About Books #135: The Science of Agatha Christie

Although my all-time favourite genre will probably always be romance, there’s a couple of other ones that have claimed a spot in my reader’s heart. Fantasy certainly hits the spot from time to time, but detectives? That’s usually not the genre most people would connect me with … Et pourtant: detectives – and that I mainly mean Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes are some of my favourite ‘comfort reads’ to go back to!

I was offered an ARC by Netgalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are strictly my own.

The story

Gothic media moguls Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence, authors of The Science of Stephen King and co-hosts of the Horror Rewind podcast called “the best horror film podcast out there” by Film Daddy, present a guide to the Agatha Christie stories and supersleuths we all know and love. Through interviews, literary and film analysis, and bone-chilling discoveries, The Science of Agatha Christie uncovers the science behind the sixty-six detective novels and fourteen short story collections that have become an integral part of the modern murder mystery, answering such questions as: 

  • What is the science behind the poisons used to commit murders in Agatha Christie’s stories?
  • When did crime investigation become more common as seen in Murder on the Orient Express?
  • Has science made it possible to uncover the truth behind the investigative powers of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple?
  • How did Agatha Christie use isolated settings to best explore the psychology of her characters?

The opinion

Now, this book does exactly what it says it’s going to do: it looks at a variety of question that might come to mind when reading Agatha Christie’s work. And while the actual replies are, undoubtedly, well-researched, after the fifth time I read “In (title of book), x y and z happens. What would that look like in …?” I was kind of wishing for something with a bit more … Cohesion?

Inserted were a couple of interviews with people who, again, might have something useful to add … But they mainly seemed to be pulled into the book because they collaborated with the authors at one point or another, or because they admired them.

The rating: 2,5/5

While this was a pleasant read, the repetitiveness combined with the ‘meandering’ structure of this book left me feeling kind of unsatisfied. So, while I did enjoy this read as a whole, it probably wouldn’t be my number one recommendation for someone interested in learning more Agatha Christie. (Goodreads)