post war poirot

JS88JS88 Peterborough Investigator
Hello. I am reading the Poirot novels in order of publication and have just finished After the Funeral. I have noticed a lot more of what you might call social commentary in these post war novels, but it seems she puts opinions, both conservative and progressive, in the mouths of characters we are not supposed to particularly admire. Do we know if she was sitting on the fence for commercial reasons or did she have a healthy contempt for all politics, especially after WWII?

Comments

  • P_LombardP_Lombard ✭✭✭
    If I remember correctly, in three different novels (Sparkling Cyanide, Passenger to Frankfurt, and maybe One, Two, Buckle My Shoe), Christie expresses a similar summary of England's three political parties. Here is how she puts it in Sparkling Cyanide: "Though by predilection a Liberal, Stephen realized that for the moment, at least, the Liberal Party was dead. He joined the ranks of the Labour Party. [...] But the Labour Party did not satisfy Stephen. He found it less open to new ideas, more hidebound by tradition than its great and powerful rival. The Conservatives, on the other hand, were on the lookout for promising young talent" (57). This passage shows Christie's contempt for the Labour Party that is present in most of her work. Stephen's commitment to the Conservative Party seems halfhearted at best. Christie also seems to halfheartedly support the Conservatives (but not for the opportunistic reasons that Stephen supports them). Instead, she seems to support them for lack of a better alternative.

    Warning: Spoilers for One, Two, Buckle My Shoe
    I think the conclusion to One, Two, Buckle My Shoe is an important indicator of Christie's political beliefs. At the end of this novel, the Conservative politician is the murderer and appeals to Poirot on the grounds that if he is arrested, the country will be ruined. Poirot does not let him get away with his crime and instead, tells the young people that the world is theirs and to try to make it a kinder world. Poirot is not optimistic about the world these young people will create, but he recognizes that change will and must come. I think this conclusion sums up Christie's attitudes towards change. She recognizes that change is necessary, but she does not like many of the changes she is living through. So, her books express her ambivalence towards change. This ambivalence, I think, leads to the combination of progressive and conservative views that you observed in her post-World War II books.
  • P_Lombard said:
    Warning: Spoilers for One, Two, Buckle My Shoe
    I think the conclusion to One, Two, Buckle My Shoe is an important indicator of Christie's political beliefs. At the end of this novel, the Conservative politician is the murderer and appeals to Poirot on the grounds that if he is arrested, the country will be ruined. Poirot does not let him get away with his crime and instead, tells the young people that the world is theirs and to try to make it a kinder world. Poirot is not optimistic about the world these young people will create, but he recognizes that change will and must come. I think this conclusion sums up Christie's attitudes towards change. She recognizes that change is necessary, but she does not like many of the changes she is living through. So, her books express her ambivalence towards change. This ambivalence, I think, leads to the combination of progressive and conservative views that you observed in her post-World War II books.
    She expresses the idea of change throughout much of her later books during the 60's period, and most often displays her disapproval. The Miss Marple book At Bertram's Hotel perfectly expresses the idea of the past, the future, and change. Regardless of whether one likes or dislikes change, it MUST happen; things don't stay the same. Even when you read The Mirror Crack'd From Side To Side, the arrival of supermarkets is an evident mark of change, small general stores are disappearing and on their way out. 


    “People in the dark are quite different, aren’t they?”  ― A Murder Is Announced 
  • taliavishay-arbeltaliavishay-arbel ✭✭✭✭
    Actually, the idea of change in society appears in the Miss Marple books in the first book after the war - A Murder is Announced. In chapter 10 sub-chapter 4, MM talks about the fact that since the war it is difficult to know who people are - before the war, people stayed at their homes, and if they moved, they usually knew someone in the new place, or came with a letter of recommendation from a mutual friend, so people knew who they were. However, after the war people moved around more, and could pretend to a character and background that was difficult to check on. 
  • JS88JS88 Peterborough Investigator
    P Lombard, i think you probably have it right. But I do get the sense that Christie was aware that, as a person of an older generation by the post war period, she knew that it was inevitable she would not like change. In fact gaining a window into that between the wars period was one of the things that I enjoyed when first reading her work. Not that I think it was actually realism, but it must be a reflection of the world, more or less, as it was perceived at the time (the big 4 excluded).
  • Luke Luke ✭✭✭
    I remember in 4:50 from Paddington, where the bombing is mentioned, i think its interesting that she noted it. I don't know about political statements by characters as I will have to spot those when I read them. Also I don't know how political AC was in her own life. I suppose 
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