From an early Hercule Poirot mystery comes this hilarious quote:
“[…] said Inspector Davis. ‘There’s not going to be much mystery about this crime. Take a look at the hilt of that dagger.’
“I took the look.
“’I dare say they’re not apparent to you, but I can see them clearly enough.’ He lowered his voice. ‘Fingerprints!’
“He stood off a few steps to judge of his effect.
“’Yes,’ I said midly. ‘I guessed that.’
“I do not see why I should be supposed to be totally devoid of intelligence. After all, I read detective stories, and the newspapers, and am a man of quite average ability. If there had been toe marks on the dagger handle, now, that would have been quite a different thing. I would then have registered any amount of surprise and awe.
“I think the inspector was annoyed with me for declining to get thrilled.”
– Doctor Sheppard in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
I’m reading Agatha Christie in English for the first time, and it’s a hoot! Not only are her mysteries top notch, her language is a delight. My (admittely hazy) memories don’t measure up to what I’m seeing now; I don’t know whether it just didn’t translate well or whether I was too young to understand. I’m discovering so much dry humor to irony to outright satire that I’m pretty much snickering my way through the novels.
Christie, Agatha. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. New York, NY: Black Dog & Leventhal, [2006, orig. published 1926], p. 73.
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