The Queen of Suspense

by Chandrika R Krishnan

When Hercule Poirot asks the young lady sitting in front of him why she wants to rake up a twenty year old murder case professing her mother’s innocence the lady says, ” My mother never tells lies and she tells me she did not murder my father.” Five little pigs was one of the first few books, I read of the queen of suspense, Agatha Christie and I was hooked.  I came across the phrase, ” healthy neglect’ when it comes to the kind of parenting the mother gave the then 5 year old and somehow that phrase stuck to my mind to date.

Another book that can never be far behind is ‘ Sleeping murder’  Miss Marple’s case because the little girl witnesses a murder when she lived in that house as a child and today as a grown  woman she has this chill up her spine when she lives there. Monkey’s paws is a word that I can never forget.  450 from Paddington, where an elderly woman witnesses a murder in the train running parallel to her train and true enough there is one murder that had taken place.  It is from that book that I learnt that two trains travelling the same direction at somewhat equal speed appears to be stationary. No amount of Math sums on speed and distance went into my brain as much as this book!

Ten little Indians or Then there were none,  They came to Baghdad, Murder of Roger Ackroyd and the unputdownable murder on the Orient Express are my go to books when I am in need of a juicy murder.

Recently, when I watched the Witness for Prosecution, I realized why I liked Dame Agatha Christie so much. It is her subtle  humour that stands out even during a murder case.  When Sir Wilfrid Roberts says dryly words to this effect: I am surprised that women’s hats are not a reason for more murders, I laughed out aloud for these little asides make the murder more palatable.



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