I love watching Agatha Christie telemovies. I can’t decide whether I prefer Proirot or Miss Marple. I think it really depends on which mood I happen to be in, at the time. David Suchet is so precise in his mannerisms and portrayal of the Belgian sleuth whose OCD that can be seen in every aspect of his life; his attention to detail allows him to sift through the myriad of clues and red herrings, to find the logical solution.
Then there is Miss Marple so often passed over, by the local constabulary, as a silly old biddy who is going a senile; it does not take much time for her to start putting pieces of the puzzle together with her quick mind. Which ever actress plays her, she is intelligent and whiley, often using her age to put the murderer (and the police) off guard… with a just little hint of cheekiness.
Sometimes my preference will depend on whether I am in the mood for some art deco flavour or some post World War II costumes. Whichever way I go, there is the ever present plot provided by Agatha Christie. There is the set up; introducing the characters, the various relationships (of love and hate), a kaleidoscope of clues. Red herrings are specialty of hers but if you listen and watch very closely, they are usually betrayed by a word or action of one of the characters. Usually the story is neatly concluded, the pieces dissected and all the clues detailed and the solution all tied up in a neat bow.
This is a must with most crime fiction. The reader wants to be given clues, allowed to sift through them and decide which is important and solve the puzzle by the end of the book. (Though sometimes even Ms Christie cheats a bit).
Given my predilection for reading and watching crime stories, I always find it interesting that I prefer to write speculative fiction. I don’t always want my stories to finish neatly, all laid out on a platter for easy viewing. Recently, I have enjoyed throwing in red herrings that are not necessarily red herrings (so I suppose I can’t really call them red herrings any way?) I am finding a lot of enjoyment in ambiguous endings, making the reader think about what will happen next, after the story finishes. I love the idea of taking something mundane/ everyday and asking ‘what if?’
Some of the most powerful words we have, capable of inspiring so many creations, so many ideas and deeds. Why not ask yourself ‘what if’ and see where it takes you.
All tied up in a Neat Bow.