23 Apr 2015
With talk about a screenwriter creating a TV series with Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini, I shouldn’t be surprised that someone thought about turning making Agatha Christie a fictional character as well.
The witty Dorothy Parker from America joins Sayers, Sir Arthur, a young John Steinbeck and baseball player Mo Berg in puzzling the clues left by Christie as to the whereabouts of her diary. The trail leads them to Berlin where Adolf Hitler is already stirring up hate. Sir Arthur and a young Ian Fleming (prior to his fame as the James Bond novelist) travel on the Orient Express together, stopping in Monaco to meet Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso.
The story is set in 1926, the day that Agatha’s first husband, Archie, announced that he wanted a divorce. In real-life, while Archie left to spend the weekend with his mistress (and future wife), Agatha drove off into the night. Her abandoned car was found the next day, launching an 11-days wonder as everyone asked: Where Was Agatha?
The answer was that she was hiding in a hotel in the north of England, but Dimond decided to send her on a more thrilling adventure.
The book was published by Untreed Reads, a small press. I’m not sure about the quality of the book, but reading the first chapter using Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature showed me that it wasn’t bad. The story is told from the viewpoint of Carlotta, Christie’s assistant, and it moved along smartly and there was nothing that made me wince except for the occasional typo. I wish they had found a better title, however, but that’s just me.
I suspect that how much you’ll enjoy this book depends on how you feel about seeing famous artists and writers placed in entirely different roles and situations. Give Dimond credit: It’s a high-concept “what if” that I’ve never seen before.