The Disappearance of Agatha Christie

In his famous article of January 20, 1945, the distinguished literary critic Edmund Wilson posed the challenging question, “Who cares who killed Roger Ackroyd?”  He was referring to the mystery novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. In a previous article in 1944 he had found her writing, “of a mawkishness and banality which seem to me to be impossible to read.” Wilson was surprised that prominent individuals such as Woodrow Wilson, W.B. Yeats, and T.S. Eliot were interested in the mystery novel genre. He would have been even more surprised that the genre constitutes the largest readership. The mystery novel is a special genre of its own, separate from other types of fiction that it overlaps with such as police procedurals, suspense and thriller works, and hard-boiled noir stories which concentrate on action and realism.  The formula is a mysterious death or commission of a crime to be solved. A number of people are involved in the plot,...(Read Full Article)
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