The first Agatha Christie book I ever read was the last of her books to be published- Sleeping Murder. I have no idea when I read it, but I do know for a fact that I read it long before I even knew the name Agatha Christie. And the only reason I know I read the book is because when I read it for the 'first time', I kept experiencing a sense of deja vous not unlike those experienced by Gwenda throughout the book. If I hadn't read the book before, I would have had to have written it in a past life, and since I was born before she died, reincarnation could not be the answer either.
Perhaps it was fitting that the first of Dame Christie's books that I read was one with Miss Marple, because she is my favourite detective of all times. You had to admire the intellect of a Sherlock Holmes or a Hercule Poirot, but it was hard to love them. Miss Marple, on the other hand, was entirely loveable. Though the image I most treasure is of her in fluffy pink declaring she is Nemesis, the fact is that it is hard not to like her (unless you are guilty of something, anything). Strong moral code, heightened sense of justice and perfect understanding of human nature- she's anyone's favourite grandma, except she wasn't even one.
In fact, I love all Dame Christie's female detectives - Lady Eileen 'Bundle' Brent, Ariadne Oliver, Tuppence Beresford- three very different personalities, but each loveable in their own way. The one thing they all have in common is that they are all normal human beings with normal foibles and failings, but all concerned with basic human justice. And it is for that reason that I find it hard to get upset at Agatha Christie when she makes her slightly demeaning comments on Indians and foreigners. Dame Christie was concerned with justice, and I can forgive a person like her almost anything.
Today is the 120th Anniversary of Agatha Christie's birth. Thank you, Dame Christie for all the hours of reading pleasure you have given me.