Tag: Crime

Why We Love Agatha Christie, the Queen of Mystery

If there’s one writer that any fan of mystery or crime has read, it’s the one and only Agatha Christie. The creator of the red herring has written at least seventy-two books, some featuring recurring and popular characters like Hercule Poirot, the detective with an unforgettable mustache. Yet surprisingly, Christie kept much of her personal life as mysterious as her novels. In celebration of her 129th birthday, let’s look at some of the reasons why we love the Queen of Mystery.

 

1. Hercule Poirot was based on a real person

 

Image result for hercule poirot murder on the orient express

image by the federalist

 

Hercule Poirot, the detective from Murder on the Orient Express, might seem like an odd fellow and he was just as odd in real life. Christie based Poirot off a Belgian man that she spotted on a bus in the early 1910s. The man had a memorable style of facial hair and an interesting expression that stuck with Christie long enough for her to write thirty-nine books featuring the character.

 

2. those she didn’t like became victims in her books

 

Image result for murder in mesopotamia

image by flickr.com

 

If you got on Agatha Christie’s bad side, you might end up as a victim in her books. For instance, Agatha Christie’s husband archaeologist Max Mallowan worked with an archeologist named Sir Leonard Woolley. Woolley’s wife didn’t like Christie and forced her to stay off the digging site so Mallowan had to visit her by train every day. Shortly after the incident, Christie composed Murder in Mesopotamia, in which an archeology field director’s wife was killed by bludgeoning. She even dedicated the book to the Woolleys.

 

3. she dabbled in romance

 

image by the blank garden

 

The Queen of Mystery could also write romance when she so desired. In 1930, she began writing under the pen name of Mary Westmacott. She wrote six fairly successful romance novels: Giant’s Bread, Unfinished Portrait, Absent in the Spring, The Rose and the Yew Tree, A Daughter’s a Daughter and The Burden. Christie wrote her famous mystery novels and romance novels simultaneously—a woman of good balance. In her autobiography, she said that Absent in the Spring was “the picture of a woman with a complete image of herself, of what she was, but about which she was completely mistaken. Through her own actions, her own feelings and thoughts, this would be revealed to the reader.” So not only was she mysterious, Christie was a strong female who wrote the stories of other strong females in her fiction.

 

4. She was against violence

 

Strychnine sulphate in a poison bottle

 

Agatha Christie’s murder technique of choice is often poison or her victim getting hit on the head. She avoids violent methods of murder when possible, rarely involving a gun. Hercule Poirot is also a pacifist who doesn’t carry a gun, and bystanders to crimes never shoot the attacker but may tackle him to the ground instead.

 

5. she was prone to sudden disappearances

 

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image by anomalien

 

For ten days in 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared from her home in London. Her sudden vanishing made the newspapers, and police found her abandoned car an hour away from London. Police had to hunt for her on foot and eventually found her listening to a band at a hotel. Christie never mentioned why she had disappeared, but there are plenty of theories ranging from her need to escape her home life, a bout of amnesia, or even an attempt to boost sales.

 

6. she was dared to become a novelist

 

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image by thoughtco.

 

Agatha Christie’s older sister Madge dared Christie, an avid reader and writer, to try writing her own novel. Clearly Christie took that dare to the extreme. Christie’s first novel was The Mysterious Affair at Styles, written during World War I. It was accepted by John Lane in 1920 after being rejected by six publishing companies. Christie was certainly determined and talented enough to become a writer, and us readers are totally grateful for her perseverance.

 

Featured image by Goalcast

Continue Your Bookshelf Expansion with Our Nonfiction Picks of the Week!

 

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks are bestsellers, and showcase what’s resonating with audiences right now! Pick these up to see what everyone is talking about!

 

 

Image via Amazon

5. The edge of every day by Marin Sardy 

The Edge of Every Day by Marin Sardy is a memoir-in-essays book about her mother’s and brother’s struggles with schizophrenia. Their stories contrast each other: the mother remaining undiagnosed while her brother did receive treatment but unfortunately committed suicide. Sardy offers no easy answers but instead shines a spotlight on the gray areas of showcasing struggles with mental health and how the system often fails those who do. She crafts something incredibly moving and although painful, it is a must read.

 

 

Image Via Amazon

4. High Heel by Summer Brennan

High Heel by Summer Brennan is a book about, well, you guessed it: high heels. But this is more than a fashion guide, and combines beautiful prose and insightful analysis to create a unique work of text that interrogates gender, fashion, and history. Brennan’s book challenges the reader to think about what a high heel truly is: painful and empowering, beautiful and restrictive, to create a complicated narrative that showcases heels in all their glory.

 

 

image via Amazon

3. Too much is not enough by Andrew Rannells

Too Much Is Not Enough by Andrew Rannells takes us on the journey of a twenty-something-year-old hungry to experience everything New York has to offer: new friends, wild nights, great art, standing ovations. At the heart of his hunger lies a powerful drive to reconcile the boy he was when he left Omaha with the man he desperately wants to be. As Rannells fumbles his way towards the Great White Way, he also shares the drama of failed auditions and behind-the-curtain romances, the heartbreak of losing his father at the height of his struggle, and the exhilaration of making his Broadway debut in Hairspray at the age of twenty-six. Along the way, he learns that you never really leave your past—or your family—behind; that the most painful, and perversely motivating jobs are the ones you almost get; and that sometimes the most memorable nights with friends are marked not by the trendy club you danced at but by the recap over diner food afterward.

 

 

image via Amazon

2. Me Elton John by Elton John

Me Elton John by the iconic singer tells the story of his drama filled, rocky, and yet uplifting life, chronicling his early days as a young boy who grew up in London and dreams of being a pop star. From there, the autobiography details his early singing gigs, the motivations behind his outlandish outfits, to his life spiraling out of control when he hit it big, his suicide attempt, and his recovery that led him to create music for Broadway. The autobiography isn’t just about Elton John’s fascinating life but the road to success, getting clean, and finding love in the simplest things even when you’re the loudest voice on stage.

 

 

Image via Amazon

1. Notorious San Francisco by Paul Drexler 

Notorious San Francisco by Paul Drexler is a collection of true stories detailing the darkness beneath San Francisco’s idyllic streets. From serial killers, to organized crime, and bank robberies, this collection has it all, appealing to fans of true crime, noir, and good old fashioned murder thrillers, but with the added excitement that these crimes really happened. Most of these unusual cases are largely unknown and have never appeared in book form. Included are cases that are still unsolved today, including the mysterious tale of the Zodiac Killer, complete with a new analysis and a startling new theory on the murder.

 

Featured Image Via Amazon 

 

Two Dark Fantasy Duologies to Binge This Weekend

No plans this weekend? Not the type to go outside? We can relate. Make the best of the weekend for real by binging these duologies. Nothing says relaxation like high stakes magic.

 

Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom

 

Image via Amazon

 

I love a good heist, and this is better than most. Set in the lush universe popularized by Shadow and Bone, this follow up stands on its own legs, and is a great entry to the series. Meet the Dregs, a bunch of street urchin weirdos with just the right skills to pull off an impossible heist in the heart of a hostile state. The characters are so real that you feel you could bump into them on the street, the plot is meticulously executed, and the magic is both grounded and vibrant. It’ll be your new fave.

 

 

The Orphan Queen & The Mirror King

 

Image via Amazon

 

Revolution, dictatorships, secret identities, and a magic system so brutal and so inescapable it shakes the very ground on which the world is built. All the threats feel close, pressing. The characters are multidimensional, living, complex. This is a deeply alarming pair of novels, but despite the dark plot points, the writing is light and compulsively readable. These are entertaining books, and frequently very funny. If you like seeing sense prevail, and survival against dire odds, dive into this truly original world.

 

 

Featured image via ZippyPixels

Inspirational Quotes to Celebrate David Baldacci’s Birthday!

David Baldacci is a bestselling American novelist, who has currently published 38 novels and sold over 130 million books worldwide. His novels are generally true crime/detective stories such as Absolute PowerThe Innocent, Split Second, The Camel Cluband True Blue, but he’s also also published young adult novels! His books have been translated internationally into 45 different languages and, in addition to his popular writing, Baldacci is a devoted philanthropist who supports adult literacy across America.

Today is Baldacci’s birthday and we’re going to celebrate it by sharing these quotes straight from this acclaimed author’s writing!

Image via Amazon 

 

  1. “Why can’t people just sit and read books and be nice to each other?” – The Camel Club. 

2. “Today might not be so good. But tomorrow, you get another chance to get it right.” Absolute Power.

3. “The human spirit was the strongest medicine on earth. And sometimes all it needed was a little encouragement to pull off a miracle.” – The Forgotten.

4. “You know what kind of person it takes to run for President? Not normal. They could start out okay, but by the time they reach that level they’ve sold their soul to the devil so many times and stomped the guts out of enough people that they are definitely not like you and me, not even close.” – Absolute Power. 

Image Via Amazon

5. “As my father wrote, one’s courage, hope, and spirit can be severely tried by the happenstance of life. But as I learned on this Virginia mountain, so long as one never loses faith, it is impossible to ever truly be alone.” – Wish You Well.

6. “But if you don’t know where you want to go, I suppose any path will get you there.” – The Finisher.

7. “It’s not the beginning or the destination that counts. It’s the ride in between.” – The Christmas Train.

Image Via Amazon

8. “Because life doesn’t work that way. You can do everything perfectly. Do everything you think you’re supposed to be doing. Fulfill every expectation that other people may have. And you still won’t get the results you think you deserve. Life is crazy and maddening and often makes no sense.” – One Summer.

9. “Depending on the situation, sometimes you can know a person better in ten minutes than someone you have crossed paths with all your life.” – The Simple Truth. 

10. “Time doesn’t really heal, it just makes you not to give a crap.” – Split Second.

 

What are some of your favorite Baldacci novels? Tell us in the comments and don’t forget to wish “Happy birthday!” to this fabulous author!

Featured Image Via Wikipedia

The 2019 ITW Thriller Award Winners Have Been Announced

International Thriller Writers (ITW) is proud to announce the most thrilling authors of 2019. The winners of this year’s ITW Thriller Awards are:

BEST HARDCOVER NOVEL
Jennifer Hillier — JAR OF HEARTS (Minotaur Books)

BEST FIRST NOVEL
C. J. Tudor — THE CHALK MAN (Crown)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL
Jane Harper — THE LOST MAN (Pan Macmillan Australia)

 

Images Via Amazon and Penguin Random House

BEST SHORT STORY
Helen Smith — “Nana” in KILLER WOMEN: CRIME CLUB ANTHOLOGY #2 (Killer Women Ltd.)

BEST E-BOOK ORIGINAL NOVEL
Alan Orloff — PRAY FOR THE INNOCENT (Kindle Press)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
Teri Bailey Black — GIRL AT THE GRAVE (Tor Teen)

 

Images Via Amazon

Also receiving special recognition:

John Sandford, ThrillerMaster
In recognition of his legendary career and outstanding contributions to the thriller genre.

Harlan Coben, Silver Bullet Award

“Mystery Mike” Bursaw, ThrillerFan Award

Margaret Marbury, Thriller Legend Award

 

John Sandford, Harlan Coben, Margaret Marbury, Mystery Mike Bursaw | Images Via Amazon, Penguin Random House, The Strand

 

There’s only one event where you can find New York Times best-selling authors lurking around every single corner, literary agents actually appearing in broad daylight and fans openly plotting and conspiring with the most feared and revered names of the thriller genre. We hope that you join us in 2020 for ThrillerFest XV, the International Thriller Writers’ fifteenth annual celebration of all things Thriller, the largest event of its kind in the world.  The highlight of the festival is the gala ITW Thriller Awards Banquet during which a fresh batch of authors will be announced as the chosen heroes of suspense.www.thrillerfest.com