Nearly 18 months ago I turned 30. As an aside I realise I am now 31, I’m not living in some delusional world where I remain 30 forever. However, on turning 30 I wrote a list of 30 things I wanted to achieve whilst 30, a slight twist on the usual “things to do before 30!”.
One of the things was to read all the books on the BBC’s Top 100 Greatest Books list (complied in 2009). I must confess I didn’t complete that particular challenge, mainly because there were books on there I just didn’t want to read despite being told by a million people how classic and timeless they were. But what did shock me was that there weren’t any books by Agatha Christie.
Fast forward to October 2012 and I’m out on one of my random strolls round London, I do that when I have time to spare, no better way to experience a city and understand the character of it. I found myself near Leicester Square and not to my surprise found it incredibly busy, but wait, this seemed busier than usual and I was sure I could hear some amplified speaking. I rounded the corner to find a cordoned off area and the unveiling of the Agatha Christie memorial. I later found out is was designed by Den Twiston-Davies and is located in the middle of theatreland to represent her contribution to the stage. Did you know she was the first female playwright to have 3 plays performing in the West End simulaneously? and The Mousetrap is the world’d longest-running show?
Anyway, back to the point of this post. The absence of Christie on the greatest books list, and the unveiling of her memorial in London made me think about how many of her books I had read. The answer came to a big fat ZERO! I was shocked at this, I know so many of the stories, I can name so many of the books, how had I have not read any of them?! The answer was quite simple, I’d fallen in love with David Suchet’s Poirot and Geraldine McEwan’s Miss Marple, not to mention the numerous cameos by famour actors. Yes I had fallen foul to the “oh I know what happens in that book, because I’ve watched it on TV not because I’d actually read the books”. I was crest fallen, ashamed, I spent worringly amounts of time wailing in the streets. OK so I didn’t quite go that far but it did get me thinking about making a conscious effort to read at least one her books.
Another fast forward to December and I find myself with some time to spare in the vicinity of charity shops, well there is only one option let’s go look at the books. To my delight there were 3 Agatha Christie books in a beautiful hardback Classic Collection edition. They had to be mine, it felt like I was meant to find them. I decided there are then to set myself a challenge – to collect the entire Christie cataglogue, ideally in the Classic Collection edition. Since then I’ve found another 5 of her books in the right edition so my figures stand at 8 got, 84 needed. If I was happy to take any edition of her books I reckon I’d be near completion but doing it this way makes me treasure them more and bizarrely seems a more fitting tribute to such a magnificent writier.