Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You may order what you please!

Another of Agatha Christie's books, another blog post. :P This time around, the book was "The ABC Murders". And, here is an excerpt from the book.

' "If you could order a crime as one orders a dinner, what would you choose?"

I(Captain Hastings) fell in with his(Hercule Poirot) humour.

'Let me see now. Let's review the menu. Robbery? Forgery? No, I think not. Rather too vegetarian. It must be murder - red-blooded murder - with trimmings, of course.'

'Naturally, The hors d'oeuvres.'

'Who shall the victim be - man or woman? Man, I think. Some big-wig. American millionaire. Prime Minister. Newspaper proprietor. Scene of the crime - well, what's wrong with the good old library? Nothing like it for the atmosphere. As for the weapon - well, it might be a curiously twisted dagger - or some blunt instrument - a carved stone idol -'

Poirot sighed.

'Or, of course,'I sighed, 'there's poison - but that's so technical. Or a revolver shot echoing in the night. There must be a beautiful girl or two-'

'With auburn hair,' murmured my friend.

'Your same old joke.One of the beautiful girls, of course, must unjustly be suspected - and there's some misunderstanding between her and the young man. And then of course, there must be other suspects - an older woman - dark, dangerous type - and some friend or rival of the dead man's - and a quiet secretary - dark horse - and a hearty man with a bluff manner -  and a couple of discharged servants or gamekeepers or somethings -  and a damn fool of a detective rather like Japp - and well - that's about all.'

Poirot looked at me sadly.

'You have made there a very pretty resume of nearly all the detective stories that have ever been written.'

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'................... You have quite the melodramatic soul, Hastings. You would like, not one murder, but a series of murders.'

Now, what's with the excerpt? The fact is that it brought about me a very similar description, of something that I know, we all know. Let me illustrate.

'Let me see now. Let's review the menu. A celebrity talk show? A reality show? No, I think not. Rather too short. It must be melodrama - tear brimming melodrama - with trimmings, of course.'

'Who shall the main character be? Man or woman? Woman, I think. A happy family, nothing out of the ordinary, preferably, lower middle class. There must be this sick grandma or unemployed father at home. A neighbour that is there always to comfort and to criticize. Ah, a drunkard or a shady businessman - And, there's this friend of the main character's - from college or from work, preferably from work. A kind that would take jealousy for an attribute quite well to be mentioned in a CV. And, then there's this thing what everyone calls the "SUDDEN TWIST OF FATE", a member of the family takes ill, or the lead is about to be married off. Problems, more problems. Comes in autos, buses, trains and taxis.!"

I say "Et voila, you have a perfect soap-opera! A blend of the infinitely draggy, problem-centred, depressive, addictive  already existing ones!" Collect all the tears from tv and you would find a Chennai with no water trouble for the next decade!! :P

Yet, there are people who are so void of a pass-time that they will see even the most damned of these soap-operas. God save the lot!

As for the book, I enjoyed it -  as I did the other of her works. So, if you were to order a television programme as one orders dinner, what would you order?

\* unleash your thoughts */