#732: Spoiler Warning – Coming in January… + Agatha Cryptic: Non-Poirot Edition

Well, here’s the result of one vote whose ramifications will be felt in January acknowledged, at least…

Back in October, when Brad, Moira, and I discussed The Murder at the Vicarage (1930) by Agatha Christie in spoiler-rich detail, we each picked another title by Christie for the succeeding discussion, due to be held and posted in January 2021, and left it up to you to vote for the one you’d like us to talk about. It was a straight choice between The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926), Cards on the Table (1936), and Sparkling Cyanide, a.k.a. Remembered Death (1945) and here’s how that vote went:

Easier without postal ballots, see…

So, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd it shall be! You have just under two months to read — or reread — it if you so wish since, providing I maintain my ‘one podcast every fortnight’ schedule, the discussion should be posted here on Saturday 30th January. That’s subject to change, as we have to fit around Brad’s social schedule, but I’ll keep you informed of any developments.

But wait, there’s more…!

Having previously provided a semi-cryptic crossword based around the Hercule Poirot book titles, I’ve been putting my time in lockdown to good use and have now produced a second one for all the remaining criminous works in Dame Agatha’s oeuvre. You can download it as a PDF here, just be aware that the answers are provided on the last page — I have included a whole page that says “the answers are on the next page”, so no excuses.

My grids are still terrible…

Hop you enjoy the puzzle, and we’ll see you in January for the post mortem on Christie’s first masterpiece.

18 thoughts on “#732: Spoiler Warning – Coming in January… + Agatha Cryptic: Non-Poirot Edition

      • Great work – I particularly liked Across 25, 29, 30, 34 and Down 2, 9, 20. I solved 4 across and could think of the Poirot book it fitted but not anything else, so I did have to look at my bookshelf to finish everything else off.

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        • Thanks — always fun to sit down and try to write these, so I’m glad someone else got some enjoyment out of it. Good work figuring it out so quickly, too — you’re the first as far as anyone knows.

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  1. Good choice. I haven’t re-read Ackroyd in years so will go find my copy this afternoon.

    No doubt Moira/Brad/you will give us a wonderful mix of insights along with agreement and disagreement (it’s no fun if you all agree on everything) as well as a touch of humour. Looking forward to it.

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  2. Worth analysing is Pierre Bayard’s brilliant analysis of the Christie novel. In “Who killed Roger Ackroyd?”
    he uncovers the real murderer. Indeed, when I first read the original book fifty years ago, this was the character I most suspected. Fascinating to argue that Agatha unwittingly came up with the wrong murderer!

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    • A discussion is being had about whether the Bayard is worth discussing at the same time. I’ve not read it, and I’m unlikely to find a sensibly-priced copy before the discussion is recorded, so I dunno if we’ll manage to fit it in. Would you consider it a spoiler if, say, one of us had read it and revealed Bayard’s solution as part of the podcast?

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      • I didn’t realise how rare Bayard’s book is these days.
        I don’t mind discussing the ‘actual’ murderer.
        Crime fiction is surprisingly ‘underdetermined’. It may assume a specific solution, but the evidence allows for multiple solutions.
        Witness the many different possible solutions in Anthony Berkeley’s Poisoned Chocolates Case.

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  3. Ah too bad, I was rooting for “Cards..”. I hold it to be one of her finest yet underrated works. The prelude to and circumstances under which the first murder was committed is top drawer Christie, and the lack of tangible clues which necessarily shift the focus to psychology, as well as Poirot persisting and eventually prevailing with an apparently irrelevant angle of questioning makes it a bona fide masterpiece, detractors be damned. Also, I like that it’s a mystery where having specialist knowledge of a subject gives you an advantage in the armchair detecting department. Heck, it’s got me so hooked on Bridge that I’m now reading my current book piecemeal instead of blowing through it as I have with all the others. Nuff said.

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    • Well, we may yet return to these titles — eventually we’ll cycle through a few (maybe even all of them, depending on how long lockdown continues…) so they’ll all be up for grabs.

      I look forward to rereading it and being able to share in your thoughts when the time comes 🙂

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