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Book review: <i>The Witness For The Prosecution And Other Stories</i> by Agatha Christie

Far more satisfying than my last Agatha Christie experience; this collection of short stories, originally published in 1948 (obviously seven years did wonders for her), delves into the supernatural, the mysterious, the psychological, the criminal, and the downright strange.

The story

The Witness For The Prosecution And Other Stories contains eleven stories in total, the first one of course being The Witness For The Prosecution itself, which is very famous and has been turned into a movie and a television remake and a play, which isn't bad for a twenty four page story! It's a well accepted theory that writing short stories is damn hard, but obviously Agatha Christie is cut out for it - she doesn't waste words, she intimates without clumsy foreshadowing, and most importantly, she has a little twist. Most of the stories in this collection have some psychological or supernatural element, which is also interesting. One of them even contains Poirot. Reading this, you can see why people think she's great.

The style

Dry, British wit... with a hint of all that is proper and old fashioned. It may have been cutting edge at the time, but now, it has an element of the quaint. Don't let this turn you off... While Agatha Christie may not quite be on par with Roald Dahl as one of the great English short story writers in the twentieth century, she still knows what she's doing, and each story maintains your interest to the end. She also has that talent for suggestion... even at the end, you still don't know the WHOLE story, so it keeps you thinking about it afterwards. For example, Agatha Christie's ending to The Witness For The Prosecution is far more interesting and ambiguous than the end of the movie. The end of the story leaves you going only on the word of Romaine, and wondering... and THAT is a good story.

Who is this book for?

Fans of Agatha Christie should appreciate this collection. They are a testament to her ability as a writer. Also, once again, for someone who wants to pass the time with an easy read... not too much time, this should only take a couple of hours to read, tops. Good for public transport, bus stops, and queuing.

If you like this book, you would also like...

If you are a fan of short stories, Roald Dahl is the first name that springs to mind... collections like Switch Bitch and Kiss Kiss. Decent short story writers are hard to find. I'm sure there are some others whose names are currently escaping me...

In short

Title: The Witness For The Prosecution And Other Stories
Author: Agatha Christie
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 0425068099
Year published: 1984
Pages: 230
Genre(s): Detective fiction, Short Stories
Review Type: