Agatha Christie and the Mystery of Shyness

Proceedings of The 6th International Conference on New Findings on Humanities and Social Sciences

Year: 2021


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Agatha Christie and the Mystery of Shyness

Dr. Madhumita Roy



Agatha Christie, the “queen of crime” of the golden age detective fiction and an immensely popular writer of the “whodunit,” was an intensely shy and private person in her real life. Among the several anecdotes about her shyness, the one where she almost failed to attend a party in her honour at The Savoy Hotel in London after being refused entry by the security guard remains a classic. However, did shyness have any impact on her ever-popular novels? Since the advent of New Criticism and the subsequent rise of poststructuralist approaches in literary criticism, the literary text has been largely considered autonomous of the author’s influence.  In this article, I take an approach of considering Agatha Christie as a biohistorical figure whose literary output has been influenced by the affect of shyness—the implications of it evident in the characterization of the two main detectives, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, and the clever, bloodless murders found in her novels in abundance. In relation to Agatha Christie’s novels, this article would also investigate shyness as an analytical category that provides insight into the twentieth century social practices of the genteel society.

Keywords: Detective fiction, Golden Age, Agatha Christie, Shyness.