The Mystery of Agatha Christie in Mechanicsburg on Sunday

Banner for the free Agatha Christie lecture on Sunday at the Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookstore.

Banner for the Agatha Christie lecture on Sunday at the Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookstore.

When it comes to blowing my horn, I tend to be pianississimo instead of fortississimo. That’s probably one of the major skills (outside of writing) that anyone who hopes to sell what they’ve made has to learn.

Self-promotion seems to contain a number of traps of its own making. While there may not be such as thing as too much promotion (see Kardashians, The), too much in the wrong place can lead pretty quickly to numerous blockages, unfriendings and similar behavior.

This occurred to me today while setting up a Facebook event for the free Agatha Christie talk I’m giving at the Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookstore (Sunday 3/30 at 2 p.m.). One of the options available was to “Invite People.”

I must admit I froze. While I’ve been the recipient of numerous invitations, I’ve never been the invitee, and I wasn’t aware of the folkways involved. Should I invite everyone? A few in the area? Relatives? While I’ve never been offended by receiving invites — indifference to some is the worst I can muster — the thought of annoying others made it difficult to check the proper number of boxes.

In the end, I settled for inviting a few, announcing the event over at the Pennwriters board, and posting about my Hamlet-like conflict here.

In any event, I’m planning on a barnburner of a show. Christie’s early years contain enough material to make a charming coming-of-age story: a genteel young lady brought up in a civilized society; her father’s death when she was young; declining family fortunes; a whirl of dance parties and charity balls where she was introduced to numerous young men; an trip to Egypt where she preferred the social whirl to looking at moldy old archaeological sites (an interest that, ironically, would surface later in life). There’s even the occasional scandal to liven the business up.

Then there’s her dabbling in poisons and murder, leading her to create (at 25 no less) Hercule Poirot, the detective that would be the making of her, and a millstone at times, for the rest of her life. Finally, we’ll round up with the story of her happy marriage to Archie Christie and the prospects of a pleasant domestic life, only to be shattered by sexual betrayal and public scandal.

So far, according to the bookstore owner, at least 30 people have indicated they’ll attend. To paraphrase Mark Twain’s handbill on the occasion of his first lecture: The doors will open at noon. The trouble will begin at 2 p.m.