Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In which we meet Hercule Poirot

For this month's Agatha Christie blog carnival, I thought I'd quote passages from The Mysterious Affair at Styles (published in 1920), in which Hercule Poirot makes his first appearance in the world of literature.

The book also introduces Arthur Hastings who will go on to work with Mr. Poirot. The very first mention of Poirot comes when Hastings is saying he would like to be a detective someday.

I came across a man in Belgium once, a very famous detective, and he quite inflamed me. He was a marvellous little fellow. He used to say that all good detective work was a mere matter of method. My system is based on his - though of course I have progressed rather further. He was a funny little man, a great dandy, but wonderfully clever.

Soon after, Hastings runs into Poirot in the door of the post office. After pleasantries have been exchanged, Poirot says:

It is by the charity of that good Mrs. Inglethorp that I am here. ... Yes, my friend, she had kindly extended hospitality to seven of my country-people who, alas, are refugees from their native land. We Belgians will always remember her with gratitude.

Then Agatha Christie goes on to describe the great detective.

Poirot was an extraordinary looking little man. [the third time he has been described as 'little' and the book has just begun] He was hardly more than five feet, four inches, but carried himself with great dignity. His head was exactly the shape of an egg, and he always perched it a little on one side. His moustache was very stiff and military. The neatness of his attire was almost incredible, I believe a speck of dust would have caused him more pain than a bullet wound. Yet this quaint dandyfied little man [again!] who, I was sorry to see, now limped badly, had been in his time one of the most celebrated members of the Belgian police. As a detective, his flair had been extraordinary, and he had achieved triumphs by unravelling some of the most baffling cases of the day.

16 comments:

  1. You're making me want to go and read about Hercule again. I did used to love that series.

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  2. I had my own vision of Poirot until David Suchet played him in a TV series here in the UK. Now, whenever I come across Poirot all I can see is David Suchet. He fit the bill rally well.

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  3. Kay, I love everything I've read so far.

    Scriptor S. - David S. is so very perfect. It amazes me how some actors are almost born for a role - John Thaw as Morse, David Jason as Frost, Laurie and Fry as Bertie and Jeeves. There are so many that I could do a whole blog entry. :<)

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  4. I've stopped by for a visit...LOVE your sheep!

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  5. A nice post just for Poirot. I too have my own vision of him that doesn't exactly match any of the actors I've seen play him. To me he is very lean in both body and his lean, egg-shaped head.

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  6. They obviously didn't habe height restrictions in the Belgian police!

    I liked the sheep, too.

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  7. Margot, I really think Suchet is perfect. I picture him constantly while I read. :<)

    Geranium Cat, do police have height requirements??

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  8. Such wonderful description - I love this line "I believe a speck of dust would have caused him more pain than a bullet wound." :)

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  9. Nan! You won a bookmark over at MyPorch. Email me with your mailing address. onmyporch (at) hotmail (dot) com

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  10. Island Sparrow, isn't that just so perfect?!

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  11. I sadly have not read (1) McCall Smith book. Those who have seem to love this author. What is my problem? LOL

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  12. Diane, I'll bet I haven't read 3/4 of the books I read about on blogs. :<) I've come across some people who don't care for one, or even any, of the AMS series, and I love them. It's all personal taste.

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  13. I have read other books by AMS and will look for this series. I am tired of reading just about gardening...well, not tired but it is time for something different.

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  14. Layanee, I just love it. It's funny what you wrote because I was just today thinking it is time to read something about gardening! :<)

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