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.