Monday, May 25, 2009

Curtain by Agatha Christie

I remember in 1988, as a mystery loving teenager, I read Agatha Christie's last Hercule Poirot novel, Curtain. I was enthralled and couldn't put it down; I shivered and my blood ran hot and cold. The next morning I woke up sick with either food poisoning or a stomach bug, so I assumed Curtain's visceral effect was not the result of the fantastic plot or character crises, but rather my unfortunate bloodstream, invaded by bacteria. Then, I reread the book about ten years ago and loved it just the same--though without a fever, thank goodness. Christie wrote this book in the 1940s and then locked it away until just a year before her death in 1976. No secret here--Poirot dies in this book. The author wanted to kill him off so he would not become some sort of watered down franchised character. (Flash forward to the rumors about J.K. Rowling killing off Harry in her last Potter novel...very similar) Curtain is very psychological in tone; inner vs. outer strength, youth/aging, hope vs. despair--Christie weaves these themes throughout the mystery. If you are a lover of suspense, and especially an Agatha Christie fan, don't miss Curtain.

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