In this follow-up volume to the acclaimed Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks , Christie archivist and expert John Curran leads the reader through the six decades of Agatha Christie's writing career, unearthing some remarkable clues to her success and a number of never-before-published excerpts and stories from her archives.
Starting his investigation in the 1920s, John Curran examines the conventions of detective novels as they existed then and how Agatha Christie's publisher talked her into changing the ending of her very first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, a move that almost certainly changed the fortunes of not only her career but the future of the whole crime writing genre. For the very first time, this book prints Agatha's original ending, painstakingly transcribed from her notebooks.
Every decade saw Agatha Christie's success grow to new heights. The emergence of the world-famous Collins Crime Club in 1930 brought with it the very first Miss Marple mystery, the austerity of the 1940s had Agatha Christie preparing to kill off Hercule Poirot , and the 1950s saw her experiment increasingly with formats influenced by more modern thrillers. Focusing on the detail of more than 20 Christie novels to illustrate this, John Curran shows the evolution of Agatha's writing through the decades, including the influence of the swinging sixties and seventies, concluding the book with a look at Agatha's last notebook, using his Christie knowledge to speculate about what she had in mind based on her brief notes for an unwritten final book.
Also includes a number of short stories from the archives reproduced in full, including the unpublished The Man Who Knew, How I Created Hercule Poirot, and an early draft for a Miss Marple story, The Case of the Caretaker's Wife.
- Preface - Victoria Station March, 1931
- Capter 1: Rule of Three
- Chapter 2: The First Decade 1920-1929
- Unused Ideas: One
- Chapter 3: Favourite Stories and "The Man Who Knew"
- Chapter 4: The Second Decade 1930-1939
- Unused Ideas: Two
- Chapter 5: "How I Created Hercule Poirot"
- Chapter 6: The Third Decade 1940-1949
- Unused Ideas: Three
- Chapter 7: Miss Marple and "The Case of the Caretaker's Wife"
- Chapter 8: The Fourth Decade 1950-1959
- Unused Ideas: Four
- Chapter 9: Agatha Christie and Poison
- Chapter 10: The Fifth Decade 1960-1969
- Unused Ideas: Five
- Chapter 11: The Dark Lady...
- Chapter 12: The Sixth Decade 1970-1976
- Unused Ideas: Six
- Chapter 13: Agatha Christie's Booklist
- Appendix 1: Agatha Christie Chronology
- Appendix 2: Alphabetical List of Agatha Christie Titles
- Index of Titles