Comments: 8
"It is arguable that her agent and publisher should never have asked for another book after Elephants Can Remember." Truer polite words were never spoken. And you can dispense with the "arguable"!

In fact, they should never have asked for another book *before* "Elephants Can Remember" ...

Re: The last sentence you quoted: Did you get any feeling where Curran stands on the "Alzheimers" theory?
BrokenTune 2 years ago
That is the "Elephant" that is not mentioned, which is why I keep saying that this is really curious.
He makes mention of her daughter insisting on publishers not to ask for another book and he implies a lot of things about a decline in abilities, but he does not (unless I completely missed it) come out to offer any theories about the reason for the "decline".
Hmmm. Politeness spurred on by the label laws (since the theory is really only that -- a theory), or by self-censorship -- or simply by not wanting to fuel rumor?
BrokenTune 2 years ago
Ok, I finished the book. Curran does not mention "the decline" in any more detail than is visible from the notebooks - there are no theories, and I actually commend him for that.

However, in the very few last pages he describes another plot idea Christie had AFTER Postern of Fate, and apparently he was excited about it: he describes is as novel and daring and as proof that her skills of execution had waned but not her imagination.

Reading the notes for the last book, I would have loved to have read it. It seems to drift into Highsmith territory. Christie's notes seem to indicate that she was thinking about pretty in-depth character studies:

"What difference would it make to one’s character if one had killed someone?
Depends what the motive had been – Hatred? Revenge? Gain? Jealousy?
No – No motive – for no reason just an interesting experiment. The object of the crime – oneself – would one be the same person – or would one be different. To find out one would have to commit homicide – observing all the time oneself – one’s feelings, keeping notes. Needed a victim – carefully selected but definitely not anyone that one wished dead in any way. ‘I have killed – now am I the same person I was? Or am I different – do I feel – fear? regret? pleasure? (surely not!)"
Hmm. Sounds a lot like Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment", too ... especially the bit about the motiveless crime.
BrokenTune 2 years ago
It does. But the main thing here is - it's nothing like Postern of Fate. ;P
No. And I do believe she still had great ideas. I still wonder what the execution of this one would have looked like ... (it certainly sounds like it would have been fabulous if she'd written it at the height of her powers)!
BrokenTune 2 years ago
And did you know that she had also outlined a mystery based on Cluedo? It was one of the unused ideas, but I can only imagine how tongue-in-cheek fabulous this would have turned out, too! (This was in the early 50s, so way before her "decline".)

Seriously, I thoroughly recommend Curran's book. It was a fun ride.