


1

This answer is largely based on the Movies & TV post which user1964 linked in a comment. Yes, Poirot was a religious Catholic. In the story Murder in Mesopotamia (Internet Archive link), he mentions twice that he is a "practising Catholic": Then he said quite irrelevantly: ‘An interesting man, that Father Lavigny.’ ‘A monk being an ...


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