The miniature book museum in the old city part of Baku in Azerbaijan includes amongst the titles on display two tiny (less than two inches tall) editions of Agatha Christie, translated into Russian. For those of you unfamiliar with the cyrillic script, both bear the title Two Stories. Unfortunately, as the display is behind glass, I was unable to check which two stories were included and whether the two volumes contained the same pair of stories or different ones.
For those of you who wish to read up on the subjects of two more of our sessions at this year’s conference we suggest the following titles may provide an introduction to Edmund Crispin and Ronald Knox.
The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin
Love Lies Bleeding by Edmund Crispin
Holy Disorders by Edmund Crispin
The Viaduct Murder by Ronald Knox
The Body In The Silo by Ronald Knox
Double Cross Purposes by Ronald Knox
The Footsteps at the Lock by Ronald Knox
Still Dead by Ronald Knox
Behind the Screen by The Detective Club
The Floating Admiral by The Detective Club
Six Against The Yard by The Detective Club
I have just re-read The Mysterious Affair at Styles in the light of comments made by Martin Edwards at The Bodies From The Library Conference last week. Martin reminded delegates that as we look back at them now the Golden Age authors we think of as relatively elderly figures were, at the time they were writing in that period, just starting out on their writing careers. They were the bold young Turks carving out a niche for themselves and defining a new genre. They were constantly innovating and what we, with the benefit of 80 or 90 years of hindsight, may think of as hackneyed cliches that have dulled with of over-use by subsequent lesser talents were actually brilliant innovations that genuinely took their readership by surprise.
I have read Agatha’s debut novel in the Folio Society edition which is stylishly illustrated by Andrew Davidson with 7 plates including the above final scene where Hastings is finally enlightened by Poirot how the Affair was solved.