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Murder Mystery Most Gothic

Let me introduce you to my very first literary mentor. Oh, we never met. No wonder. We lived worlds apart. I'm sure she would have been astonished to know one of her biggest fans was a little Black girl in south Louisiana who wanted to write murder mysteries because of her.

She was an English woman born into a wealthy family in 1890. She was elderly by the time I was born, a poor kid living in a section of Baton Rouge called the Boulevard Bottom. I read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd when I was ten years old. I decided to become an author. I already loved storytelling and books, but that novel made me want to write my own mysteries. Honestly I had no idea who this author was, except that in my world she was a fiction writing goddess! I promptly went on a reading binge, whipping through her novels at a crazy pace. My mother and father were amazed (and frankly alarmed) at how I inhaled her short books within days of getting one from a used bookstore. My permanent love affair with mystery fiction was cemented.

Dame Agatha Christie, some say she invented the modern whodunit. I agree most emphatically.

I just watched Endless Night, an ITV production done in 2013 based on her novel of the same name. Wow. A touch of the Gothic. Hints of the supernatural. And of course murder most deliciously foul. Julia McKenzie is one of several amazing actresses who have played the marvelous Miss Jane Marple. If you love a good mystery, especially Agatha Christie at her usual best, then watch and be awed at the twists. Five stars, two thumbs up, and a hearty "Bravo!" (psst - you might have guessed I'm not objective about Dame Christie).

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