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Understanding Agatha Christie

Tison Pugh

Published: Jul 27 2023


Published: Jul 27 2023


Published: Jul 27 2023

OA Ebook
Published: Jul 27 2023


The inclusion of this book in the Open Carolina collection is made possible by the generous funding of

Explores seven startling paradoxes behind the bestselling novelist's lasting popularity

Agatha Christie stands as the bestselling novelist of all time and, in terms of total sales in all genres, places only behind the Christian Bible and Shakespeare. Since the publication of The Mysterious Affair at Styles in 1920, Christie's fiction has withstood the envy of her peers and the snipes of critics, while garnering the admiration of countless readers.

From her puzzling persona (notably in her eleven-day disappearance in 1926) and status as "Queen of the Cozies" to her tragicomic themes and critiques of Englishness, Christie built a lasting literary legacy that perplexes and pleases her hordes of readers. In Understanding Agatha Christie, Tison Pugh takes a fresh look at the contemporary world's most popular author, investigating seven notable paradoxes behind her lasting success, thereby illuminating the literary innovations that have contributed to her uncannily timeless appeal.

Tison Pugh is author or editor of over twenty-five books, including The Queer Fantasies of the American Family Sitcom and Harry Potter and Beyond: On J. K. Rowling's Fantasies and Other Fictions. He is Pegasus Professor in the Department of English, University of Central Florida.

"An excellent introduction to the world of Agatha Christie. Pugh offers an engaging, thoughtful, and well-researched discussion of the Queen of Crime, which will delight both scholars and fans."—Mark Aldridge, author of Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World

"A thoroughly entertaining study of the world's most popular writer. Pugh discusses Christie's personal life—her political views, theater, and incredible body of literature spanning most of the twentieth century. Like one of her own mysteries, Understanding Agatha Christie is a swiftly moving account of the author, written by someone who clearly knows her subject."—Blake Allmendinger, University of California, Los Angeles

"Tison Pugh offers readers an accessible way into the mysteries of Agatha Christie and the paradoxes and conversations around her remarkable body of work. Understanding Agatha Christie shows us why it's important not to underestimate popular writers and gives every reader a foothold to enjoy and discuss the world's best-selling novelist."—J.C. Bernthal, University of Suffolk, author of Queering Agatha Christie

"Do we really need help in understanding Agatha Christie? Tison Pugh begs to suggest that we do. Proposing a seven-paradox series that shapes Christie's deceptively accessible detective fiction, from her constant challenging of the rules associated with the Golden Age models she established to her frequent introduction of serious violence into the pastoral world she created to the successful promotion of her work by screen adaptations she disdained, Pugh makes a convincing case that there's a lot more to Christie than all those unguessable endings."—Thomas Leitch, Kirkpatrick Chair of Writing, University of Delaware

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