After the Funeral
Five Little Pigs
I admire Christie greatly, and for a variety of different reasons. The thing that I both admire and envy the most about her work is the way that she was able to create plots that were impossible to predict. I am a fan of the television adaptations as well, although some of the more recent ones have irritated me, especially when the scriptwriters change fundamental parts of the plot such as the killer, as they did in Cards on the Table. Anyway this is about her skill as a writer, not my personal gripes.
The thing that has stuck with me the most, when I think about After the Funeral, and Five Little Pigs, the two books of hers that I reread quite often, is that she was able to give us views into different characters’ heads, without taking it to 1st person, so that we are still able to get the detective’s perspective as well.
After the Funeral revolves unsurprisingly, given the title, around the events after a funeral has taken place. The youngest sister of the deceased, is a rather eccentric elderly woman who makes some unusual claims at the reading of the will, and then the next day is found dead by her live in companion. The mystery- that I was unable to unravel when I first read the book- is whether the claims that she made were true ones, and who would dislike her enough to kill her. The most interesting character in my opinion, is that of the live in companion. She appears servile and humble, but Christie allows us to see throughout the course of the plot, that even the most humble and seemingly content person can have dreams buried deep within them.
Five Little Pigs on the other hand, involves the efforts of a orphaned girl, attempting to discover what happened to her parents once she comes of age. She remembers that her mother was convicted of killing her father, after putting up with numerous affairs, but her mother left a letter claiming that she had been innocent. Their daughter hires Poirot, in a attempt to discover the truth before she marries, as she is concerned that if her mother was indeed responsible for killing her father, that the violent streak might be hereditary.
I am attempting to write different perspectives for the novel that I currently am working on, and it’s given me a entirely new appreciation of just how skilled she actually was. Each point of view within Five little Pigs, relates strongly to the childhood rhyme about the pigs going to market, and I could sense the shift in perspective each time the new character was introduced. Christie builds the picture of what might have happened on that day, through the distorted memories of the five adults who were present: the governess, the mother’s sister, the woman that her father had his last affair with, and a pair of brothers Philip and Meredith Blake.