Monday, January 18, 2016


I reread Elephants Can Remember shortly after an academic analysis showed that Agatha Christie may have been in the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease when she wrote that memory-dependant novel.  When I reread Nemesis a few weeks ago, I looked for signs that this novel, written a year earlier, showed signs of Dame Agatha's decline.  I'm not an expert, but I don't think it does; Nemesis is much more coherent than its successor.  I don't however,  have a program to analyze the complexity of the language so I may have passed more subtle signs.

Nemesis begins in the comfortable confines of St. Mary Mead where Jane Marple is perusing the obituaries while drinking her morning tea.  As usual, she sees a familiar name, but it's not an old school friend.  The name she sees is Rafiel - the same Mr. Rafiel she'd met on a Caribbean vacation a few years earlier.  A few days later, Mr. Rafiel's attorneys tell Miss Marple that she's been given a bequest by the estate.  It's not money, exactly, but a tour of famous gardens.  Oh, and while she's on tour, can she also solve the murder for which Mr. Rafiel's son was unjustly convicted?  Of course Miss Marple's basic understanding of human nature (along with a few convent coincidences) frees young Mr. Rafiel from Dartmoor and brings the real murder to justice.  There's a reason why Christie's books are considered "cozy" - they're the literary equivalent of a good cup of tea.  Warm, comforting, and often a bit more complex than they're given credit for being.

No comments:

Post a Comment