True Crime Parallels to the Mysteries of Agatha Christie

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About the Book

Outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare, the works of Agatha Christie stand as some of the most celebrated crime fiction of our era. This book takes ten of her most famous works and shows their relationship to ten of crime history’s most famous and sensational cases—cases whose notoriety still resounds to this day.
Addressing both novels and short stories, the author illuminates the relationship between Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and the sensational Lindbergh Kidnapping Case of 1932; the connections between Christie’s Mrs. McGinty’s Dead and the horrific true case of England’s most loathed wife-killer, the American Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen—and eight more engrossing pairings of Christie’s ingenious mystery puzzles with vintage true crime’s most sensational events.

About the Author(s)

Anne Powers is a professor and faculty librarian at a two-year California college. She lives in Santa Monica.

Bibliographic Details

Anne Powers
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 206
Bibliographic Info: appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7946-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3768-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Preface 1
Introduction 5
1. “The Rugeley Poisoner”: Dr. William Palmer and The Mysterious Affair at Styles 9
Dr. William Palmer 9
The Mysterious Affair at Styles 14
Dr. William Palmer + The Mysterious Affair at Styles 23
2. “La Femme Fatale”: Madame Marguerite Steinheil and The Murder on the Links 29
Madame Marguerite Steinheil 29
The Murder on the Links 44
Madame Marguerite Steinheil + The Murder on the Links 49
3. “Dope Girl”: The Case of Billie Carleton and “The Affair at the Victory Ball” 59
The Case of Billie Carleton 59
“The Affair at the Victory Ball” 68
The Case of Billie Carleton + “The Affair at the Victory Ball” 69
Postscript 71
4. “The Crime of the Century”: The Case of the Lindbergh Kidnapping and Murder on the Orient Express 74
The Case of the Lindbergh Kidnapping 74
Murder on the Orient Express 81
The Case of the Lindbergh Kidnapping + Murder on the Orient Express 84
5. “The Kidwelly Mystery”: Harold Greenwood and “The Lernean Hydra” 89
Harold Greenwood 89
“The Lernean Hydra” 100
Harold Greenwood + “The Lernean Hydra” 102
Postscript 105
6. “An Outbreak of Sadism”: The Case of Dennis O’Neill and “Three Blind Mice” 107
The Case of Dennis O’Neill 107
“Three Blind Mice” 111
The Case of Dennis O’Neill + “Three Blind Mice” 114
7. The “Little Man”: Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen and Mrs. McGinty’s Dead 121
Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen 121
Mrs. McGinty’s Dead 127
Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen + Mrs. McGinty’s Dead 131
8. The “Balham Mystery”: The Case of Charles Bravo and Ordeal by Innocence 136
The Case of Charles Bravo 136
Ordeal by Innocence 140
The Case of Charles Bravo + Ordeal by Innocence 143
9. “Poor Little Rich Girl”: The Life of Gene Tierney and The Mirror Crack’d 150
The Life of Gene Tierney 150
The Mirror Crack’d 157
The Life of Gene Tierney + The Mirror Crack’d 161
10. The “Brides in the Bath” Murderer: George Joseph Smith and A Caribbean Mystery 170
George Joseph Smith 170
A Caribbean Mystery 174
George Joseph Smith + A Caribbean Mystery 177
Postscript 183
Appendix A: Christie Chronology of Mystery Novels and Story Collections 185
Appendix B: Alphabetical List of Christie Mystery Novels and Story Collections 188
Works Cited 191
Index 195