Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Man Who Craved Christie

Recently, following a funeral service for my wife’s uncle, I found myself in the basement/library room of the Pennsylvania house that he had shared with his wife, also deceased. While other family members were gathered upstairs, I took a moment to glance over the titles that lined those shelves. Among other things, I discovered a number of paperback mysteries, including a host of Agatha Christies, circa 1960s. While there are, of course, a multitude of Christie editions out in the world, I always find myself gravitating towards those paperbacks that I read as a teen-ager (mostly Dells, Bantams & Pocket Books.) Back then, I logged close to 40 titles and, to this day, I remember every cover. Those editions passed from my hands not long after I hit my twenties, but I’ve periodically acquired versions of them from used book stores. And now, a good number of those very editions were here on Herb and Molly’s shelves! I knew that their daughter would eventually be selling the house, and that she’d be purging, in various ways, its contents. But still, it seemed a little Dickensian to be coveting the effects of a man who’d just been put to rest. You know, like that creepy trio of cockneys in A Christmas Carol who’ve snatched Scrooge’s bed curtains and whatnot. I sure didn’t want to be a creepy cockney. (Whoa now, I’m not saying that all cockneys are creepy, only the curtain-snatching variety.) Anyway, I consulted with my wife, who said it wouldn’t hurt to ask—and it truly didn’t. After hearing of my enthusiasm for those books, Herb’s daughter was more than happy to pass them on to someone who’d appreciate them. So, therein lies the lesson of this little tale: it never hurts to express honest enthusiasm—even at the risk of appearing Dickensian. And when my time comes—a century or so down the line—please feel free to come raid my bookshelves…. 

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  1. Was there a house in the 1970s that didn't have a copy of CURTAIN?

  2. love hearing about your mysteries....check out my blog, which has become a welcome outlet for my random and obsessive thoughts about food and life.