Topics for Further Study
Agatha Christie's plays and novels are often set in the English countryside and take place in an indeterminate time. This gives them a sort of timeless quality that keeps the plots and characters from appearing dated and, perhaps, accounts for her continued popularity. Discuss the importance of setting, place, and time in respect to Christie's work. Do you think that this timelessness adds to the complexity of the puzzle that readers and audiences must solve?
Critics appear to be divided on Christie's appeal as a feminist. Some think her female characters intelligent and resourceful, while others think that Christie relies on stereotypes that present women as dependent on men, consumed with their appearance, and unable to think beyond how to attract a man. Examine how the women in The Mousetrap respond to both criticisms.
After the war, much of England and almost all of London lay in ruins, and a huge effort at rebuilding the country was undertaken. Research this period and comment on whether you agree with some critics who think that the popularity of The Mousetrap derives from the need of a populace to escape into entertainment. If you think this is the case, how then, do you account for the play's popularity nearly fifty years later?
The mystery genre is said to date from Edgar Allan Poe, but some critics credit Christie with having had the greatest influence on the genre's development. Research Christie's influence on other mystery writers and decide for yourself if this credit is deserved.