Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Agatha Christie: My favorite Author

Agatha Christie has been my favorite author since I was 9.

I remember the day I started reading my first Christie novel. My 3rd grade teacher lived just across the neighborhood from my parents' house.  It was a nice spring Saturday afternoon.  Riding my bike down the road to the park, I saw my teacher was having a garage sale. I thought I would go say hello.

I don't remember anything else she had for sale that day. What caught my eye was a box set of 5 Agatha Christie novels. I pulled one out of the box. The Mysterious Affair at Styles. World War I. Wealthy British Manor House. Strychnine poisoning. Murder.

I loved to read, and suddenly I knew I had to read these books! The price tag was $4.

To a 9 year old in the 1970's, $4 was a lot of money.

I asked my teacher if she could hold them for me so I could go get some money. She did....and I raced home on my bike to ask Mom for $4.

I still remember the conversation. "$4?? What on Earth costs $4 at a garage sale?''  My Mom had that parent-look on her face that told me I might as well be asking for a million in cash. "Books, Mom. She has a set of Agatha Christie novels that I would love to read.''

Books. That's all I had to say. I got my $4. If it had been something frivolous like a toy or clothes, the answer would have been no. But the minute my mother realized I wanted the money to buy books, she got me the cash immediately. Expanding the mind is definitely worth $4.

I jumped on my bike and rushed back. The books were mine! I can still remember putting the box down in my bike basket very carefully and riding slowly home. I didn't' want to wreck and damage the books. These were the first "real'' books that belonged to ME. Not children's picture books. No hand-me-downs from my sisters or books from the school library. Mr Popper's Penguins and Mouse and the Motorcycle or Ramona were great books....but these were real, adult books. No talking animals or grade school children. No pictures. Just text. Murder mysteries. Detectives. Poison. Dead bodies discovered in libraries. Britain. Waxed moustaches. Heaven!

I got home and went straight to my room. Laying across my bed and squinting hard to read the very small print, I imagined myself into the world of Hercule Poirot.

I still have all 5 of those paperbacks. They have been read many, many times since 1977.

Starting with that spring day, I devoured every Christie novel I got my hands on. I have read all 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections written by Christie. I have copies of nearly all of them on my bookshelf today.

Those books led me to love and study literature, and to dream of being a writer. My real love for books and the written word started that sunny spring day in Kansas 38 years ago.

Learn more about Agatha Christie, her life and her books here.

Who is your favorite author?? Leave a comment & let me know! :)

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