A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson
|A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson|
|Category: Crime (Historical)|
|Reviewer: Sean Barrs|
|Summary: In this intense novel, Agatha Christie has to prevent herself falling victim to a conspiracy worthy of her own writing.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: May 2017|
|Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK|
Agatha Christie wrote some tantalising crime thrillers back in her day, and here Andrew Wilson makes her a victim to a plot not unlike one of her own. It's all about the mystery, and it really drives the story forward. Agatha is ambushed by a strange man at the train station; she is given a proposition that confuses her and secretly intrigues her. Indeed, for this man wants her to commit a murder.
Writing about murder is one thing, actually committing it yourself is another thing altogether. She becomes torn between her morals and her family. For this man has a powerful hold on her; he knows exactly who she is, where she lives and how to hurt those she loves. He is an imposing figure, an authoritative man who is commanding and uncompromising. He will use violence against her too, and quickly reveals himself to be a trusted doctor. He's a worthy foe, and he wants her to disappear, so she has a lot to deal with.
Despite giving the appearance of being utterly unprepared to deal with such an assault, Agatha is not without her own guile. She's extraordinarily clever; she knows how the criminal mind works and can easily see where she is being lead. She also has experience with poison. She learnt the basics of it to make her writing more informed. She seems conservative and ordinary, which, in part, becomes her greatest weapon because she has just been drastically underestimated. She's written about men like this herself; she knows what to expect from them and has some ideas of her own for dealing with them. So a deadly game begins, one I found tense and intriguing.
A police body hunt also commences, as Agatha is considered dead by the officer in charge of her disappearance. The story becomes a speculative narrative, a possible and entertaining explanation of what could have happened when she did actually go missing in real life in December 1926. She was gone for ten whole days, and nobody really knows what happened. She would never speak of it herself, so all we have is speculation. Wilson also digs into the unexplainable death of a young reporter assigned with researching the case, providing a tense and detailed plot about what connected all these people together. Historically speaking, there are many lingering questions about what happened to Agatha during these ten days. This novel provides a conspiracy theory, a massive what if that seems eerily possible. We will never have our answers, but what Wilson provides are some clever fictional ones.
I've not read any of Agatha Christie's actual novels, but after reading this I want to. Wilson drew upon many of the themes and characters. As our cunning doctor here recognises, he's a caricature of one of her most famous villains: Doctor Sheppard. He became obsessed with Agatha Christie's writing and tried to relive parts of it, that much so he tried to take control of her life. So this is highly recommended for fans of Christie or for those who just enjoy a good crime novel.
If you like the sound of this then it's worth checking out this crime novel The Knife Slipped by Erle Stanley Gardner or if you want to learn more about the real Agatha Christie Agatha Christie: An English Mystery by Laura Thompson.
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