Thursday, October 8, 2015

In the Shadow of Coleorton Hall: More on the Early Life of Annie Haynes

Readers of this blog will know that I have written here about how in the early 1900s Annie Haynes (1865-1929) moved to London, where she became a successful mystery novelist and lived for over twenty years (until her death) with the prominent feminist intellectual and social activist Ada Heather-Bigg.  That much I had determined some months back, but it was only this year, as I discuss in my introduction to the new Dean Street Press editions of seven of Haynes's mystery novels, that with the help of a couple of individuals in England, Carl Woodings and Peter Harris, I was able to determine something more of Haynes's fascinating family origins.

ruins of the great castle
at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire
From my reading of Haynes's detective novels I suspected that the author came from England's Midlands and it turns out she indeed did. Haynes was born in 1865 in the town of Ashby-de-la- Zouch, Leicestershire (very close to the border with Derbyshire, one of my earlier guesses for her home county, along with Nottinghamshire), the daughter of Edward (Edwin) and Jane (Henderson) Haynes.  Today Ashby-de-la-Zouch is known for its ruined castle (Ashby-de-la- Zouch Castle), longtime seat of the Hastings family.

Annie's father, Edwin as he was known (though he was baptized with the name of Edward), was an ironmonger and the son of an ironmonger, a Shropshire lad who originally hailed from the small town of Much Wenlock, where the family kept an ironmonger's shop. Edwin and his brother and sister were raised strict Methodists.

In 1858 Edwin's father, Thomas Haynes, testified in a prominent Much Wenlock murder trial, where thirty-five year old William Davies stood accused of stabbing to death his sixty-five year old common law wife, Ann Morgan, in Morgan's cottage. A fortune teller, Morgan was "rumored to practice witchcraft and to possess supernatural powers," according to author Nicola Sly in her book Shropshire Murders.

Locals are said to have whispered to themselves that Morgan had bewitched the much younger and reputedly slow-witted Davies into remaining with her and doing her bidding, though she was known to have subjected him frequently to foulmouthed harangues.

Evidently the worm turned.  Davies was found to have murdered Morgan with a large clasp knife sold to him by Thomas Haynes just two days before the murder. The bloody knife had been left on a dresser in Morgan's cottage.  Davies was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, but this sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, on the grounds of provocation.

Much Wenlock

Edwin Haynes's marriage to Jane Henderson did not end violently like the common law arrangement of Ann Morgan and William Davies, but it obviously was not a successful union of man and wife. By 1861, when he was twenty years old, Edwin Haynes had left the family shop and moved to Ashby de la Zouche, where he apprenticed with local ironmonger John Orchard.  There he married Jane Henderson, daughter of a prominent landscape gardener, the Scottish-born Montgomery Henderson, who superintended the famous gardens at nearby Coleorton Hall, home of the Beaumont baronets. (The poet William Wordsworth once designed a winter garden for Coleorton Hall.)

Was all forgiven?
Iglesia San Bartolome,
English Church at Rosario, Argentina
Jane (Henderson) Haynes became pregnant again in 1866 but before she gave birth to Annie's brother, Edwin Haynes had left his family, under the name Edward Haynes boarding the ship "Uruguay" at Liverpool on 20 November 1866. In a development that reminds one of all those Golden Age detective novels where family "black sheep" depart England for foreign climes to start life anew, Haynes embarked to Rosario, Argentina (home to a large English community) to work on building railroads.

Once settled in Argentina, Edwin Haynes may have married again and had a son named Eduardo, who appears to have been a successful lawyer. According to a Haynes descendant, when Edwin died he left an island located near Rosario that he owned (appropriately named Haynes Island) to Annie's brother, Thomas, provided that he come live there.  Thomas declined to do so, so Edwin's English family inherited nothing from him. (Thomas himself became an ironmonger, learning the trade from his grandfather and uncle in Much Wenlock.)

Coleorton Hall
After being abandoned by her husband, the pregnant Jane Haynes moved with Annie into the dwelling of her parents, the gardener's cottage at Coleorton Hall, where she gave birth in 1867 to Thomas.

Annie thus grew up on the estate of Coleorton Hall, surely giving her significant glimpses of the life of the gentry, which she would later put to good use in her fiction. In 1871, when Annie was six, Sir George Howland Beaumont, 9th Bt., resided at Coleorton Hall with his two young sons and a Dowton Abbey-ish retinue of servants, including a governess, butler, footman, groom, stables helper, nurse, cook, kitchenmaid, three housemaids, coachman, gamekeeper, laundress, laundry maid, head gardener (Annie's grandfather) and two assistant gardeners, not to mention all the people who worked on the Hall Farm.

During his lifetime did Annie Haynes ever learn what happened to her father, of whom she would have had no personal memory whatsoever from her childhood years? Evidence from one her novels suggests that perhaps she did.

Coleorton Hall and grounds
In her horse-racing mystery, The Crime at Tattenham Corner, we find that the racehorse Peep o'Day, owned by murder victim Sir John Burslem, is sold by his widow, Lady Burselm, to one Ramon de Villistara, a big Argentinian horse breeder who owns a stud-farm north of Rosario. At one point in the novel, Inspector Stoddart pronounces that Argentina makes a good "hiding place" for absconded Englishmen....

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Pyne--Poirot Nexus, Part I: Parker Pyne Investigates (1934), by Agatha Christie

Are you happy?  If not, consult Mr. Parker Pyne.
                                                     Parker Pyne Investigates (1934), by Agatha Christie

By all means, if Hercule Poirot is not available.

                                                     The Passing Tramp (2015)

When people praise Agatha Christie short story collections, Parker Pyne Investigates (1934) doesn't normally get a lot of mention, in my experience, but I think the book is both an entertaining collection in its own right and of interest for its relationship to Christie's vastly more famous Hercule Poirot canon.

Professionally, Parker Pyne is not a detective.  A portly, bald, benevolent-looking man in spectacles, Pyne retired from thirty-five years of work in a government office compiling statistics and went into the business of making people happy, for a fee.  "It is all so simple," he tells a client.  "Unhappiness can be classified under five main heads--no more, I assure you."

In it current form, Parker Pyne Investigates includes all the known Parker Pyne stories--all fourteen of them.  The first six were published in American and English magazines in 1932, the next six in same in 1933.  The original hardcover edition of Parker Pyne Investigates included only these dozen tales.  The last two Pyne stories, "Problem at Pollensa Bay" and "The Regatta Mystery," were published in 1935 and 1936, respectively, and later added to newer editions of Parker Pyne Investigates.

The first six Pyne tales, all titled "The Case of [something or other]," are very light, humorous pieces, all detailing how Mr. Pyne uses his wits and his organization to bring happiness into the lives of his various troubled clients.  The formula started to wear thin by the last two stories in this first cycle (the last tale, "The Case of the Rich Woman,"is truly bizarre), but the first four tales all have their points.

In "The Case of the Discontented Wife," Pyne must handle the problem of a middle-aged wife distraught over her businessman husband's infatuation with his pert typist.  In "The Case of the Discontented Soldier," he is tasked with introducing excitement into the life a bored retired army man.

Only one of these early Pyne tales, "The Case of the Distressed Lady," involves crime in any way (unless you count Pyne's outrageous activities in "The Case of the Rich Woman"). The next six Pyne tales are a different matter, however. Pyne goes on vacation abroad and the stories take place in various scenic Continental European and Middle Eastern locales, to wit:

"Have You Got Everything You Want?" Paris to Stamboul aboard the Orient Express

"The Gate of Baghdad" Damascus to Baghdad through the Syrian Desert

"The House at Shiraz" Shiraz, Iran

"The Pearl of Price" Petra, Jordan

"Death on the Nile" steamer touring Egypt

"The Oracle at Delphi" Delphi, Greece

All aboard!

These stories involve Parker Pyne in crime sleuthing: jewel theft in two stories, kidnapping in another, and unnatural death in a trio of tales.  Several of these tales have considerable ingenuity, especially "The Pearl of Price" and "The Gate of Baghdad." These two bafflers would have made fine cases for Poirot canon.

Of the last two tales, "Problem at Pollensa Bay" is a mildly humorous human relationships tale and "The Regatta Mystery" is another clever jewel theft story.  The former takes place on the island of Majorca and the latter, a sort of locked room problem on a yacht, is set in Dartmouth, Devon, Pyne having finally made his way back to England.

One point about these stories that struck me immediately is how they reflect Christie's travels with her noted archaeologist husband, Max Mallowan, and anticipate, in terms of "exotic" settings, several Poirot novels in the 1930s: Murder on the Orient Express (1934), Murder in Mesopotamia (1936), Death on the Nile (1937), Appointment with Death (1938). Indeed, as you can see above, one Pyne story even is called "Death in the Nile" (though it is much different from the novel).

Also, "The Regatta Mystery" began life as a Poirot short story.  I don't know why Christie later wrote a Parker Pyne version of it, but that is what she did.

But Parker Pyne and M. Poirot have even more in common than this.  Two characters closely associated with the Poirot canon--the Belgian's highly efficient secretary Miss Lemon and and his mystery-writer friend Mrs. Oliver--made their debuts in Parker Pyne stories.

Miss Lemon is Parker Pyne's secretary (and highly efficient indeed), and Mrs. Oliver, though a bestselling mystery writer, likewise is employed as a cog in Parker Pyne's organization, albeit in a creative capacity.

Already by 1932 Mrs. Oliver has authored "forty-six successful works of fiction, all bestsellers in England and America, and freely translated in French, German, Italian, Hungarian, Finnish, Japanese and Abyssinian."

Mrs. Oliver seems at this time to have specialized in improbable Edgar Wallace style thrillers. Apparently she has not yet created her celebrated Finish detective, Sven Hjerson.  Must have been her popularity in Finland that led her to it!

When did Miss Lemon actually go to work for Hercule Poirot? We will look at this matter, and much more, in next week's Christie posting at The Passing Tramp.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tuesday Night Bloggers, Christie Week 2

Tuesday Night Bloggers Links.  More discussions of Agatha Christie's work:

Brad Friedman, The Bloodstained Pavement, Part II: Agatha Christie and Variations on the Serial Killer

Moira Redmond, "The Acadian Deer," from The Labours of Hercules

Bev Hankins, At Bertram's Hotel

Noah Stewart, Early Dell Mapback Editions of Agatha Christie

Helen Szamuely, Christie and Servants

Jeffrey Marks, Baby up the Chimney

Curtis Evans, The Pyne-Poirot Nexus, Part I: Parker Pyne Investigates (1934)

See last week's Christie links here.

The Annie Haynes Revival

Seven Annie Haynes Golden Age mystery titles now have been reissued by Dean Street Press, respectively Haynes's four detective novels featuring Inspector Stoddart and her three featuring Inspector Furnival. They are available on Amazon in the US, UK and Canada. (Haynes's five standalone mysteries are forthcoming from DSP.) All the reissues have a general introduction by me about Haynes's life and writing, and the four Stoddarts each have an individual introduction by me as well.  (The publication for the three Furnivals was moved up, so I was not able to provide individual introductions for those.)

Some blog reviews are out now, to which I am posting links.  I found these reviewers quite insightful about Haynes's writing and am so pleased to see that the books are connecting with readers. It's great to see the books get such thought-provoking consideration from our blogging community.

Additionally, new information has come to light about Annie Haynes's mysteriously absconding father, and this in itself is like something out of a Golden Age mystery.  I will discuss this in a post to come about Haynes's family background.  It's been a lot of fun researching the interesting life of this Golden Age mystery author, about whom nearly nothing seemingly was known until this year.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Symphonie Fantastique: March to the Gallows (1964), by Mary Kelly

Mary Kelly
Mary Kelly (1927) once appeared to have a very promising long-term career in crime writing, but she seems to have been largely forgotten by the reading public today, while her older "Crime Queen" predecessors from the Golden Age of detective fiction--Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh--have gone into new paperback edition after edition. Moreover, Kelly's own path-breaking modern Crime Queen contemporaries, the late P. D. James (1920-2014) and Ruth Rendell (1930-2015), remain very popular and other more traditionalist contemporaries of hers, like Patricia Moyes (1923-2000) and Catherine Aird (1930), remain in print today.

Without meaning to be disrespectful to this accomplished author, I'm not even certain that Mary Kelly is still living, although the few entries on her record no death date. (If living, she would be 87 or 88 today.) When one looks on the internet for information about her, one is more likely to find detail about Mary Jane Kelly (c. 1863-1888), widely believed to be the last of the victims of Jack the Ripper.  Why is Mary Kelly so much less remembered than some of her 'sixties contemporaries?

One answer seems to be that Mary Kelly simply stopped writing.  Her output of ten crime novels has been referred to as "small," but in actuality she was fairly productive in the period when she was active, 1956 to 1974, publishing a book of crime fiction about once every two years.  By comparison, in PD James's first two decades of crime fiction writing, 1962-1982, James published nine genre novels. James, however, kept writing, extending her crime writing career, launched when she was 42, to nearly a half-century's duration; and she also had the inestimable advantage of a long-running popular series detective, Adam Dalgliesh, who appeared in fourteen of her novels.

After an initial run of mystery novels (A Cold Coming, Dead Man's Riddle and The Christmas Egg) featuring a poshly-named series sleuth, Inspector Brett Nightingale, who came complete with an opera diva wife, Kelly in the 1960s abandoned classic series detective fiction in the traditional mode. In 1961 she published her most successful novel, The Spoilt Kill, which won the Gold Dagger from Britain's Crime Writers' Association and was reprinted more than any of her other novels (Penguin, 1964, Harper Perennial, 1982 and Virago, 1999).  Kill was hailed as a model of the new school of detective fiction, praised not only for the authenticity of its workplace setting (a pottery), but for its bleak mood and convincing presentation of emotional states. (Kill and its two immediate followers also are series detective novels of a sort, but in an odd way.)

During the rest of the decade Kelly followed Kill with Due to a Death (1961), reprinted as The Dead of Summer in the US; March to the Gallows (1964); Dead Corse (1966); and Write on Both Sides of the Paper (1969).  The latter three novels all were finalists for the CWA Gold Dagger, and Due to a Death and Dead Corse in the 'sixties both were reprinted in paperback in the UK by Penguin. (In the same decade Dead Corse was reprinted in paperback in the US by Avon.)

Two novels followed from Kelly in the 'seventies, The Twenty-Fifth Hour (1971) and That Girl in the Alley (1974), but these won the author less critical attention, and neither title was reprinted.

In the 'seventies Kelly also lost her American publisher, Holt, Rinehart, who after the success of The Spoilt Kill  had picked up her books and published three of her works to much acclaim as "Rinehart Suspense Novels." After Kelly retired from crime fiction writing at the age of 47, her reputation began to fade, so that her fame receded to the status (if that) of a one-hit wonder, as the author of The Spoilt Kill.

This is most unfortunate, as Kelly's body of work in the crime fiction genre is a distinguished one, with no less than six of her crime novels still standing, in my estimation, as fine examples of the crime writers' art.  The early Inspector Nightingale novels are more traditional works (the latter two in the series recommended by me), while the next four Kelly novels are prime examples of the more modern, angst-filled crime novel, with intricate plotting still present.

March to the Gallows is one of these later novels.  Its title is derived from Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, most particularly the symphony's March au supplice (March to the Scaffold/Gallows) movement. (A neighbor boy in the novel repeatedly plays a record of the symphony and there is a park area called the March that plays a major role in the novel).

Thou Shalt Not Emote
Barzun and Taylor's
A Catalogue of Crime
the Bible of detective
fiction orthodoxy
Traditionalists Jacques Barzun and Wendell Hertig Taylor, who in their landmark mystery reference work A Catalogue of Crime deprecated the modern tendency to commingle the detective tale of entertainment and escape with the serious novel, were rather vexed by Mary Kelly's crime fiction.

Due to a Death they dismissed as a "tedious essay in self-torture" and they complained that The Spoilt Kill was, well, spoiled by Kelly's insistence "on laying bare each nerve of each character and playing a sinfonietta thereon."  Of March to the Gallows they complain that the protagonist, "a young woman librarian," is "ill and neurotic."

This kind of critical commentary says more about the cramped nature of Barzun and Taylor's view of the proper boundaries of the detective novel than it does about the quality of Kelly's work.

To be sure, Kelly's novel is very much in the modern mode.

Gallows's protagonist, Hester Callard, unquestionably is an embittered individual, still trying to recover from the sudden, accidental death of her late lover. Evidently to the phlegmatic Barzun and Taylor this understandable emotional state makes Hester "neurotic." Admittedly, the young woman has a sharp tongue and we frequently feel cuts from it in the novel, since she narrates the events.  She does so in a highly literate manner, with sharp observations and literary allusions. (If you didn't know who Lady Hester Stanhope was before you read this novel, you certainly will after you are done so.) I thought Kelly's writing was compelling, though Barzun and Taylor apparently did not consider that aspect of the book worth mentioning.

Hester has returned to her old family home on Colwell Street in Waterhall, part of the greater London metropolitan area, taking on a job in reference at the local public library. On Colwell Street she resides with her elderly father (Hester is 25, but her father was well into middle age when she was born) and her Uncle Percy and Aunt Norah.  The latter, a tartly outspoken but by no means unintelligent traditionalist, is a most engaging character, and I enjoyed following her exchanges with Hester.

This family made their money in--gasp!--trade, in contrast with their longtime genteel neighbors, the Leyburns, with whom Hester has always had an equivocal relationship. Not only are class relations a predominating concern of the novel, but race relations as well, with the rising presence of "Negroes" in London coming under scrutiny, as well as a nativist anti-immigrant backlash. The more things change....

Readers of the blog will know I just reviewed Agatha Christie's swinging 'sixties mystery, Third Girl, and I must say that while I didn't find Christie's portrayal of the mod era risible like some have, it was clear to me that Kelly, eight years younger than Christie's daughter, was much more familiar with these times than was the Golden Age Queen of Crime, as might well be expected.

Kelly's novel comes off very much more as character study and social observation, especially during the first half or more of the novel, when the crime problem, which we know surely must be there somewhere, is presented quite allusively.

There's the theft of Hester's handbag, in which she kept a memento from her dead lover (a medallion necklace she recently accidentally broke), and we hear briefly of a body discovered on the march, but just what exactly is going on around Hester is challenging for the reader to determine.  However, it all comes together beautifully at the end, when we discern the criminal design in what seemed a series of disconnected events.

Barzun and Taylor complain that there is "no detection" in the novel, by which they mean a formal investigative process; yet there are numerous clues provided to the reader and the plot elements dovetail beautifully. (One bit is classically Christie-esque.) Berlioz's symphony is nicely worked into it all as well. For once I defer to the publisher's jacket summary, which really does put it well (much better, in my view, than Barzun and Taylor):

This haunting, bittersweet love story of lost love and life brings to a culmination Mary Kelly's skill not only as a teller of tales but as a magnificent exponent of the detective story....March to the Gallows is a challenge to the reader who is delighted by puzzles and the discovery of human nature in all its aspects.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Deathtraps, Dream Bombs, Snow, Flakes, Third Girl: Third Girl (1966), by Agatha Christie (Christie in the Sixties)

Note: For non-American readers of this blog, or American readers under the age of, say, forty-five or so, the post title references the theme song to the That Girl television series (starring Marlo Thomas), which premiered the same year Agatha Christie's Third Girl was published.

"She's a third girl....It's the way girls like living now.  Better than P. G.'s or a hostel.  The main girl takes a furnished flat, and then shares out the rent.  Second girl is usually a friend.  Then they find a third by advertising, if they don't know one...."
                               --Ariadne Oliver in Third Girl (1966)

Third Girl traditionally has not been much esteemed by critics.  In his book Adventure, Mystery and Romance John G. Cawelti cites Third Girl as an example of one of Christie "artistic failures," and Robert Barnard, in his generally quite favorable Christie monograph A Talent to Deceive, dismisses the novel as "one of Christie's most embarrassing attempts to haul herself abreast of the swinging 'sixties."

More recently, however, Laura Thompson in her 2007 biography of Christie praises Third Girl, declaring that the sixties milieu is "utterly convincing." Where do I stand on this one?  When I first read Third Girl when I was about twelve or so I must admit I thought it was one of the "boring" Christies. I didn't pay much attention to publishing dates at the time, but I now realize that I thought most of the later Christies, from 1965 (At Bertram's Hotel) onward, were pretty boring.  Rereading some of them now, I am finding them of greater interest.

girls one and two
One thing that appealed to me about Third Girl is how this is a full-bore Poirot mystery, something that was an increasing rarity after the mid-fifties, when Hickory, Dickory Dock and Dead Man's Folly were published. Between 1957 and 1975, a nearly twenty-year period, only six Poirot detective novels appeared: Cat among the Pigeons (1959), The Clocks (1963), Third Girl (1966), Hallowe'en Party (1969), Elephants Can Remember (1972) and Curtain (1975).

Of these novels, the last title was actually written by Christie during the Second World War, and Poirot plays a recessive role in both Cat and Clocks. (In both of those latter novels I believe he is writing a book on detective fiction, which he has finally finished in Third Girl.)

When Hercule Poirot popped up in Third Girl, it was his first fully active performance since Dead Man's Folly was published a decade earlier. Contemporary reviews of the novel, Cawelti and Barnard notwithstanding, were favorable For example, Anthony Boucher thought the plot "only moderately good Christie," but lavished praise on Poirot and his mystery writer sidekick Ariadne Oliver and the author's "acute sense of the immediate contemporary scene."

I think one can appreciate why critics were positive: it's nice to have Poirot back in a truly active capacity, even if he does rely extensively on subordinate investigations by a Mr. Goby, who appears on occasion in Poirot novels.  The brilliant Belgian sleuth is in his environment, with manservant George, the ever-efficient Miss Lemon, endearingly scatty Mrs. Oliver, his magnificent vanity and moral force, his tisane, his sirop de cassis, his chocolate, etc.--it's a warm bath of authentic Christie nostalgia, something I most definitely missed in Sophie Hannah's ballyhooed Poirot continuation novel, The Monogram Murders.

the third girl
And Christie has worked up a good "situation" for Third Girl. When the distraught young "third girl" of the title, Norma Restarick, barges into Poirot's flat, telling him she thinks she "might have committed a murder" before abruptly departing, declaring that Poirot is just "too old" (the generation gap rearing its head), it's a set-up that immediately entices the reader.

The plot itself employs time-tested Christie devices and deceptions in an enjoyable manner, if not quite as smoothly as in the past. Aspects of the plot, though clever, take a bit of swallowing and the resolution of two of the characters' fates felt forced.

While there are not actually all that many scenes devoted to swinging 'sixties London in Third Girl, I didn't find Christie's portrayal of this milieu "ridiculous" like Robert Barnard did. (To be sure, Christie does drop drug references with abandon: Purple Hearts, Dream Bombs, coke, snow, hash, etc.)

In fact, I thought David Baker, the modster artist character described by Christie as "a young man with lavish chestnut hair curled on his shoulders, wearing a red velvet waistcoast and a very fancy jacket" and nicknamed "the Peacock" by Mrs. Oliver, actually was the most interesting new character in the novel. Over the years he has inspired much of the cover art for Third Girl.

The basic idea of the "third girl" works beautifully, I think, Christie having alertly caught onto and cleverly employed a phenomenon of modern English life. (It's a shame the television adaptation moved the time period back to the Thirties.)  I was fascinated with Borodene Mansions, the London block of flats where the three girls live, which Christie likens in appearance to the prison Wormwood Scrubs; and I noted the harlequin wallpaper in their flat, captured on the Pocket paperback cover illustrated above. Christie was always fascinated by the Harlequin motif.

All in all, Third Girl is a worthy addition to the Poirot canon. If the novel doesn't make it to home base, it certainly hits a double, or, dare I say...a triple?

not Borodene Mansions

Postscript: In Third Girl there's a marvelous instance of the "odd" English terms to which Christie books used to introduce me, a young American reader.  Mrs. Oliver, in one of the novel's unlikely coincidences, happens upon Norma Restarick and David Baker in a cafe called The Merry Shamrock. The two are eating beans and toast, which always sounded singularly unappealing to me as a lad.  Is it really as simple as canned baked beans on toast with Worcestershire sauce on top?  I'm afraid my reaction, if actually presented with this dish, might be rather like that of these Americans:

Americans try Beans on Toast (Caution: Humor!)

This recipe, now, looks pretty good!

British-style Beans on Toast

The Tuesday Night Bloggers

In a nod to Agatha Christie's classic book of Miss Marple short stories, The  Thirteen Problems (aka The Tuesday Club Murders in the US), in which Miss Marple herself as well as other individuals swap stories about real-life mysteries, some of us in the mystery blogging community have formed

The Tuesday Night Bloggers

a group dedicated to discussing aspects of all things Agatha.

Here are the links to some very original and interesting pieces by our club members (I have one too, on the way):

Bev Hankins, Murder on the Orient Express: Review and Audio-Visual Extravaganza
Brad Friedman, The Bloodstained Pavement, Part I: Agatha Christie and the Serial Killer
Curtis Evans, Deathtraps, Dream Bombs, Snow, Flakes, Third Girl
Helen Szamuely, The Mystery of Raymond West
Jeffrey Marks, He Must be Belgian!
Moira Redmond, An Agatha Christie List
Noah Stewart, Christie's Rarest Paperback Editions