‘Tale engineering’: Agatha Christie and the aftermath of the Second World War

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Abstract

The ‘golden age’ of clue-puzzle detective fiction is usually considered to end in 1939 with the outbreak of the Second World War. Yet Agatha Christie, the most high-profile and successful exponent of the form, continued to produce bestselling novels until her death in 1976. This essay examines three novels from the immediate postwar period to consider how she adapted her writing to negotiate a changing world and evolving fashions in genre fiction. Engaging with grief, demobilisation, gender, citizenship and the new fears of the atomic age, Christie proves unexpectedly attentive to the anxieties of a new modernity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-199
Number of pages21
JournalLiterature and History
Volume29
Issue number2
Early online date19 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Agatha Christie
  • Crime fiction
  • Second World War
  • Postwar
  • Cold War
  • Gender

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