We interrupt our regularly scheduled Wicked Wednesday to celebrate Agatha Christie’s birthday! We all have a special fondness for the dame who paved the way for all our stories. So to celebrate, let’s talk about books – specifically, hers!
Wickeds, what was the first traditional mystery (like Agatha Christie’s mysteries) you read? And what was the first cozy mystery you read?
Sherry: Does Nancy Drew count as a traditional? Our house was filled with romantic suspense authors like Mary Stewart, Phyllis A. Whitney, and Victoria Holt. I probably read an Agatha Christie novel along the way, but gasp, I didn’t care for it. I know I need to give her a try now. As for cozy mysteries it would have been either the Cat Who mysteries by Lillian Jackson Braun or the Southern Sister mysteries by Anne George. All of them were delightful.
Edith/Maddie: My mom had shelves of Christie, both Miss Marple and Poirot, that I read my way through, but I have no idea which was the first. Unlike Sherry, I loved them! Happy birthday, Dame Agatha. I also read my mother’s Sherlock Holmes stories, and devoured all of Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames, Student Nurse. As for adult cozy authors, I feel like I discovered Susan Wittig Albert, Diane Mott Davidson, and Katherine Hall Page at the same time in the late 1980s. These three three-named culinary cozy authors captivated me for many, many happy hours of reading, and are a big reason I write the kinds of books I do.
Jessie: Like Edith’s mother, mine also had a huge collection of Christie novels. I am not sure which I read first, but A Mysterious Affair at Styles keeps offering itself to my memory as the first. I do vividly recall reading And Then There Were None under the covers with a flashlight one night when I was 9 or 10 and not being able to sleep because it was so creepy. There was something so macabre about the use of a children’s rhyme that left me rattled. Despite that, or maybe because of it, I read through all the rest of Christie’s novels on our home shelves and any others I could get my hands on. I have a well-thumbed collection of my own now, including that very copy of the one that gripped me so long ago. Thanks, Mum!
Liz: I’m with you on Nancy Drew, Sherry! My mother never had Agatha Christie books either, so when I was young I read all the Nancy Drews and Trixie Beldens. Murder on the Orient Express was the first for me, but I definitely haven’t read the majority of them. I guess I’m adding to my TBR pile! Also like Sherry, I think the first cozies I read were The Cat Who series – and I also loved listening to the audio versions.
Julie: My first Christie was The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. From there I was hooked. I like to think I’ve read them all, but I’m not sure. I have reread several of them with my writer’s brain engaged, and still find her fascinating. Jessie, And Then There Were None. I so agree–the book is so much darker than the movie. And so much better than the recent TV series. My first cozy? It’s been so long, I can barely remember. I do remember visiting my parents for a day, and my mother handing my Janet Evanovich’s first book. I curled up on the couch to read it. I laughed so hard I had to sit up. My mother loves series, and refers to the characters as people to meet. “Have you met Lord Peter? No? You have so much to look forward to!” Happy birthday Dame Agatha! Thank you for the hours and hours of entertainment.
Readers, which Christie book and/or cozy mystery was your first? Leave a comment below!