Comments: 9
Moonlight Reader 2 weeks ago
I'm just writing up my thoughts on this one!
BrokenTune 2 weeks ago
It is weird reading this one after Pricking of My Thumbs. It's unusual to have another story with a character that can't remember things, and now it is making me want to consider how often Christie actually used this particular approach.
Virtually never in the early books. I think to see it cropping up with such frequency in the final books is suggestive. (Cf. also "Elephants Can Remember" -- memory, or the lack thereof, is practically the theme of the entire book.)
Moonlight Reader 2 weeks ago
I agree.

I also think that there is a theme that runs through all of her books related to identity and how people shed identities and adopt new ones with even people who have known them being unaware (Murder in Mesopotamia/Dead Man's Folly/Peril at End House/Third Girl/Elephants Can Remember, among others). It makes me wonder about her emotional isolation.
BrokenTune 2 weeks ago
That is very true about both themes, and while I can see possible reasons for the frequency of memory issues in the later books, the observation about her potentially experiencing isolation just makes me sad.
Oh yes, very true indeed. It's as if she were shouting "You just can't people to really be who they pretend to be / who you believe they are". Which also is another aspect hinting at a creeping loss of her grip on reality.

That said, I think there is more at play here, and it would have made itself noticed even if it weren't for the memory thing -- bottom line, the world had changed and instead of changing with it, Agatha felt it was falling apart all around her.

And wow, she must have felt very alone, yes. :(
Moonlight Reader 2 weeks ago
I feel like she is, in a sense, saying: "don't think you know people. You don't. You don't know who they really are."

And, yes, Themis, I agree with you. Although the presence of those themes in her early work, far in advance of the creeping dementia that she may have experienced, makes that dementia even sadder.
There's a scene in "A Murder Is Announced" where a character whose only remaining friend from her school days has just died says something to the effect of; "I have lost my only link with the past -- she was the only one who remembered". Christie wrote this when she herself (very probably) wasn't in that position just yet, but it probably was a big part of her own experience in her final years. And the world in which she had grown up already *had* effectively fallen apart when she wrote that book (which is actually a major theme in it, too), so it's anybody's guess what she was saying about her own state of mind there after all.