By R.A. York
This research exhibits how she sought to reconcile her attachment to the Victorian prior along with her reputation of a brand new society that undermined status quo and in doing so gave extra possibilities to ladies, stressed class-boundaries, prolonged tolerance, allowed the cult of delight and self-assertion and published the ambiguities of respectability.
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Extra resources for Agatha Christie: Power and Illusion
Criminals and bodies alike can be disguised. In Murder in Mesopotamia, Lavigny is not in fact a highly qualified French archaeologist but a swindler; his whole personality is a disguise (xxvii). In Appointment with Death, Lady Westholme disguises herself as an Arab servant in order to approach the victim, sitting in wide public view (a Father Brown story points out that no one notices a postman; no one notices an Arab servant either); in Third Girl the central character’s (false) step-mother Mary Restarick is disguised as her flatmate Frances Cary.
What seems to be the body of the dancer in The Body in the Library is in fact that of a schoolgirl, murdered simply to permit the substitution. This substitution twice leads Peach (2006, 73, 102) to reflect in post-modern style on the instability of identity; more generally it demonstrates, what is asserted by the clergyman in Evil under the Sun, that the body can be impersonal – in other words it insists on character as identity. The body in The Clocks is first identified by a calling card in its pocket.
The comedy is certainly there in Sir Charles, but so is a sense of inhuman arrogance. A particularly fascinating example of the exploitation of the theatrical occurs in Death in the Clouds, where Poirot requires Norman Gale to act the part of a blackmailer. In order to conceal the fact that he is really an accomplished deceiver, Norman has to act at acting badly, appearing in an absurd disguise of false beard and eyebrows – the opposite of the minimal but effective disguise in which he has carried out the murder.
Agatha Christie: Power and Illusion by R.A. York