Friday, 17 June 2016

the listerdale mystery

On Sunday 5th June I finished The Listerdale Mystery by Agatha Christie. It's a pretty good short story collection; I thought I hadn't read it before, but realised pretty quickly that I had, so I whizzed through it somewhat.

It's quite an early collection (1934), so I presume they're collected from a similar period. Interesting how fiew of them are straightforwardly crime stories (one does get the impression in the early years that she was still trying out thriller and adventure rather than straightforwardly crime), and the similarities between them. One prominent theme is people getting involved in an adventure by accident or by taking a chance or doing something adventurously out of character. They are all pretty much ideas that you couldn't imagine sustaining a whole novel; although I guess if one had time and inclination you could, but she was pushing out sufficient numbers of novels as it was.

The cover of my copy was from one of the editions with her signature writ large. Not much you can do thematically to illustrate a collection of short stories, and they haven't chosen an image from one in particular either; just a set of Scrabble tiles spelling out the title, under a magnifying glass, and a few left over (the leftovers being random, though oddly they have no numeric values, and the letters are black rather than red). They are distinctively Scrabble tiles, with the right numeric values; no credit to Scrabble, and I'm sure no Scrabble lawyers on the phone, glad of brand promotion and such a clear demonstration of the strength of their own brand identity.

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