Page 45 Review by Stephen
This ticks all the boxes for me - the boxes in the 'No' column.
Oh, apart from the art whose lines are neat and tidy and ever so full of space, which conjures every country visited to perfection, and whose warm colours positively radiate with heat in the desert. So that's a considerable achievement I shouldn't have dismissed in the first line.
There's no denying that Agatha Christie was a terrific writer with a full and fascinating life, and Poirot as a co-star driving her potty is a fabulous conceit. It grows repetitive and tired pretty swiftly, but it's a fabulous conceit. And, if cramming for an exam, you want a condensed history of Agatha Christie with some pretty pictures to help the medicine go down, this wouldn't be out of place in any Primary school library. Secondary, at a push.
But as a comic, it's one long, insultingly clunky, two-dimensional, expository mess.
The first page is fair enough: London 7th December 1926 on which the papers report that Aggie's gone AWOL and we're presented with six panels summarising public and private reaction, finishing on her husband's interrogation as prime suspect by the police. Haha! Serves the unfaithful fucker right.
But by page two it had lost me. I seriously doubt any Home Secretary would bark, "This is no ordinary woman. She's a novelist! We must find her, no matter the cost!"
Everything about that sentence annoys me. However, what really got my goat was being buried under a mountain of stilted explication. Who talks like this except in a job interview? In a ballroom while dancing hand-in-hand with a lady you've just met...? What a chronic, boastful bore.
"Are you also a good soldier?"
"I passed my entrance exam at the Woolwich Academy and was named second lieutenant in the Royal Artillery in July 1909."
At what time of day?
"I just took the pilot's course in Bristol. I flew solo for the first time on 6 July. Almost 30 minutes all by myself!"
What were the weather conditions? I want specific wind speeds, please, followed by the shipping forecast.
"And I got my certificate from the Royal Aero Club in mid-July flying a Bristol Boxkite. Now I'm waiting to get into the Royal Flying Corps. Shall I see you again?"
Not on your bloody Nelly.
On the very next page she marries him.
There's page after page after page of this unsubtle shoe-horning during the most unlikely or inappropriate circumstances. Here's some idle chit-chat while painting in Syria:
"Is there a link between your detective and Pierre-Achille Poirot, a member of the Morea Expedition, the 19th Century French Army Intervention in Greece that was also a scientific mission?"
"You're very observant, Robin. Indeed, I was inspired by him."
Also, very specific, Robin.
This is worse than an old-skool DC superhero comic:
"Good morning, Master Bruce. You are secretly Batman and I have worked for your family at the Wayne Mansion for 37 years, 6 months and 2 days in the capacity of butler. Your parents are dead, you know."
I think it's time for some lunch. She's raising a glass...
"Dear Monsieur Pigasse, thank you so much for the work you've done for my books in your brilliant imprint Le Masque. French is one of the subtlest and liveliest languages known to man!"
"And may I congratulate you! The Mystery Writers Of America association has just honoured your body of work with its Grand Master Award."
She probably knows that, Pigasse.
Hold on, she's about to go fishing. Do you want to keep that contract or not?
"As a writer, I've often wondered what my place was..."
"Shakespeare's right hand?"