Friday, 7 October 2011
Agatha Christie - India does the Needful
Comic book adaptations of Agatha Christie novels
You'll still find lovely archaic English expressions being used in India, a throwback to its British period. Indian newspapers might describe a crime as a 'dastardly deed', the bus you catch might be called a carriage. Of course, the expressions will disappear as global (American) English muscles its way in. Or maybe not. Wasn't it Malcolm Muggeridge who said the last true Englishman would be an Indian?
Another legacy of the British Raj is the continued popularity of writers from that period, like crime-writer Agatha Christie. When I noticed comic book versions of her work in a bookshop in Jaipur, I pounced.
Originally produced by Euro Books India, and presented to appeal to children, they are now published by HarperCollins with more grown-up covers. I was familiar with the stories, but couldn't pass up the opportunity to see how her novels translate graphically. I scooped up the jolly lot. They're an enjoyable diversion.
I'm sure I had half-a-dozen. Why can I only find three now? Anyway, whenever I see the remaining three it takes me back to Ranthanbore and the lodge I stayed at for a tiger-spotting safari (didn't see one). I'm sitting on the veranda, cold beer and Agatha Christie comic at hand ready for a peaceful read. Just then, monkeys start going berserk on the roof; and out front the local villagers arrive and start to perform an endless song and dance routine, looking for some cash. I have to spend the next hour being the single hominid spectator.
Greenway - Christie's holiday home
Peace aplenty to be found at Greenway in Devon. Greenway was the holiday home of Agatha Christie in the 1950s and is now maintained by the National Trust. It is found on the banks of the river Dart across from Dartmouth. You can catch a boat from Dartmouth to visit - in fact they discourage too many cars, which adds to the tranquil air.
And if you feel inclined, you can actually stay there through National Trust Cottages. You need some luck. It's very popular. Maybe bump-off some of the people who've booked ahead of you? That would make an interesting whodunit. In fact, if you do stay there, it might inspire you to write the next murder mystery to become a blockbuster in India. I'll buy the comic version.
Who's your favourite Miss Marple? Some would swear by Margaret Rutherford, but I'd plump for Dame Joan Hickson. No doubting it though, Rutherford had the best tune.
Might I recommend pootling down to Greenway in a Triumph Stag, Fortnum & Mason 'hamperling' in the boot, with Ron Goodwin's wonderful Murder She Says blasting out of the eight track stereo (windows closed).