For my Letter Essay, I wanted to focus on Murder On The Links, by Agatha Christie. Over the years I have been recommended books by Agatha Christie and I have always wanted to read her books. The book I really want to read is Murder On The Orient Express but it has always been not available in the library, so I decided to read this book. It is a 272-page mystery book about a man named Hercule Poirot who goes to see his client, but when he arrives he discovers his client is dead; brutally stabbed to death. The question is who killed him, and why? Poirot then stays to assist the investigation. It is a murder mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time while I was reading it.
Agatha Christie is a world-renowned mystery writer. She wrote over 66 mystery novels in her time and is widely known as the “Queen of Crime” for her thrilling, mind-puzzling mysteries. One of her most famous novels is And Then There Were None which has sold over 100 million copies. She has received awards such as The Grand Master Award and The Edgar Award for her books. She is also credited for writing the longest running play, The Mousetrap. Multiple Tv Shows and Movies have been made about her books, most recently the Box Office, Murder On The Orient Express with very famous actors and actresses Leslie Odom Jr. and Josh Gad. Needless to say, her reputation has lasted much longer than her 85 years. Her legacy will last as one of the best mystery writers of all times, and it is well deserved.
Agatha Christie is so well known, but she is admired the most for her descriptions and development. The way that she builds her characters is so good. You find yourself being more invested in the characters more than the storyline, at some points. Poirot, the main character, is this Belgian private investigator, was built as a self-confident, well-groomed man with a very particular mustache.“Height, five feet four inches, an egg-shaped head carried a little to one side, eyes that shone green when he was excited, stiff military mustache, air of dignity immense!” said Christie in Murder on the Links. This description is so delicately crafted and super intriguing. You can visually imagine him there. A short man with his head cocked to one side and immensely prideful. She said that she often took inspiration from the people who she observed around her. Poirot appeared in around 33 of Christie’s books and every book builds him. In my opinion, Christie’s decision to have Poirot be a reoccurring character is one of her best decisions. It is a good constant in her writing. Even though the books and storylines are different, the fact the Poirot is in the story provides this background knowledge. It makes you feel like you already know a piece of the story. It’s easier to read because you can skip the getting to know part with the characters, and focus on the complexity of the storyline. Also, when you know a character, you are better able to empathize and predict what their actions would be. This is another point where Agatha Christie succeeds with her characters. Because you know them so well, you can predict their actions, but once you think you have figured out the characters she will throw in a detail that stuns you, which keeps you more invested. She is very good at making you believe you have the full picture to then surprise you by adding a detail that throws off the way the story is going. That is a key element when writing mystery, and you can tell when reading her books, she has mastered that art.
After I finished the book, I realized how layered the story actually was. My favorite part was when Poirot focuses on a smashed clock that is ahead two hours. Giraud, another French detective, looks down on this. He says that it is insignificant, that you should focus on the wife amongst other things. This dispute about Poirot’s ways happened quite often between the two. Giraud believed that his old-fashioned manor would not help the case and that is was nonsense. After reading it, I wanted to see what others thought of this relationship. I stumbled on a site that is dedicated to Christie’s work, and they had an article called “Notes on Murder On the Links.” The person who wrote this said, “Personally it is not so much about the disputes which are intriguing but what lie underneath: a metaphor to the relationship between two neighboring countries in the aftermath of the First World War.” Upon reading this, I didn’t understand why Christie would do this. But I looked up the date it was published and it was in 1923. That was five years after the end of World War I. That is most likely the amount of time it took her to write this. The fact that she had two countries, Belgium and France opposing each other in this manner made sense the more I had researched. Belgium and Luxembourg were neutral countries during the war. Germany seized control of these two countries in order to get closer to France to then take it over quicker and easier. Belgium had a port that was essential and could not be taken over by the German. Germany then used Belgium to attack the french which pushed Britain into the war. You could see why there would be resentment. Belgium’s neutrality made it easier for Germany to invade which then to attacks on France. This was a perfect way to set up tension in the plot line. Two countries displayed in two people. France upset with the ways of Belgium and how it would never get them anywhere. I am not sure if this was intentional, but if so it was perfectly placed in the story.
I think the way Christie sets up her murder stories is spectacular. She took high society people and put them in bad situations. High society people are constantly depicted as closed off, suspicious of lower class, and very gaudy with money while still being very opposed to outsiders. They are the perfect people to put in murder situations because they are secretive. “The sons of rich men are proverbially wild.” is a quote from the book. This quote is saying the sons of rich men are constantly the same. It is a constant tale that the sons of rich men are wild that it can be a proverb. The ways of the wealthy are always the same is the preface of which she sets most of her plot lines on, but then she switches it. She makes it so predictable that it is unpredictable. This is one of the main things I like about this book, that it so predictable but somehow you could never predict it.
My favorite quote from the book was,
“Your idea of a woman is someone who gets on a chair and shrieks if she sees a mouse. That’s all prehistoric.”
This quote describes a situation between Hastings, Hercule Poirot’s peer and his exciting love who was named “Cinderella.” hastings describes that his ideal woman is one who is traditionally feminine. Cinderella then challenges him with this. She challenged him by saying that his ways were unevolved and dull, and used his own ways against him. She explains the way he thinks and then refutes it. It was a perfect way to describe old and new. Often times in history, you see that there are change makers and change refuters. Change refuters are the ones who stand back and scoff at the change makers. They are so comfortable with the way the world is that they shame whoever may think it should be different. What is ironic is that Hasting said his idea of woman was just so, but he fell for someone who challenged every mold he said women have to fit into. This was very clever and really stuck with me. When you are presented with a new way of thinking, at first you are defensive, but then you start to realize that that way of thinking that you shamed, is the very way of thinking that you find most alluring. It is a very interesting topic that isn’t portrayed often enough.
I would rate this book a 7 or 8 out of 10. A very good book that I highly recommend.
7 thoughts on “Letter Essay #6 Isabel Petron”
you had a lot of detail it was really well written good job!!
I loved all the detail that you included in your letter essay and this book seems really interesting. i would love to read it sometime! You used really great vocab to describe the book like “alluring”. Overall great job!
I enjoyed reading your letter essay a lot. I like how you explained what you liked about the story and the author. I think that you put a lot of thought and work into your piece, which made it very interesting to read. I especially loved the quote you included at the end!
You make this book sound very interesting. I love suspense and mystery in movies so I’m sure I would enjoy this story as well. You mention about all the layers you realize the book has, that’s what I think makes a story especially great. It creates excitement for the reader to figure things out. It’s cool that the book made you think differently at the end.
Great letter-essay, and I’m glad you are reading the work of such well-regarded writers; it’s only going to make you a better writer. That, and doing what Agatha Christie did, which you mention with this line: “She said that she often took inspiration from the people who she observed around her.” Like I’ve said, great writers are always storing away ideas for their writing by observing – closely – the people around them, watching how they move, listening to how they talk. Do those things, and read great writing, and you’ll be a great writer someday.
I really enjoyed your letter essay . I can tell you really enjoyed your book and your letter essay was very well thought out and I can see the time and effort you put into it. Your quotes and text evidence is amazing. I learned a lot from your facts about the author section and I enjoyed your personal opinions on the murder. This seems like a very good book I might just read. Well done!
– Ava Lambo
I believe that your perspective on the novel Murder On The Links is very intuitive. After taking a glance at you summary and getting a general idea of the plot, I read your thinking. I noticed how deep you got, and how you presented your thoughts to the reader. For example I noticed your in-depth analyzation of the craft Christie used to write her books and I loved how you used the words, “The ways of the wealth are always the same in the preface of which she sets most of her plot line on, the switches it.” I thought this statement was very intelligent. Keep up the excellent work!