12 votes
Accepted

What is the meaning of this paragraph from Philip Lombard's introduction in "And Then There Were None"?

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 ...
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  • 5,556
11 votes
Accepted

What does Agatha Christie mean with "in a telegraphic style"?

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....
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11 votes
Accepted

Why is the Agatha Christie play called "The Mousetrap"?

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 ...
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  • 15.3k
11 votes
Accepted

What does "One fancied things sometimes—fancied a fellow was looking at you queerly" mean from And Then There Were None?

‘Fancied’ here has the meaning ‘was inclined to believe’ or ‘thought it a possibility’. ‘One’ is effectively being used as a pronoun, meaning ‘I’. General MacArthur is talking to, and about, himself ...
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  • 15.3k
9 votes
Accepted

What were the three clues mentioned at the end of Agatha Christie's And There Were None?

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 ...
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8 votes

How old was Hercule Poirot?

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 ...
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  • 1,660
7 votes
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How much did Lombard know about the murders in "And Then There Where None"?

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: “...
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7 votes
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Why was the ending of "And Then There Were None" changed for the stage version?

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 "...
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  • 14.4k
7 votes

What does "her face was innocent of makeup" mean?

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, ...
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  • 4,178
6 votes
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Is there any merit to reading the Poirot novels in order?

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 ...
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  • 1,684
6 votes
Accepted

What does "her face was innocent of makeup" mean?

"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 ...
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  • 1,316
6 votes
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What inspired the title of "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?"?

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 ...
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  • 674
6 votes
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What is a "dream bomb" in Agatha Christie's "Third Girl"?

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 '...
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5 votes

What does "ongtray" mean?

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 ...
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  • 6,624
5 votes

Lily of the valley used for murder (Agatha Christie)

Are you sure that it was an Agatha Christie story? Anne Perry's murder mystery Weighed in the Balance (2010) features a murder using the water of lily-of-the-valley. From this summary: I found this ...
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  • 63.1k
4 votes
Accepted

Why did he die in "Philomel Cottage"?

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 ...
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4 votes
Accepted

Agatha Christie: some questions about The Hollow

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 ...
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4 votes
Accepted

In the "Murder On The Links" by Agatha Christie, how is the murderer able to dig the grave?

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 ...
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  • 39.1k
4 votes

Is this quote by Mr Eastwood a pointed remark by Agatha Christie?

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 ...
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  • 39.1k
3 votes

Why was Cowen easily seen to have been Cohen?

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. ...
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  • 3,253
3 votes

How much of Ariadne Oliver's character is self-insertion by Agatha Christie?

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 ...
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3 votes
Accepted

Was Mrs Croft really an invalid?

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.’ ...
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  • 39.1k
3 votes
Accepted

Some questions about Agatha Christie's Peril at End House

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 ...
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  • 39.1k
2 votes

To what extent did Agatha Christie base Captain Hastings on Dr. Watson?

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 ...
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  • 21
2 votes

Why is the Agatha Christie play called "The Mousetrap"?

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." ...
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  • 2,980
2 votes

How much of Ariadne Oliver's character is self-insertion by Agatha Christie?

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 ...
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2 votes

What was the alternate ending of Agatha Christie's 'Death comes as the end'?

TL;DR: The alteration was probably which of her suitors Renisenb chose to marry. What Christie says in her autobiography is that the alteration affected “one point of my denouement” and that she “...
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  • 39.1k
2 votes
Accepted

Who is ‘the man in the barrel’ in ‘Three Act Tragedy’?

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 ...
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