Jun 20, 2012

The brilliance of Agatha Christie

Did you know that the secret behind Agatha Christie’s whodunits was that she wrote the last chapter in a book first and then went back to the beginning and wrote the rest of the story? This allowed her to carefully maneuver the plot and work out all the kinks in the story for the perfect ending. One could never figure out which character was the villain, the murderer or the thief until the very last paragraph.

Agatha Christie was a great mystery writer. Her books had her stamp on it because the characters were all carefully crafted and every detail meant something. Together with Hercule Poirot, the two of them were unstoppable. For this writer Agatha Christie was the master manipulator when it came to a twisted plot and the master with trick endings. Ten Little Indians is a good example.

In the book a host invites ten guests to dinner. As the dinner proceeds the guests die one by one during the night. When it came to the 10th guest remaining, it was obvious that HE was the killer. But, no! The 10th guest died also. The killer was the one who died first and hid in the house until all nine were dead.

Towards the end of her life she wrote the following quote: “I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming that comes when you finish the life of the emotions and of personal relations; and suddenly find - at the age of fifty, say - that a whole new life has opened before you, filled with things you can think about, study, or read about...It is as if a fresh sap of ideas and thoughts was rising in you."

Agatha Christie’s books have been translated into more than 56 languages and are still sending shivers down readers’ spines. Writing first under the pseudonym of Mary Westmacott she also wrote plays, and The Mousetrap already had 23,000 shows since its first performance in 1952. As she became ill with dementia she wrote in “An Autobiography” in 1977: "I live now on borrowed time, waiting in the anteroom for the summons that will inevitably come. And then - I go on to the next thing, whatever it is. One doesn't luckily have to bother about that."

I have always looked upon the old English writer as a whodunit sort of girl with a fist full of old detective ideas, but from reading her quotes I got a real glimpse of the writer and got to know more. As the lady says herself, she “specializes in murders of quiet, domestic interest.” Nothing can be truer.


Handling triplets in their first year

Handling three babies at once, all the same age, just minutes apart, is a huge undertaking and can also be bewildering for a new mom. One moment you are on the bed pushing, and the next moment three screaming babies are in your arms. Hopefully, in your heart you are prepared and not left your baby shopping for the last minute. The following will make things easier for you:

• Do your baby shopping months before you are due as you will have to purchase and set up three cribs, three car seats, and three walkers where the infants can bounce up and down after they have been fed. You will also have to set up an activity center for when they are starting to crawl. You need not do this until they are about six months old.

• Buy enough sleepers and blankets and gowns as this is what the babies will wear for the first few months of their life. Also have enough fitted sheets for the cribs.

• Prepare 90 formula bottles at the same time and keep them in the fridge for emergency situations. Preparing these many bottles at one time saves you minutes which are precious when three hungry babies are all ready to feed.

• If you have not dried up yet and have milk in both breasts, you can feed two of the babies at the same time while the other one is still asleep. You will soon get into a sleeping and feeding routine and be able to plan a bit better.

• Don’t be put off by off by others from using a pacifier when you need it from time to time. If you have one baby on your lap and trying to feed another, you don’t want a third baby screaming if a pacifier will soothe him for the two minutes he has to wait for his turn. Remember, babies are like programmed little beings; they get used to feeding times and routine and go off like clockwork at the right time.

• Three babies mean a lot of laundry and a lot of diapers. If you have a washing machine you only have to put the dirty clothes in the machine and switch a button and afterwards fold the clothes while they are still warm. If you don’t have a machine you can wash it all yourself or have a diaper service which delivers to you. It is not easy to handle three babies as a new mom, but we all do it. You get strength from somewhere and intuitively know that you will survive.