Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy

The fourth week of November, starting on Nov. 24th, we will feature Agatha Christie's short story "A Christmas Tragedy," which I believe is in The Thirteen Problems short story collection as well as others:

 

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Thirteen-Problems/Agatha-Christie/e/9780451200204/?itm=1&bnit=H...

 

The same collection was also published as The Tuesday Club Murders:

 

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?WRD=tuesday+club+christie&bnit=H&bnrefer=HOM... 

Contributor
blindjustice247
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎07-25-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy

Is the Christmas Tragedy good?
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy

Well, I wanted to do The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, but as far as I can tell it's only available in British collections.

 

This is a typical Miss Marple mystery short story, selected because of its holiday theme. 

Contributor
blindjustice247
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎07-25-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy

Thanks for the info. !
Distinguished Bibliophile
dulcinea3
Posts: 4,389
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy


becke_davis wrote:

Well, I wanted to do The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, but as far as I can tell it's only available in British collections.

 

This is a typical Miss Marple mystery short story, selected because of its holiday theme. 


 

I just did some digging in wikipedia, and apparently The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding is the same as The Theft of the Royal Ruby, which is in the American collection Double Sin and Other Stories (which we did another story from earlier, I think).  I thought I had read the story!  I also know that I more recently saw a David Suchet-as-Poirot presentation of it, which I think was fairly new.  There are two versions of the story; the original and then an expanded version of it.  Here is the history:

 

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding is an expanded version of the story of the same name which appeared in issue 1611 of The Sketch magazine on December 11 1923. The original shorter version was first printed in book form in the UK in the two obscure collections Problem at Pollensa Bay and Christmas Adventure (Todd 1943) and Poirot Knows the Murderer (Polybooks 1946) and was then eventually reprinted in book form in the UK collection While the Light Lasts and Other Stories in 1997 under the title Christmas Adventure. The expanded version appeared after publication of the book in the weekly magazine Women's Illustrated from December 24, 1960 to January 7, 1961 under the alternative title of The Theft Of The Royal Ruby with illustrations by Zelinksi. The story first appeared in the US in Double Sin and Other Stories in 1961 also under the title of The Theft Of The Royal Ruby with some slight revisions to the UK version. The original shorter version has so far not been published in the US.

 

Of course, Everyman is likely to participate when it's Miss Marple, but not when it's Poirot!  But maybe we could still work in the Christmas Pudding as a short story in December, in its Double Sin incarnation.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Grand Dame of the Land of Oz, Duchess of Fantasia, in the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia; also, Poet Laureate of the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy

Great idea, we'll do that!
New User
Phoenixbird
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy

I would very much like to be part of the discussion of "A Christmas Tragedy". I love Agatha Christie, and think the book sounds like a good choice for this time of year.
New User
michellefidler
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎11-20-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy

[ Edited ]

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding's American title is The Theft of the Royal Ruby and it is in Double Sin and Other Stories.  I know, it's easy to get confused with different titles, especially when there are sometimes three titles that a book goes by.

 

Another book, The Hound of Death and Other Stories, wasn't published in the U.S., but all the stories appeared in American collections (i.e., different books of her short stories).

 

I have a book called The Agatha Christie Companion by Dennis Sanders and Len Lovallo and it explains all this.  It evens numbers the books by the year they were published (Double Sin is # 65 or 66).  It has different lists of her books, including ones in alphabetical order, by year of publication, and by detective (including separate lists for short stories and novels).  I don't think this book is in print any more, but if you tend to get confused by the different titles, it's good to have and a valuable guide for an Agatha Christie lover.  Check the library for it or get a similar book.  There's also a book that I think is called the Bedside and Bathtub Agatha Christie Companion.  There's one for Sherlock Holmes, too, that tells you the plot of each story.

 

A lot of her books have been reissued in the past decade with the British titles, not to mention that when you watch the David Suchet Poirot series, they have the British titles, so you need to look up what the American title is so you can tell what the story is about.

 

Message Edited by michellefidler on 11-20-2008 04:34 PM
I love to read mysteries, mostly cozy and historical ones and classic ones, such as Agatha Christie, etc. I collect books and swap them online on Paperbackswap.com, BookMooch.com, and TitleTrader.com. I love game shows such as Jeopardy and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? I love board games, my handheld Tetris, and video games (GameBoy, mostly).
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy

Thanks, Michelle.  It does get confusing!
Distinguished Bibliophile
dulcinea3
Posts: 4,389
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy

I have two Agatha Christie "companions", probably the two that you mention.  I know I have that Armchair, Bathtub, whatever one.  Those kinds of books are always fun!  I also have the classic Murder Ink and Murderess Ink, but I haven't taken a look at them in years and years.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Grand Dame of the Land of Oz, Duchess of Fantasia, in the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia; also, Poet Laureate of the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy

It's Christie week!  Anybody else besides me up for this?

 

I'm reading A Christmas Tragedy in an old paperback copy of The Tuesday Club Murders but, as we've mentioned previously, this story is in other collections, too.

 

I like this short story collection a lot, because it lets us see Miss Marple in a mixed setting (young and old, male and female, professional and amateur), and we see how she uses her particular skills to solve several different types of mysteries.

 

Apart from the title, this story isn't all that Christmasy, but it's a good example of Miss Marple-as-Sherlock-Holmes.  In this story, more than others, the physical clues play an important part.

 

Before I start with the spoilers, does anyone else have comments or observations? 

Distinguished Correspondent
biljounc63
Posts: 189
Registered: ‎11-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy


becke_davis wrote:

It's Christie week!  Anybody else besides me up for this?

 

Apart from the title, this story isn't all that Christmasy, but it's a good example of Miss Marple-as-Sherlock-Holmes. 

 

Before I start with the spoilers, does anyone else have comments or observations? 


I've read the story and will only read the rest of the collection after I finish with my current book.

 

I agree that the story is not very Christmasy as well but it does fit into the story. It is just a story that is set around Christmas time. Because the story is short there is not a lot of fluss around the characters but you know get to know who is who easily enough. I like how she relates similarities with the goings on in St Mary Mead.

 

I do not read many short storires found it refreshing to have an entire told story in just a few pages. 

 

Looking forward to further discussion...

 

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
~ Joseph Addison ~

"Reading lets you visit the world of another"
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy **SPOILERS*

 **SPOILERS***

 

For those of you who have read Miss Marple before, what did you think of this one?  When I've read it in the past, it's always been as part of a collection.  I've never really singled it out.

 

Now that I've read it again, I'm reminded that it isn't one of my favorites, because so much relies on the physical clues rather than her deductions based on something it reminded her of from St. Mary Mead.

 

It almost felt more like a Poirot mystery, but he wouldn't have gone looking for clues -- Pah!  Only the little gray cells for our Belgian friend!

 

It seemed cheating, in a way, for Miss Marple to say that "she just knew," even if it was based on her deductions.  What do you say? 

Distinguished Bibliophile
dulcinea3
Posts: 4,389
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy **SPOILERS*

Well, she did 'know' based on her observations of other men who had killed their wives, but I agree that she had little to go on other than some expressions on the husband's face.  Except for the incident on the tram, when he knocked his wife down the stairs, and Miss Marple was not convinced that a sailor could lose his balance like that, especially when an old lady like her had no problem.  She does mention another incident in the street, but doesn't elaborate.

 

And then she threw everyone for a loop when she said that the husband had an airtight alibi - I had to go back and reread that passage again later after the truth came out, because I had thought that she had said that it had been proven that he could not possibly have killed his wife.  But she didn't quite say that, after all.

 

I think that, like Miss Marple, I am disappointed that she could not do anything to prevent the murder (but, of course, it's the old cliche of - then there wouldn't have been a story, would there?).  I understand that she thought that the wife wouldn't listen to her, and she was probably right, but maybe she should still have tried, instead of doing nothing at all.  And I wonder what she was talking about at the end to Jane Helier - I take it that Jane is in love with a bounder?

 

Not very Christmassy, other than when Miss Marple mentions that the porter died four days before Christmas, and then references to Christmas shopping and selecting gifts.  With a title that references Christmas, I thought that the holiday would be a bit more prominent than that.  There were certainly a lot of dead bodies in that hotel!  The first two are just glossed over, although the second ends up playing a significant role in the third.

 

As I said on another thread, I think that the stories in the collection where others propose the mystery and Miss Marple astounds them all by solving it are more effective than the few that she tells herself.  She even says at the beginning of this one that she is not a good story-teller and tends to ramble, and then proves herself right by rambling for some time before getting down to the story.

 

But, then, even a Christie story that isn't quite up to par is still a superior story!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Grand Dame of the Land of Oz, Duchess of Fantasia, in the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia; also, Poet Laureate of the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy **SPOILERS*

I think this story was badly named.  I bet we can come up with some better titles.  Who wants to go first?
Inspired Correspondent
Librarian
Posts: 483
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy



becke_davis wrote:

It's Christie week!  Anybody else besides me up for this?

 

Apart from the title, this story isn't all that Christmasy, but it's a good example of Miss Marple-as-Sherlock-Holmes. 

 

Before I start with the spoilers, does anyone else have comments or observations? 


I haven't read A Christmas Tragedy but I just finished Hercule Poirot's Christmas. That also isn't Christmasy but just takes place at Christmas. I loved it. It kept me guessing until the end. I think that one is going to be discussed somewhere on the boards in December. Are any of the Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot mysteries Christmasy?

Librarian

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy

It's one of the two books we'll be discussing here in December.  I hope you'll be joining us!
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy

You'd think there would be since many think of her as the Queen of the Cozy (or Cosy to our British participants).  But even the books with Christmas in the title aren't exactly Christmasy, as you've noticed.
Distinguished Correspondent
biljounc63
Posts: 189
Registered: ‎11-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy **SPOILERS*

[ Edited ]

The Christmas theme is there in the fact the the victim had the closet locked so she can keep the embroidered gifts she was makeing her husband a secrete from him. She obviously wanted to give here husband a gift were as if she was not in love why would she be giving a handmade gift?

The husband also used a Christmas gift to get Miss Marple and the others up to the room  where the body was to see if they approved of the hand bag he bought for his wife.
Message Edited by biljounc63 on 11-25-2008 03:42 PM
Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
~ Joseph Addison ~

"Reading lets you visit the world of another"
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Agatha Christie: A Christmas Tragedy **SPOILERS*

You're right, there were Christmas-related things mentioned in the story, but I guess it just didn't feel "Christmasy" to me.  No nativity scenes, Christmas trees, colored lights -- maybe it's the commercial ambience I missed!