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Sep. 29th, 2012 | 06:41 pm

Agatha Christie insults Harriet Vane. The nerve!

(I also think she might have missed the point of the maggots-and-Gorgonzola description - it's meant to imply, surely, that he looks the perfect silly ass about town, and his face looks accordingly right with the top hat, rather than implying anything maggot-like about his appearance.)

The Wikipedia* entry for Lord Peter Wimsey includes one section that has always puzzled me:

At the conclusion of Strong Poison, Inspector Parker asks "What would one naturally do if one found one's water-bottle empty?" (a point of crucial importance in solving the book's mystery). Wimsey promptly answers "Ring the bell." Whereupon Miss Murchison, the indefatigable investigator employed by Wimsey for much of this book, comments "Or, if one wasn't accustomed to be waited on, one might use the water from the bedroom jug."

But the water jug was a red herring - it was the omelette Wot Dun It. Was this a "point of crucial importance", and have I just missed it?


*Firefox's spellcheck suggests "Windpipe" for this word; it seems surprising that it hasn't been added to the dictionary. That said, both "Firefox" and "spellcheck" are apparently alien words, so viewed in that light it's a bit less odd.

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hedge_backwards

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from: hedge_backwards
date: Sep. 29th, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
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I always saw the water-jug bit as Dorothy L Sayers having a bit of a game with her readers, on the lines of 'ooh look, this looks like a plausible scenario doesn't it, you're pretty committed to it aren't you? Its nice and neat isn't it?...Nah, I've decided, I'm going to do something compleeeetely different instead.'

(Also it makes me very sad to read about the Golden Age Crime writers criticising each other, it ruins my mental image of their lives as one massive cocktail party where they trade bon mots and collectively solve the crossword.)

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littlered2

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from: littlered2
date: Sep. 29th, 2012 10:20 pm (UTC)
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Yes - she likes to mislead people. I'm not sure what the author of the Wikipedia article means by suggesting it's the key to the mystery, though.

On the whole, the essay is Christie being very complimentary to her fellow mystery novelists! She is just far too rude about Harriet.

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the smoke is briars

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from: highfantastical
date: Sep. 29th, 2012 10:46 pm (UTC)
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O Harriet and Peter. <333

.....all the feels.

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littlered2

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from: littlered2
date: Sep. 29th, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC)
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All of them!

They are the best, and Agatha Christie clearly doesn't know what she is talking about. (Harriet, tiresome? Never.)

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the smoke is briars

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from: highfantastical
date: Sep. 29th, 2012 10:55 pm (UTC)
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I'm gathering my strength to read the article. It's sitting there in a tab glaring at me. But I am going to read so I can disagree vehemently! AGATHA, WHAT, WHAT EVEN.

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antisoppist

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from: antisoppist
date: Sep. 30th, 2012 04:12 pm (UTC)
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I think the empty water bottle is significant in showing that precautions were taken to prove that anything in the house that could have contained the poison didn't contain the poison, which is in itself suspicious, but I wouldn't call that crucial.

I can understand Christie not liking Harriet, seeing as Harriet is the reason I prefer Sayers to Christie.

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