Thanks to glee’s recommendation, I just finished reading Agatha Christie’s “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.” Immediately afterwards, I launched into Pierre Bayard’s “Who Killed Roger Ackroyd.” a disquisition of Hercule Poirot’s solution to the murder in question.
Christie (through Hercule, of course) identifies a certain character in her book as the murderer of rich Roger Ackroyd. Bayard begs to differ. I will not divulge the culprit - either Christie’s or Bayard’s, in fact.
And, I am not here to argue the logical merits of either side, only to point out how much clearer M. Bayard (a French psychotherapist) expresses his thoughts, compared to the word-challenged, would-be author, Dame Christie.
For example, on page 83 of his book, Bayard says, “This implicit assumption, evident in Freudian detective investigations, leads inevitably to thinking of interpretation as a subsidiary of hermeneutics, that major form of the production of meaning that continues to weigh heavily upon psychoanalysis and its system of representations.
On page 95 of her book, Agatha, on a grade 4 level, writes: “The theory was received in polite silence.”
On that same page 83, M. Bayard opines, “Choosing the detective mystery as a model is a decisive choice in literature and art that privileges an aesthetic domain in which meaning is largely unambiguous.” See how smoothly Bayard pens his elegant, almost sonorous thoughts, that flow from your retina into your psyche to paint a picture as lucid and full of light as Vermeer’s “View of Delft”?
Going back to page 95 in Ms Christie’s opus, she writes, “Poirot shook his head.” What on earth is she saying? Where is the Bayardian imagery in all this?
While Monsieur Bayard waxes eloquent with…
“The detective model discourages a second reading because along with the clue, it imposes a dual conception of the sign, which is situated to produce a single meaning: that latent truth concealed by overt signs which the investigation will finally bring to light.”
…Agatha can only offer a labored, “The lawyer shrugged his shoulders.”
My conclusion (which, I’m sure is the same as yours): Agatha Christie will never amount to anything in the literary world. Poor woman has no style, no class. But this Bayard guy is the new star in the sky. Write it down.