This is not a review – just notes on a couple of curiosities.

It is perhaps worth noting that Christie begins this book with a classic
Sherlock Holmes spoof. Supposedly written, like several other early
Christies, by Hastings the book opens ‘The memory of the public is short.
Already the intense interest and excitement aroused by the murder of George Alfred St Vincent Marsh, fourth Baron Edgware, is a thing past and
forgotten. Newer sensations have taken its place’. We might compare Doyle’s  The adventure of the Noble Bachelor which opens ‘The Lord St Simon marriage and its curious termination, have long ceased to be a subject of interest in those exalted circles in which the unfortunate bridegroom moves. Fresh scandals have eclipsed it..’. Watson/Hastings go on to talk about how the truth has never been revealed and how Holmes/Poirot’s role was obscured.

Christie inserts a further Doyle reference and in-joke later in the book.
As is well known Doyle made frequent use of references to various cases in
which Holmes was involved but which were never ‘recorded’. In Lord Edgware Dies Christie has Poirot cease his investigations into the current case, much to Hastings’ chagrin, and investigate ‘the strange disappearance of an Ambassador’s boot’. Poirot reveals to Hastings that he has solved the case ‘It was a case of cocaine smuggling. Very ingenious. For the last hour I
have been in a ladies’ Beauty Parlour’. But Christie had previously written
a story of a case exactly answering this description – however it involved
not Poirot but Tommy and Tuppence and appears as the short story The
Ambassador’s Boots
in the collection Partners in Crime (published 4 years
before Lord Edgware Dies; so the joke both continues the Doyle spoof and is
also at Christie’s own expense – Partners in Crime itself is partly a
series of spoofs/pastiches. Early Christies are often, in addition to
everything else, well laced with humour.

(June 2007)

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