Agatha Christie? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: The brilliant mystery writer Agatha Christie is one of the most popular authors in history. Apparently, she once stated that the plots for her books were constructed and refined while she was pursuing quotidian activities such as washing dishes, bathing, eating apples, and walking. Would you please help me to find citations?
Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in a column by Laurena Pringle in “The Detroit Free Press” in March 1954. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1
Writer Agatha Christie suggests that the best time to plan a book is while you’re washing the dishes.
The evidence above was weak because it was not a direct quotation. Stronger direct evidence appeared in an interview with Christie printed in “The New York Times” in 1966: 2
How do you concoct whodunits that have rolled up world sales of 300-million copies? Ask Agatha Christie.
“Walking or just washing up, a tedious process,” replied the Queen of Mystery. “Years ago I got my plots in the tub, the old-fashioned, rim kind — just sitting there thinking, undisturbed, and lining the rim with apple cores.”
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order. Continue reading
- 1954 March 7, Detroit Free Press, Have You Heard: Day Campers Will Learn To Ride Rails by Laurena Pringle, Quote Page B11, Column 1, Detroit, Michigan. (Newspapers_com) ↩
- 1966 October 27, New York Times, Quiet Murders Suit Miss Christie: Visiting Writer Still Prefers to Keep Crime in Family by Howard Thompson, Quote Page 57, Column 1, New York. (ProQuest) ↩