Inline A Murder Is Announced

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Why I Like A Murder Is Announced

We pose a few questions to James Prichard, Agatha Christie’s great-grandson and CEO of Agatha Christie Ltd, about A Murder is Announced, a family favourite.

So let’s start with an easy one. Why do you like this book?


The book highlights a few of the ways I think my great grandmother thought and wrote.

This book starts with a very simple concept: a murder is pre-announced in the local newspaper. To my mind she started with this idea and then saw where that would take us. A bit like 4.50 from Paddington where she starts with the idea of two trains running in parallel and someone seeing a murder committed on the next door train. It then moves onto the perfect set piece murder, with everyone in a room when the lights go out and a shot is fired. This leads to classic exploration of differing recollections, and the proof that no two people see the same thing. Something that is frequently explored in Agatha Christie novels.

It sounds fascinating! So is it a traditional locked-room mystery?


Yes, you do have the classic locked-room mystery set-up. But you also have a novel about 1950s Britain. You see what life was like for many people after WW2. People who had been used to money and servants and are now having to learn to do without. Christie isn’t generally thought to have written about the period, but this is a classic example of how she did (albeit in an understated way).

Excellent. We haven’t covered a 50s Christie for the book club since Ordeal by Innocence in 2018, so we can’t wait to return to the period! And of course, we’re excited to read another Miss Marple story...

Yes, this is a brilliant Miss Marple story. In my view Miss Marple, as depicted in the books, is a much more active and interesting character than frequently thought of. This is a perfect illustration of that. She has a real spark that I have only recently begun to appreciate properly.

So there’s clearly lots of reasons to love this novel. In your view, is it the best Christie story?

I am not sure that this is the best Christie. That comes up against stiff competition from Murder on the Orient Express, And Then There Were None, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd etc. But I was once asked what I thought was the best-written Christie, and this is my answer to that.

Thanks for sharing more about A Murder is Announced with us James. To find out more about the book, see our Read Christie 2020 challenge.

For fans of Miss Marple, or those looking to get to know her better, we also have an official reading guide.

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