Monday, December 26, 2022

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie (1890―1976) is the preeminent mystery writer of the twentieth century. She is especially known for her 66 detective novels ― particularly those featuring either of her two famous sleuths: Miss Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot. She is the best-selling fiction writer of all time. In 1971 she was made a Dame (DBE) by Queen Elizabeth II.

Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap is the world’s longest running play. It opened in London's West End in 1952 and ran uninterrupted until a hiatus of just over a year was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The play then re-opened on 17 May 2021, and continues to be performed.

She was a life-long member of the Church of England who regularly attended church. Her Christian faith often makes subtle entrances into her novels: Miss Marple is often heard quoting the Bible, and her world includes Vicars and other clergy. The crimes and the solving of the mysteries in her novels can be seen as evidence of Christie’s view of original sin, the triumph of Good over Evil, and her Biblical view of morality.

The following poem appeared in her book Star Over Bethlehem: and other stories (1965, Collins). This book consists of five poems and six short stories ― all of which are unapologetically about Christian faith.

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

Gold, frankincense and myrrh ... As Mary stands
Beside the Cross, those are the words that beat
Upon her brain, and make her clench her hands,
On Calvary, in noonday’s burning heat.
Gold, frankincense and myrrh. The Magi kneel
By simple shepherds all agog with joy,
And Angels praising God who doth reveal,
His love for men in Christ, the new born Boy.

Where now the incense? Where the kingly gold?
For Jesus only bitter myrrh and woe.
No kingly figure hangs here—just a son
In pain and dying ... How shall Mary know
That with his sigh “’Tis finished,” all is told;
Then—in that moment—Christ’s reign has begun?

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the author of five poetry collections including Angelicus (2021, Cascade) ― a book of poems written from the point-of-view of angels. His books are available through Wipf & Stock.