Agatha Christie? Hercule Poirot? John Jortin? Maria Edgeworth? Richard Lovell? Letitia Elizabeth Landon? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: Creativity and inventiveness are wonderful attributes, but an overly imaginative person is prone to self-deception. Here is a cogent adage:
Imagination is a good servant, but a bad master.
This saying as been attributed to the famous English mystery author Agatha Christie. Would you please explore this topic?
Quote Investigator: Agatha Christie published “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” in 1920. The main character, detective Hercule Poirot, used the expression while conversing with a friend who had made an incorrect deduction. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:1920, The Mysterious Affair at Styles: A Detective Story by Agatha Christie, Chapter 5: “It Isn’t Strychnine, Is It?” Quote Page 116, John Lane, The Bodley Head, London. (Google Books Full … Continue reading
“I must confess that the conclusions I drew from those few scribbled words were quite erroneous.”
“You gave too much rein to your imagination. Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master. The simplest explanation is always the most likely.”
Interestingly, Agatha Christie did not craft this adage. It has been circulating for a few hundred years.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
Continue reading Imagination Is a Good Servant, But a Bad Master