Exciting news! I’m thrilled to reveal that Agatha Christie Goes to War, a book of essays I
co-edited with Dr Rebecca Mills, has been
published by Routledge. You can get it in hardback or e-book form, for your library or yourself. My author copies arrived last week, and they’re quite a thing to behold.
Agatha Christie has never been substantially considered as a war writer, even though war is a constant presence in her writing. This interdisciplinary collection of essays considers the effects of these conflicts on the social and psychological textures of Christie’s detective fiction and other writings, demonstrating not only Christie’s textual navigation of her contemporary surroundings and politics, but also the value of her voice as a popular fiction writer reflecting popular concerns. Agatha Christie Goes to War introduces the ‘Queen of Crime’ as an essential voice in the discussion of war, warfare, and twentieth century literature.
As well as featuring an extensive introduction, the book includes ten original chapters, offering fresh and interdisciplinary angles on this vital, neglected topic. Contributors include some of the best-known authorities in their respective fields, alongside the most promising up-and-comers. All in all, this is a book Rebecca and I are incredibly proud of.
I mean, seriously: just feast your eyes on the table of contents:
Sarah Martin and Sally West, Mapping War, Planning Peace: Miss Marple and the Evolving Village Space, 1930-1962
Paula Bowles, Christie’s Wartime Hero: Peacetime Killer
Brittain Bright, Writing Through War: Narrative Structure and Authority in Christie’s Second World War Novels
Merja Makinen, Taking on Hitler: Agatha Christie’s Wartime Thrillers
J.C. Bernthal, “When She Eats She Will Die”: Informal Meals and Social Change in Sad Cypress and “And Then There Were None”
Julius Green, “A Worrying, Nerve-Wracked World”: Agatha Christie’s Emergence as a Playwright During and after the Second World War
Federica Crescentini, “There are Things One Doesn’t Forget”: The Second World War in “Three Blind Mice” and The Mousetrap
Christopher Yiannitsaros, Displaced Persons: A Murder is Announced and the Condition of Post-War England
Rebecca Mills, Detecting the Blitz: Trauma and Memory in Christie’s Post-War Writings
Roger Dalrymple, “The Thrill When it Suddenly Went Pitch Black!”: Blackout Cultures in A Murder is Announced and The Mousetrap
The book is part of Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature series, and it was Rebecca’s brilliant vision that saw this series as our natural home. As the publishers put it: ‘This series is our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to literary studies, it engages with topics such as philosophy, science, race, gender, film, music, and ecology. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.’
What I am most happy about with this volume is what it says about Agatha Christie scholarship. In 2016, I edited the first edited collection solely focussed on Christie, which was in many ways a statement that her important work had entered some kind of canon. With this, the first themed collection on Christie alone – especially as part of such a visionary and cutting-edge series – we cement Christie’s standing as someone whose scholarly relevance is beyond question; as a writer of multifaceted substance whose significance stretches far beyond the mere fact of her popularity. It’s Christie’s work itself, as well as the phenomenon of her authorship, that is increasingly being highlighted in high quality research. I am thrilled and humbled to be a part of that movement, and could not be happier with Agatha Christie Goes to War.