“[…] I only regret one thing—making my detective a Finn. I don’t really know anything about Finns and I’m always getting letters from Finland pointing out something impossible that he’s said or done. They seem to read detective stories a good deal in Finland. I suppose it’s the long winters with no daylight.”
– author Mrs. Oliver in Agatha Christie’s Cards on the Table
This excerpt comes from a Hercule Poirot novel. It’s a page-long burst by an imaginary author who doesn’t really care about getting certain details wrong, for example when one would use a dictograph vs. phonograph. That, of course, leads to feedback from more knowledgeable readers.
Being a Finn, I guffawed! Finns are busy readers indeed these days; it may already have been the case back in the 1930s as well.
(But, good grief, way to insult Romanians and Bulgarians, Christie! There’s a lot of interest in Christie’s writing, but on the other hand a lot of it hasn’t aged well, especially the racism and bigotry.)
Christie, Agatha. Cards on the Table. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2011 , p. 66.
Image by Eppu Jensen
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