Asian Writers

June is dedicated to authors with ASIAN ORIGIN....review of books in this category will be posted all month....

Monday, August 13, 2012

Racy vs Brainy ~ Agatha Christie's contrasting characters

Whenever the name Agatha Christie would come to my mind, Hercule Poirot wasn't far behind. For me they were synonyms, one doesn't exist without the other. So I was quite surprised that Christie had another detective pair as well - Tommy and Tuppence. I had of course heard and read one of Miss Marple's novel and found it an utter bore. I couldn't fathom how an old spinster holed up within the four walls of her room, solve mysteries without even so much as stepping out to see the site of crime or talk to people! All the while she would go about knitting...really how is it even possible.? Perhaps Agatha Christie took her readers to be gullible, which proved contrary and led to Miss Marple's lack of popularity vis-a-vis Poirot.
With Poirot and Marple, I concluded that Christie had enough characters and variations in them to suffice her for writing series of mystery novels. I mean if Aurthur Conan Doyle could write volumes using Sherlock Holmes alone, she in comparison had two.


So, when I started reading 'The Secret Adversary' I was totally unprepared for another new pair of detectives. And what a difference in characterization. Unlike, Poirot/Marple T&T are young and dynamic. They both are nondescript in their features, average looking nothing to set them apart from the other people in the crowd. They don't have any visible idiosyncrasies either unlike Poirot's obsessive compulsions and Marple's knitting habit.

Hasting's described Poirot as

"He was hardly more than five feet four inches but carried himself with great dignity. His head was exactly the shape of an egg, and he always perched it a little on one side. His mustache was very stiff and military. Even if everything on his face was covered, the tips of mustache and the pink-tipped nose would be visible"


Tommy and Tuppence are described, respectively as
"a shock of exquisitely slicked-back red hair. His face was pleasantly ugly –nondescript, yet unmistakably the face of a gentleman and a sportsman. Tuppence had no claim to beauty, but there was character and charm in the elfin lines of her little face, with its determined chin and large, wide-apart grey eyes…"


T&T are racy, they prefer to jump head-on into a pursuit, are physically more active with fights and races while Poirot relies on using more analytical approach, testing his faculties and intuition to help him solve mysteries. Also, Poirot is portrayed more often than not as a condescending person, who likes to have a private joke at the cost of his friends and suspects. T&T on the other hand seem to be as susceptible and prone to errors as you or me and are in fact at the receiving end. They are able to solve the mystery because of their relentless and tireless hard work and joining the dots of the events takes a second priority.


I haven't read any other of their stories [nor do I see myself doing it in the near future] but although both are Agatha Christie's works, for some reason that I cannot quite pinpoint, I still prefer the quirky french guy with his mustache than the young duo. For me action comes second and I still prefer the rational and logical approach.

  

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