Agatha Christie: the queen of suspense and thrillers

By Navya D.

“Ah! Madame, I reserve the explanations for the last chapter.” – Agatha Christie, Evil Under the Sun.

Agatha Christie has often been criticized for not showcasing the after effects of murders since most of her novels revolve around suspense thrillers and murders. But, human dynamic has been the subject of interest of Agatha rather than the blood, gore, and grief. In the same manner, most of her works were set aside for they are considered too fictional. True that! The things in her novels couldn’t have happened in real life. Does that not make Agatha a brilliant fiction writer?

All of Agatha’s novels are not just mesmerizing fictions rather nail biting suspense and cliff hanger thrillers. Agatha is widely recognized as all time international best selling mystery novelist. The author of 66 detective novels and 14 short story anthologies with over 1billion copies sold, left a legacy of her mystery and thrillers. So, what exactly made her a synonym of suspense and thriller? Let us find out today:

  • Modern murder mysteries:

This is one of the common and significant factors in all of Christie’s writings. Although her murders weren’t that popular when she began writing, Christie soon realized her drawbacks and introduced strong detectives and shady suspects into her plots.

There are no laid rules in mystery and thriller yet Agatha has managed to grab the top spot and became the author, whose works are distinguished as first murder mysteries, not that thrillers and mysteries didn’t exist before Agatha began writing. Yet, that explains the significance she has brought to the genre with her intricately carved stories.

Prior to her works “Murder at the Vicarage” and “Partners in crime and sad Cypress,” Agatha hardly had any literary inspiration. That’s another factor, which has made Agatha a self-made star in the ‘mystery’ world.

While most of the writers cook stories, Agatha has created trends in her genre and established new rules for mysteries. Connecting suspects,  trapping characters in a single location, and a lengthy list of characters is something that is commonly observed even today but the trend has been set by Christie decades ago.

  • Intriguing and shady characters:

Agatha may not have found the ideal ingredients of a perfect mystery. But, she has an innate trait of modeling intriguing characters, which is evident right from her very first book, “The Mysterious Affair At Styles.” The 1920 published murder mystery introduced the eternally favorite literary character, Hercule Poirot.

This novel was just a first jewel in her crown and it was such an instant hit that her publisher booked her for the next five novels immediately followed by the tremendous hit. Poirot is quirky, dignified, messy, funny, genius, and quick-witted, all contrary traits jam packed in a single personality. That’s just one reason for the massive hit of Poirot.

Agatha’s characters are all not similar. They are both contrasting and similar but never the same as another.

Agatha knew the potential of a well-crafted character and never had she ever written a less-intriguing character. Poirot is one example of her brilliantly fashioned character. He was incorporated into 33 novels and not less than 60 short story anthologies. Now, the character Agatha has received so much love. Isn’t it fair enough that she is receiving much more attention, which she rightfully deserved?

  • Influence:

Despite being fictions, Agatha’s works resonated well with all sections of people because the inspiration for all the stories and characters has been drawn from her daily life. Agatha has been an adventurous traveler. Most of the unique and spooky locations and interesting characters are inspired from the locations she visited and people she met. Christie has shared that her first and the most famous character, Poirot, was a combination of two real life personalities.

The locations and characters are vivid and interesting. Each location has been selected to grow the suspense in the readers as she took inspiration from real life places and characters.

As locations were constantly changing to confuse the readers, they question what’s coming next. Her characters had colorful traits and deep personalities to add to the spookyness and unpredictability of her tales.

Now, the general consensus is that most suspense thrillers are time wasters like unnecessarily shady characters, irrelevant twists, and continuously changing plot. The absence of all these factors brings Agatha’s brilliance to the fore front. Had it not been for her intelligent plots and captivating narrative, she would have been just another ordinary author scribbling mindless stories. Agatha has come up with a million discoveries to cook a new mystery each day, each of them involved intriguing, deep, and suspicious characters, and shady locations.

Hence, dear thriller fans, Christie’s thrillers were one of the true works of art in mystery genre. The compelling narratives, colorful suspects, and brilliantly well executed murders qualify Christie as a detective genius explaining why her novels are still popular.

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