Tue Aug 15th, 2017
|08:18 pm - Picky|
I have the feeling Agatha Christie never took a boat to Canada or a train to Alberta. When I was five I sailed from Quebec City to Le Havre and it took a week. These days it's three days travelling time from Quebec City to Banff not counting waits and inevitable train delays, and I fancy that ninety years ago the trains were a lot slower. Certainly in 1974 it took me three days just to get to Saskatoon.
So if in the 1920s you have three weeks to track down a witness in Banff before a man is hanged for murder, and you're leaving from London and travelling by boat and train, I *really* don't think you're going to make it.
Would that by any chance be the "finger in the sky" story?
The Harley Quin one, yes. What an encyclopedic memory you have, she says admiringly. When I cruise the Christies at the library, I can't for the life of me recall the plots of any of them.
Well, I remembered you saying in an earlier lj entry that you were rereading the Harley Quin book, and I've read that within the last year or so... though to be honest, about all I remember is the relevant "twist" in each case, rather than any names or real character details.
Ah. I assumed you were remembering something from childhood or adolescence. A year or two isn't bad timewise- though I haven't even finished the book and still can't remember what the early stories were about.
No, I am a frequent rereader.
I suspect that if I were to say something which reminded you of the key twist or specific image in an earlier story - for instance, "the one where the rug's in the wrong room to hide the bloodstain on the floor" or "the one where someone impersonates a family ghost who washes the floor in order to clean it" - that might jog your memory.
(And I do hope that your set of stories is in the same order as mine and that I haven't accidentally spoiled one of them for you.)
If only because that's the story I read at dinner.^_^ And, umm- wasn't that the same story?
Hm, now I'm not sure.
I think I remember one story where Mr Satterwaite (is that the name?) heads off to make a journey (which, as you have pointed out, he probably couldn't do in time) to find out what a servant girl saw. And it turns out to be something about a train's smoke which looks like a finger from the sky and breaks someone's alibi, though I can't remember why.
And I also remember what I think is a different story, about a man who's murdered in one room and then moved to another, and the bloodstain on the stone-tiled black-and-white floor in the first room is covered up with a rug that's never normally used in that room. And then the murderer's accomplice washes the bloodstain away that night, using the family legend about some sort of ghost that washes floors or clothing or something, to remove the evidence. And Mr S gets involved because he buys a painting which involves the rug being in the wrong room. I think.
(I have a better memory for detective plots than I do for real people or faces.)
Sorry- I meant the rug in the wrong room and the ghost washing the floor were both from the same story, because my addled brain thought you were referring to them as two stories. The train one was nearer the beginning of the book and quite different- though now I can't remember who the victim was in that because I'm confusing it with another 'the clocks were changed' Harley Quin story in Three Blind Mice. *This* is why one must reread.
A bit like manga, in a way - you reread to find out how it happens, rather than necessarily what happens.
That is true. And with manga, sometimes to find out what happens because the dizzying march of events leaves little room for processing it the first time.
At least with a detective story, you have the whole thing at once (well, you do now) rather than week-by-week sequential chapters.