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

Book Reviews & Awards

“Detailed…efficiently written and well researched”—Mystery Scene