Murder, She Wrote

How did Agatha Christie, who considered “married woman” her occupation, become the world’s most popular novelist ever?

01 October 2011

WE ALL KNOW THE FEELING. Maybe the schoolhouse resembled a prison. Or the village bully was the true reincarnation of Al Capone. Then you return, 30 years older, and the school is a squat, nondescript building. The bully works at the local supermarket. As a cleaning lady, perhaps.

The same usually goes for books. I still recall spending a sleepless night as a 14-year-old after reading Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. But could she grab my attention at 40? After all, I’ve heard that in countries like France even grownup intellectuals read Christie.

The Francophone comic book publishing industry—often tapping into a talent pool of Belgian artists—made global household names of Tintin (by Georges ‘Hergé’ Rémi, a Belgian), Lucky Luke (created by another Belgian, Maurice de Bévère) and Spirou (by André Franquin, yet another Belgian). The popularity of such characters broke ground for major developments in graphic storytelling by the likes of Mœbius/Gir and Gotlib, who transformed cartoons into art. Today, the graphic novels that get talked about around the world, such as Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, are usually originally published in French. So it isn’t surprising that an initiative to adapt the British crime queen’s wicked stories to colourful graphic novels is a French one.

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    Zac O’Yeah is the author of the forthcoming detective novel Once Upon A Time In Scandinavistan. He has translated Indian writers such as Pankaj Mishra and Bankim Chandra Chatterjee into Swedish.

    Keywords: French Agatha Christie graphic novel comics crime novel murder mystery biography crime writer Zac O'Yeah