Tory Historian was reading some of the essays in H. R. F. Keating's splendid collection, Agatha Christie - First Lady of Crime and found a highly entertaining one by Emma Lathen (really two formidable ladies, Mary Jane Latsis and Martha Hennisart). Entitled Cornwallis's Revenge, it analyzes Christie's technique and her extraordinary popularity, especially in the United States. In fact, posits Ms Lathen, it is the return battle of the War of Independence and it has made the outcome somewhat doubtful.

In 1781 Lord Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown and, for all practical purposes, the Revolutionary War was over. The viscount went on to a distinguished career in India, the rebels became preoccupied with the problems of forging a new political state, and the world assumed that British domination over the colonies was at an end. There the matter rested until 1920 which saw the publication of the first American edition of The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Now, fifty-six years later, any detached observer on these shores would have to admit that the second British Expeditionary Force had been considerably more successful than the first. 
Heh! That would be the force led by General Hercule Poirot, ably assisted by Brigadier Jane Marple and Lieutenant-Colonels Battle and Race. I think we might forget about the Beresfords for the time being.


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