Thursday, May 30, 2019

Book Note: Nemesis by Agatha Christie

Christie, Agatha. Nemesis. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1971,

Agatha Christie often has a little bit of Shakespeare in her mystery novels.

For example, click here or here or here!

In the late novel Nemesis, we get a bit more.

I'll give you the Shakespearean foreshadowings—and then I'll warn you when the spoilers start in earnest.

Miss Marple is on a tour of homes and gardens, and she meets up with three ladies who were once awaited with an old friend of hers.

Unfortunately, there's something odd (or, dare I say, weïrd?) about or around the three ladies—who are sisters. Miss Marple can't stop thinking about the three sisters in Russian literature . . . and the three Weïrd Sisters in Macbeth. There's something sinister in Miss Marple's mind about the grouping of three women:

Note: We're about to jump to the end of the novel. This is where the spoilers might properly get started. You have been warned.

Miss Marple reflects on her earlier feelings now that everything has been wrapped up neatly. The part that concerns us starts about two-thirds of the way down the first image below:

Threes can be sinister . . . perhaps like the three parts of Henry VI.

In any case, we have in this instance a more sustained Shakespearean theme than in many of Christie's novels.

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Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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