From the book jacket:
Robert Barnard, himself a crime writer and professor of English literature, has brought insight and sound judgement to his study of Agatha Christie's books. He examines the qualities that made them, as every one knows, the third-best-selling books in the world after the Bible and Shakespeare. He discusses her thrillers and especially her crime novels - those "intellectual puzzles of a certain rarefied kind." There is an analysis of her masterful solutions, of her stratagems of deception, including her ability to divert the reader's attention from the matter of real importance, and of her skill in making the clues relate to the reader's own experience. Here, too, is a look at the criticisms of the Christie novels - among them, of her writing style and, in her very early books, of remarks showing personal prejusices. Mr. Barnard makes these understandable as he places Christie firmly in her own social class and time. There is an indelpth suudy of three Christie novels and of her detective characters.
The up-to-date list of all Agatha Christie's works - including novels written under the pseudonmy Mary Westmacott, short stories, plays made from her books - has been compiled.
Stimulating and informative, "A Talent to Decieve" is a pleasure to read, a book that will be welcomed not only by Christie fans, but by anyone interested in suspense fiction.
Essay on Agatha Christie's body of work, with many references to her books.