And Then There was One


I discovered Agatha Christie pretty  late in life. My childhood was  full of Enid Blytons, and teen years  dedicated to a couple of Nancy Drews  and then reading Sidney Sheldon in  hiding. My first grown-up book was  Jeffrey Archer’s As the Crow Flies, gifted  by a cousin sister at 16. As I went to  college and studied literature, I delved  into the world of Rabindranath Tagore,  Geoffrey Chaucer, Ismat Chugtai,  Christina Rosetti, Robert Browning,  Vijay Tendulkar and Christopher  Marlowe, among others. Becoming a  journalist introduced me to the joys of  non-fiction and history, and I became  a big fan of MJ Akbar and William  Dalrymple.

I read my first Agatha Christie the  summer I turned 24. It was a book  called Death on the Nile, a tale about  love and what humans can do for it.  Simon meets his lover Jacqueline’s  best friend Linnet, who is a rich heiress.  Simon leaves Jacqueline and marries  Linnet. Jacqueline, wrought with  jealousy, follows them around like a  crazed ex-lover. Linnet is found dead  on a cruise with a bullet in her head.  Detective Hercule Poirot is summoned.  It was Simon who killed Linnet, it  turns out, with Jacqueline helping him  plot to kill her best friend. It was all an  act. The tragedy: Jacqueline kills both  herself and Simon when the crime is  revealed. Three people dead, thanks to  that thing we call love. I was hooked.

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