Agatha Christie

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Does "The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor" by Agatha Christie exhibit classic detective story qualities?

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"The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor" does possess qualities and characteristics of the classic detective story.

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"The Tragedy at Marson Manor" does possess traditional elements of a detective story, which include the following.

  1. A seemingly perfect crime: In "The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor," Mrs. Maltravers almost achieves her goal of ridding herself of her elderly husband while securing some financial security for herself. Since she'd only...

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  1. married him for his money, his recent financial decline leaves her desperate for an escape from the union. She is given a brilliant idea through one of Captain Black's stories at dinner and determines that she can murder her husband and the evidence will be almost completely invisible. Indeed, the doctor who examines the body believes that Mr. Maltravers died from a gastric ulcer. Mrs. Maltravers concocts a nearly perfect murder scheme.
  2. The wrongly accused suspect: In this case, the "wrongly accused" would be Mr. Maltravers himself. The investigation initially points to the likely conclusion that Mr. Maltravers had committed suicide. It appears that he recognized his own financial shortcomings and was hoping to secure life insurance money for his beloved (and much younger) wife.
  3. The bungling of dim-witted police: Hastings serves as the "dim-witted" investigator of this story. Poirot must constantly explain how the truth is being revealed through the investigation as Hastings just can't seem to reach those conclusions himself. When they play the word association game with Captain Black, Poirot concludes by asking, "You see it all, do you not?" Hastings definitely does not reach his own insights through this task. Later after Mr. Everett makes an appearance as the supposed ghostly form of Mr. Maltravers, Poirot has to explain each step of the plan he's concocted and then clarify the evidence that has thus manifested. He is frustrated with the inability of Hastings to recognize the truth, asking, "You did not observe them, Hastings? No? As I always tell you, you see nothing!"
  4. The superior mind of the detective: Poirot proves himself capable to see the flaws in statements and to observe even the smallest details. For example, he notes the "little discrepancy" between the doctor's claim that Mr. Maltravers was a Christian Scientist, which could only have been shared with him by Mrs. Maltravers, and Mrs. Maltravers's claim that her husband was "in a grave state of apprehension about his own health."
  5. The startling denouement which reveals the identity of the culprit: Certainly the theatrical ending, complete with an actor who has been dressed to look like the ghost of the deceased, provides a "startling" denouement. Mrs. Maltravers, of course, is convinced that the ghostly being haunting her is her dead husband, and she becomes so terrified that she confesses to the murder.
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