'How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare that after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.' No one made any reply. She then yawned again, threw aside her book, and cast her eyes round the room in quest of some amusement. — from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
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February 1, 2014

Too many choices ...


There are certain clichés belonging to certain types of fiction. The 'bold bad baronet' for melodrama, the 'body in the library' for the detective story. For several years I treasured up the possibility of a suitable 'variation on a well-known Theme.' I laid down for myself certain conditions. The library in question must be a highly orthodox and conventional library. The body, on the other hand, must be a mildly improbable and highly sensational body. Such were the terms of the problem, but for some years they remained as such, represented only by a few lines of writing in an exercise book. Then,  staying one summer for a few days at a fashionable hotel by the seaside I observed a family at one of the tables in the dining room... Fortunately, they left the next day, so that my imagination could get to work unhampered by any kind of knowledge. ...
... In the manner of a cookery recipe add the following ingredients:  a tennis pro, a young dancer, an artist, a girl guide, a dance hostess, etc., and serve up a la Miss Marple!
{from Agatha Christie's foreword to this later edition
of The Body in the Library}

{updated}

I've gotten into this bad habit lately of having too many possibilities {sweaters, library books, recipes to try} that I spend too much time choosing. {Does this happen to you? Let's knock it off together. :)}

On the other hand, when I finally do choose, sometimes (not always)-- even when I've chosen my book by its cover {wouldn't you have? I love this one! } -- I'm rewarded by knowing that I got lucky, by about page one.

Hope your weekend, and your reading, are as promising!

{Now that I've finished this ... I spent a Saturday afternoon reading a book from cover to cover! (and this was a lot of fun to read ... I liked the first Miss Marple a little more.  The opening was very well done; I could see how much fun A.C. would have had with it, given her description of how she came to write this particular story. I think there wasn't enough of Miss Marple in it for me, but it was interesting to see how A.C. may have planned to use her:

    "Downstairs in the lounge, by the third pillar from the left, there sits an old lady with a sweet, placid spinsterish face, and mind that has plumbed the depths of human iniquity and taken it all in the day's work. She comes from the village of St. Mary Mead, which is a mile and a half from Gossington, she's a friend of the Bantrys -- and where crime is concerned she's the goods, Conway! ...
      Conway Jefferson's brows came down lower than ever. He grunted disbelievingly:
      'Women's intuition, I suppose,' he said skeptically.
      'No, she doesn't call it that. Specialized knowledge is her claim.'
      'And what does that mean?'
      'Well, you know, Jefferson, we use it in police work. We get a burglary and we usually know pretty well who did it -- of the regular crowd, that is. We know the sort of burglar who acts in a particular sort of way. Miss Marple has an interesting, though occasionally trivial, series of parallels from village life.'
      Jefferson said skeptically:
      'What is she likely to know about a girl who's been brought up in a theatrical milieu and probably never been in a village in her life?'
      'I think,' said Sir Henry Clithering firmly, 'that she might have ideas.'

I think that it might just be that there wasn't enough of Miss Marple in this one.  The e-book that I borrowed from the library had a list of the 12 Miss Ms. in the back, and I'm looking forward to reading a little more forward in the series to see what Agatha Christie does with her.}


1 comment:

JoAnn said...

That happens to me all the time! If I limit the number of choices, the decision-making process can actually be fun, but it's overwhelming with too many. Looks like you've chosen well!

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