. . . Building upon her predecessors, she [Agatha Christie] ushered in an era during which the detective story came to be regarded as a puzzle, pure and complex, in which interest in the final fate of the participating characters was increasingly viewed as not only undesirable but unnecessary.
She consistently laid her facts scrupulously on the line but precious few readers ever guessed the outcome.
Her characters are not so utterly fantastic that they are completely unrecognizable. Who are your neighbors really? Who is that guy reading this over your shoulder?
Grief is out of place. So is horror. So is fear. She creates first-class escape; the puzzle is the thing.
. . . Not wishing to go the way of all imitated, Dame Agatha has written two novels—one killing off Poirot, the other, Miss Marple. Both reside in the Dodd, Mead vault for the present . . . — O. L. Bailey, "On the Docket," THE SATURDAY REVIEW (January 6, 1973)
Category: Detective fiction