Thursday, July 7, 2011

Doyle and Christie

I have been reading stories of Hercule Poirot by Agata Christie for a month now. The volume has 51 stories. I am done with 31. There are few observations to make. In most of her Hercule Poirot stories, Captain Hastings is always an admirer of women. Here is one of descriptions:
"In another minute one of the most charming girls I have ever seen was ushered into the room.  She was perhaps about five-and-twenty, with big brown eyes and a perfect figure. She was well dressed and perfectly composed in manner." - from the story: The Million Dollar Bond Robbery
 And another one:
"'Mrs. Robinson did not seem to notice anything amiss. Very curious. is it not? Did she impress you as being a truthful woman, Hastings?', Poirot remarked.
'She was a delightful creature!', I said
'That's evident! since she renders you incapable of replying to my questions. Describe her to me then'
'Well, she is tall and fair, her hair's really beautiful shade of auburn - blue eyes and a very nice complexion and - well, that's all, I think', I concluded lamely" - from the story: The Adventure of the Cheap Flat
In Sir A. Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, Holmes and Watson admire women in rather different ways. Here is a famous example:
"To Sherlock Holmes, she was always the woman..... In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind..... They were admirable things for the observer - excellent for drawing the veil from men's motives and actions. But for the trained reasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results..... And yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory" - from the story: A Scandal in Bohemia
Do you notice the difference between the two great writers? Women's appearances are better described  in Poirot's stories as compared to that of Holmes's stories. And, you will also find women will be in leading roles in most of Christie's tales, but its quite the opposite in Doyle's stories; men are in leading roles!

Talking about the stories, Doyle more convincingly describes the science of deductions and motives as compared to Christie. When you end up reading stories of Hercule Poirot, they are good, but you are forced to believe the facts, although at the back of your mind, you wonder - something is missing/wrong here! But, when you read stories of Sherlock Holmes, you feel you should remember these stories for the entire lifetime. The plots are complex enough to twist your mind and the way mysteries are solved is simply superb. Christie introduces too many characters which I find difficult to keep track of them and in some of her novels, the plot circles round the same thing and does not proceed further. In the meantime, I wonder what the plot was! I am sorry to all Agatha Christie lovers, but this is what I have felt. The bottom line is: if you want to be a flirt, read Christie's stories, otherwise read Doyle's stories if it is intelligence that absorbs you. I won't forget to mention few classics like, A Scandal in Bohemia, The Adventure of Dancing Men, The Man with a Twisted Lip, The Adventure of Second Stain, The Speckled Band and The Hound Of Baskervilles, which I consider are masterpieces by Doyle.

Let me remind you Doyle & Christie are not contemporaries. I believe the originality of a person or the power of thinking independently dies when you try to copy the work which is already done in a more beautiful fashion. All Christie did was she created a new Sherlock Holmes by a different name: Hercule Poirot. You can also find characters of Dr Watson, Inspector Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson mapped similarly in Poirot's stories. In Christie's autobiography, she admits these facts saying that when she was creating Poirot, she also wanted all the characters which were similar to those in Sherlock Holmes stories.

I don't know whether I am going to finish reading this volume because I am really bored with the stories. I am not finding it interesting anymore. Its going nowhere. So, which one's next?