What’s Happening at the Library: Happy Birthday Agatha Christie!

By John Maruskin

Clark County Public Library

Agatha Christie was born Sept. 15, 1890. Happy birthday!

In 1971, she was made a Dame of the British Empire for her contributions to literature. And what contributions they are.

Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie wrote 76 novels and 14 short story collections.

She is the best-selling novelist of all time, selling 2 billion copies of her novels.

Her works come third in the rankings of the world’s most-widely published books, behind only Shakespeare’s works and the Bible.

Her books are translated into at least 103 languages.

Her play, “The Mousetrap,” has now been running for 65 years during which time more than 27,000 performances have been given.

Agatha Christie established the style and most of the motives used by mystery writers, hard-boiled to cozy, for the past 100 years.

At noon Thursday, the Book Lunch Reading Group will celebrate her birthday, as it has for the past four years, by reading “Crooked House,” one of her personal favorites.

“Crooked House” is a stand-alone mystery, no Poirot, Miss Marple, Tommy and Tuppence or Inspector Battle.

“Crooked House” is unusual because the members of the English family portrayed actually like each other and love the family patriarch … well, one of them doesn’t.

The characterization is sharp, the plot gyres the solution is eerie. Agatha Christie said she never knew who would be guilty when she started writing one of her mysteries. What a “eureka!” moment it must have been when she came up with the culprit for this one.

There are a few copies of “Crooked House” still available at the circulation desk. If you are an Agatha Christie fan and would like to join in the discussion, register to attend by calling the library at 744-5661 or use the Evanced online registration system on the library’s website at clarkbooks.org.

All of Agatha Christie’s novels are in the library’s collection along with a number of her short stories.

If you are interested in learning more about the life of Agatha Christie, five biographies are in the Clark County Public Library’s biography section and there are two autobiographies.

One is “Come tell Me How You Live,” the book she wrote about her travels to Egypt and the Middle East just after marrying Max Mallowan, an archeologist. (Christie liked to joke an archeologist is the perfect husband since he loves you more as you age.)

The other is “Agatha Christie, An Autobiography.” There are two copies of this autobiography. The newer printing (2010, HaperCollins), has a CD with recordings of Agatha Christie dictating the book.

If you want to see how she developed her novels, take a look at “Agatha Christie: Murder in the making; more stories and secrets from her notebooks,” by John Curtran (call No. 823.912 Curr).

Have you read her sixth novel, “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd?” You must. Really, you must. When that book came out in 1926, it flabbergasted mystery readers everywhere and still does. The Book Lunch crew read it in September 2016, and since then, member Tiffany Fletcher has not been able to trust a narrator.

Other programs this week:

— At 2 p.m. Wednesday, Kentucky Picture Show presents a 2018 film based on a true story of survival. A young couple faces one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in history. Rated  PG-13.

— At 7 p.m. Wednesday, trivia night at the Engine House Pizza Pub with Jeff Gurnee.

— At 10 a.m. Friday, Write Local. Write right.

— From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday Sept. 22, Outside the lines adult coloring.

Do not, in the words of Hercule Poirot, “derange yourself” about what to read. Come to the library and find the perfect book.

John Maruskin is director of adult services at the Clark County Public Library. He can be reached at john.clarkbooks@gmail.com.