What’s In A Name Challenge: A Murder is Announced…

7

Well, here it is: the first obstacle in the What’s In A Name Reading Challenge (hereafter to be known as the WIAN? RC)!

As previously mentioned, I have decided to complete this challenge in two parts – the Christie-listie, which is comprised entirely of books by or about Agatha Christie, and the Un-Christie-listie, which is comprised of books that are not in any way related to the Dame herself….Clearly, this first title is from the Christie-listie, and specifically relates to Category 3 – a book with a party or celebration mentioned in the title.

murder is announcedSo where is the party/celebration in A Murder is Announced?   Well, according to our good friend Professor Wikipedia, “a party is a gathering of people who have been invited by a host for the purposes of socializing, conversation, or recreation“…..and a subcategory of this, the suprise party, is “a party that is not made known beforehand to the person in whose honor it is being held”.  It is therefore abundantly clear that the murder in the title, which has been announced, will involve a gathering of people (who necessarily, on seeing each other, will socialise, converse or engage in some form of recreation).  Further to this, the person to be murdered will, most likely, not have prior knowledge of their status as the guest in whose honour the event is being held.  Clearly then, a murder is a sort of surprise party. I rest my case Your Honour.

Given that the Christie-listie is a very specific sub-category of the crime genre, I have devised a special rating system for use in reviewing these works.  It consists of 5 criteria against which a star rating (of which 5 stars is the highest) will be applied.  The book will then be summarised in a rhyming couplet.

The criteria are as follows:

Rate of Moustache-Twiddlage (for Poirot novels) or Stitch-Droppage (for Marple novels): This refers to the expected level of engagement with the plot as measured by the extent to which anxious body language emerges in the reader…

Red Herring Haul: relating to the level of mis-clues present…

Butler-osity: which refers to the complexity of the revelation at the end (based on the foundation level of non-complexity in which the Butler is identified as the one who did it)…..

Common-or-Garden-ness: the formulaity of the plot set-up, cast of characters and reveal. Otherwise known as the Retired-Colonel-Ometer…

Rate of Contextual Controversy: or the extent to which racist, sexist or other generally a-bit-off-by-today’s-standards references are casually scattered about the text

marple kitteh

A Murder is Announced – WIAN? RC REVIEW

Plot summaryThe residents of Chipping Cleghorn are aghast/delighted/upset by an announcement in the local paper stating that a murder will take place at the big house at a given time.  Said nosey residents turn up to see what goes down, only to be shocked/dazzled/terrified when the lights go out at said given time.  Shots are fired, a body is discovered….enter Miss Marple (in a casual and nondescript fashion) for the usual highjinks after local constabulary assess that the situation is a bit iffy.

Stitch Droppage:  2stars   While the premise looked promising, I would be lying if I said I was totally gripped from beginning to end.

Red Herring Haul: 2stars A few tricksy traps were left out to trip up the unwary, but I didn’t feel these were of the calibre of red herrings in other Christie offerings.

Butler-osity: 3_stars_svg Quite a complex ending – worthy of both eyebrows being raised and the uttering of an appreciative “Mmmm!”

Common-or-Garden-ness: 5-Stars  Retired Colonel who served in the colonies? Check.  Quiet rural village with a spectacularly silly name? Yesiree!  Oodles of live-in hangers-on with shady backgrounds? You bet your sweet bippy!! It’s a veritable feast for all those Christie-capers we know and love.

Contextual Controversy: 5-StarsRacial stereotypes abound! It’s almost a Blyton-esque parade of casually related remarks about the general unsavoury nature of “foreigners”.

Plot in a Poem:

If you’re game to earn a shilling,

the stage is set to make a killing!

Overall Rating: Meh.  Not her best work, but a reasonable enough read for a rainy day.

So, that’s one down, many to go….

Until next time,

Bruce

 

 

Decisions, decisions: 2013 Reader’s Challenge Prep…

13

Afternoon all.  No doubt some of you are still sleeping off some recent gut-busting feast-related behaviour, so I thought I would make this a fairly gently post out of respect for your continuing processes of digestion.  To that end, I thought I would float my current ideas for responding to Beth Fish’s “What’s In A Name” Reading Challenge.  Given that the challenge only has six categories, and given that I am perfectly capable of reading at least 25 times that number of books in a year (probably), I have decided that I will attack this challenge twice.

But why, Bruce, why?  What benefit could there be in submitting yourself to the same challenge twice? Well frankly, I’m glad you asked.  And I’m touched by your concern….thank you dear reader!  I have decided to respond to this challenge with a regular, run-of-the-mill, list of books that meet the requirements…..and then repeat this feat with books by or about Agatha Christie!! Brilliant! Long-time readers of this blog will be aware of my Christie fandom, and this seemed like a perfect excuse…ahem….opportunity to get some more Christies under the belt.

So here are my choices (at present) for each category, for my Christie Listie, and my Christie-less List.

Category 1: A book with Up or Down (or its equivalent) in the title

death in the cloudsblue jay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category 2: A book with something you might find in your kitchen in the title

curtainJam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category 3: A book with a party or celebration in the title

 

murder is announcedjanuary first

I should probably point out that while there are other Christie titles that more obviously fit this category, such as Halloween Party and After the Funeral, I have already read them.  So I had to be a bit obscure instead (insert evil laugh here).

Category 4: A book with fire or its equivalent in the title

 

chimneys

smoke and mirrors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category 5: A book with an emotion in the title

sad cypresshopeless maine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annoyingly, Sad Cypress seems to be the only Christie title with an emotion in the title I can find.  If anyone can find another, please feel free to let me know – I like to have options!

Category 6: A book with lost or found or its equivalent in the title

missing daysarchived

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m being a bit cheeky in this category too: see, if something is archived, it is to allow it to be FOUND easily and prevent it from being LOST…..

Well, if anyone has any suggestions or feedback about these lists feel free to chime in.  They aren’t set in stone (heheee, geddit? Gargoyle? Set in stone? Ahh, I crack myself up…..heheeeeeee! geddit? Stone? Crack Up?  Ah, excuse me while I wipe the tears of mirth from my eyes….)

Until next time,

Bruce

 

 

 

 

 

Haiku Review: And Then There Were None…

2

Good afternoon all, Mad Martha with you once again! Before I start, may I congratulate the winners of the inaugral Gargie Awards – bravo to you all!

Today I have chosen to review one of my personal favourites, Agatha Christie’s little ripper And Then There Were None.  Regular followers of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of Ms Christie – indeed, she was the subject of my very first Ode to an Author.  This charming little title follows the woes of ten seemingly unconnected people who are all invited to an island party – but to what end? I think you can probably guess!  If you haven’t got around to this particular title yet, it should definitely be the next Christie you pick up.  So here, my dears, is my haiku review:

You know your invite

to that mystery party?

Wash your hair instead.

Yours in poetry,

Mad Martha