Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday's Forgotten Books: The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to AGATHA CHRISTIE Edited by Dick Riley and Pam McAllister

This anthology published in 1979, is a good accompaniment to your Christie mysteries, most especially if you're the type that can't get enough Christie lore. THE BEDSIDE, BATHTUB & ARMCHAIR COMPANION to AGATHA CHRISTIE is chock full of short pieces about Christie, her books and the movies. It has plenty of black and white photos of the book covers, scenes from some of the films, photos of Christie herself and a color section featuring a few of the movie posters. There is even a Hercule Poirot Double-Crostic (looks like a crossword puzzle). The book also  has assorted short essays on various Christie related topics, for instance:

It's Not a Play, It's An Institution - THE MOUSETRAP.

Margaret Rutherford, THE UNIVERSAL AUNT.


Out Of The Top Drawer Or, How They Dressed - Subtleties of the all-encompassing dress code that governed Christie's characters.

The Making of Witness for the Prosecution - In which Marlene Dietrich's pants leg gets ripped up the seam and the cast and crew sign The Secrecy Pledge.

None of it is meant, I think, to be scholarly serious and there is plenty of info about the books themselves, not to worry. I like the pix of scenes from some of the films best. There's nothing here that is startlingly new - even at the time of publication - but it is a fun compilation to add to your Agatha Christie book shelf.

Note: My copy is actually from 1979 and has the old ugly black cover. The cover shown above is a much nicer one.


  1. I had this book as a teen. Along with MURDER INK and MURDERESS INK and other related mystery "reference" books. There were a lot of Christie ones released in the late 1970s following the renewed interest in her just after her death in 1975 or so. There was the Agatha Christie Chronology by Nancy Blue Wynn. (I still remember the author's name!) I remember my friend and I found loads of errors in that. And there was an Agatha Christie Quiz Book, too. I was addicted to that. I doubt I could answer many of those questions any more. But back then I knew the plots as well as my brother knew the player stats for the Yankees. A fun book to pore over.

  2. John: My ex gave this to me many MANY years ago. It's pretty beaten up from me frisking the pages. Though most of the stuff in there I mostly knew or know. Still, as you say, it's a fun book. Looks like it may have been re-issued. I have the Agatha Christie Chronology too. But I don't bother with it anymore.

  3. I have the 2001 paperback version (which has the cover illustration you used). I think that is revised from the 1979 edition. I hadn't looked at it for a while, so back it goes into the TBR stack.

    Let me recommend another Christie reference which I have found invaluable - Mark Campbell's "Agatha Christie" in the Pocket Essential Literature series. It's a slim, small paperback listing ALL of Christie's writings, nicely organized. Want to find out what stories were in a given collection? When that Poirot short story or non-series thriller appeared? You'll find it here. It's still in print, I believe.

  4. Les: You have the 'good' cover. :)

    I will look for that title, Les, it sounds like something I need to add to my collection. Actually, I hardly realized I had so many Christie-related books.

    Most of the Christie paperbacks I owned have falled apart unfortunately, so I cut off the 'keeper' covers and though it broke my heart, threw the remaining mass of loose pages away. Now I mostly own the stories in several thick anthologies. It's still more fun to read my few remaining paperbacks though. My copy of SECRET OF CHIMNEYS is held together with a rubber band! :)

  5. I have this and all of the other mystery and Christie books mentioned by commenters, but haven't looked at any of them in ages. Time to pull them out.

  6. I love the name of the book and for an Agatha fan it sounds like just the thing!

  7. Richard: It's always nice to check the old bookshelves and pull out books you haven't looked at in a while. I do this every now and then. You just never know what you're going to find. :)


Your comment will appear after I take a look.