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Copyright ОАО «ЦКБ «БИБКОМ» & ООО «Aгентство Kнига-Cервис»
УДК 81.2
ББК 802.0
Рекомендовано к изданию редакционно-издательским советом ОмГУ
2 июля 2004 г.
канд. филол. наук, доу ОмА МВД России В.Г. Болотнюк
ст.преподаватель кафедры английского языка ОмГУ А.Г. Мартынова
по работе с книгой
А. Кристи "Избранная детективная проза"
(для студентов языковых специальностей,
изучающих английский язык)
Учебно-методическое пособие по работе с книгой
А. Кристи «Избранная детективная проза» (для студентов
языковых специальностей, изучающих английский язык) /
Сост. С.В. Котлярова, Н.Ю. Цыганкова – Омск: Изд-во
ОмГУ, 2004. – 68 с.
ISBN 5-7779-0498-х
Пособие состоит из пяти частей Warming Up, Agatha Cristie’s
Biography and Literary Career, Study Guide, Final Quiz, Supplementary Reading, которые носят законченный характер и могут быть
использованы либо в полном объеме, либо отдельно.
Аутентичные материалы пособия снабжены разнообразными
упражнениями репродуктивного и продуктивного типа, дотекстовыми и послетекстовыми заданиями творческого характера с выходом в практику перевода с русского языка на английский.
Пособие предназначено для студентов языковых специальностей, изучающих английский язык.
УДК 81.2
ББК 802.0
ISBN 5-7779-0498-х
© Омский госуниверситет, 2004
Copyright ОАО «ЦКБ «БИБКОМ» & ООО «Aгентство Kнига-Cервис»
Предлагаемое пособие по работе с книгой А. Кристи «Избранная детективная проза» предназначено для студентов языковых
специальностей, изучающих английский язык, может быть использовано в рамках аспекта «Домашнее чтение».
Пособие состоит из пяти частей. Цель первой части – подготовить учащихся к работе с прозаическими произведениями детективного жанра. Вторая часть содержит информацию о жизни и
творчестве автора произведений; она завершается проверочным
тестом. Третья часть включает сам материал для домашнего чтения
и разнообразные упражнения к каждому рассказу. Они призваны
обеспечить глубокое понимание текстов и совершенствование речевых навыков говорения. Четвертая часть представляет собой
обобщенный заключительный тест с заданиями на проверку знания
текстов и лексического материала. В пятой части дается приложение с дополнительной информацией о творчестве писательницы,
что способствует более глубокому постижению смысла произведения.
1. What is a Mystery?
Answer the following questions:
• What do you think a mystery should be?
• When you think about mysteries, what comes to mind?
• What is your favorite mystery book, movie, or TV program?
• What do you find suspenseful?
• How did the author make you curious?
• What do you think makes a good mystery?
2. Crime Vocabulary
1) a) Make sure you know the difference between the verbs: steal and
The object of the verb 'steal' is the thing which is taken away, e.g.
they stole my bike, whereas the object of the verb 'rob' is the person
or place from which things are stolen, e.g. I was robbed last night. A
masked man robbed the bank. 'Steal' is irregular: steal, stole, stolen.
b) Put the right form of either 'rob' or 'steal' in the sentences below.
1) Last night an armed gang ___ the post office. They ___ £2000.
2) My handbag ___ at the theatre yesterday.
3) Every year large numbers of banks ___.
4) Jane ___ of the opportunity to stand for president.
2) a) The table below gives the names of some other types of crimes together with their associated verbs and the name of the person who
commits the crimes. Complete the table wherever necessary.
Copyright ОАО «ЦКБ «БИБКОМ» & ООО «Aгентство Kнига-Cервис»
killing someone
stealing something
from a shop
stealing from someone's home
taking something illegally into another
setting fire to something in a criminal
taking a person hostage in exchange for
money or other favours, etc.
to set fire to
b) Look at all the crimes named in this table. Which do you think are
the three most serious and the three least serious?
to accuse someone of a crime: to say someone is guilty
to charge someone with (murder): to bring someone to court
to plead guilty or not guilty: to swear in court that one is guilty or
to defend / prosecute someone in court: to argue for or against
someone in a trial
to pass verdict on an accused person: to decide whether they are
guilty or not
to sentence someone to a punishment: what the judge does after a
verdict of guilty
to acquit an accused person of a charge: to decide in court that
someone is not guilty (the opposite of to convict someone
to fine someone a sum of money: to punish someone by making
them pay
to send someone to prison: to punish someone by putting them in
to release someone from prison / jail: to set someone free after a
prison sentence
to be tried: to have a case judged in court
b) Fill the blanks in the paragraph below with one of the verbs from
One of the two accused men ___ (1) at yesterday's trial. Although
his lawyer ___ (2) him very well, he was still found guilty by the
jury. The judge ___ (3) him to two years in prison. He'll probably
___ (4) after eighteen months. The other accused man was luckier.
He ___ (5) and left the courtroom smiling broadly.
3) a) Here are some more useful verbs connected with crime and law.
Note that many of them have particular prepositions associated with
to commit a crime or an offence: to do something illegal
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4) Match the nouns with their definitions.
1) trial
a. a crime that is being investigated
2) case
b. evidence that shows conclusively whether
something is a fact or not
3) evidence
c. group of twelve citizens who decide whether
the accused is guilty or not
4) proof
d. the legal process in court whereby an accused person is investigated, or tried, and
then found guilty or not guilty
5) verdict
e. a false lead that throws the investigator off
6) judge
f. something that appears to give information
toward solving the crime
7) jury
g. a plea offered by an accused person of not
having been at the scene of crime
8) suspects
h. information used in a court of law to decide
whether the accused is guilty or not
9) witness
i. the decision: guilty or not guilty
10) alibi
j. people who appear to have a motive to have
committed the crime
11) clue
k. the person who leads a trial and decides on
the sentence
12) deduction
l. an investigator or detective
13) red herring
m. person who has personal knowledge about
the crime
14) sleuth
n. collecting the facts and drawing a possible
5) If you commit a crime you may be:
sent to prison
Put these actions in the correct order.
6) Match each punishment with its description:
1. capital punishment
a) a period of time in Jail
2. corporal punishment
b) being made to do specially hard work
3. eviction
while in prison
4. a heavy fine
c) death
5. internment
d) a punishment imposed only if you
6. penal servitude
commit a further crime
7. a prison sentence
e) a large sum of money to pay
8. probation
f) whipping or beating
9. solitary confinement
g) regular meetings with a social worker
10. a suspended sentence h) removing (a person) from a house or
land by law
i) limiting the freedom of movement esp.
for political reasons
j) being imprisoned completely alone
7) Detective Fiction Word Search.
WORDS FOR THE WORD SEARCH: Accuracy Identify Clues
Line-Up Corpse Murder Crime Police Criminal Prison Detective
Proof Embezzlement Puzzles Espionage Sleuth Evidence Slugs
Extortion Sneaky Felons Speed Fiction Suspects Grandlarceny
Tip-off Hostage Victim
Copyright ОАО «ЦКБ «БИБКОМ» & ООО «Aгентство Kнига-Cервис»
8) Follow up:
If possible look at an English language newspaper. List all the words
connected with crime and the law which you can find in it.
Alternatively: consult the website
and note down at least ten more useful legal words and expressions.
Read Agatha Christie’s biography and the text about her literary career
and do the quiz.
3. Discussion
1. Agatha Christie's Biography
Work in small groups and discuss these questions:
1) Do you think punishment is an effective deterrent to crime? If yes,
which kind of punishment do you think is most effective? If not,
how would you prevent crime?
2) Do you think crime is ever justifiable?
Agatha Christie is the world's best-known mystery writer. Her
books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and another billion in over 45 foreign languages. She is outsold only by the
Bible and Shakespeare.
Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller Christie
Mallowan was born on September 15 in 1890
at a house called Ashfield on the outskirts of
Torquay, Devon.
She was the youngest of three children:
brother Monty and sister Madge. Her father
Frederick Alvah Miller was an American and
her mother Clara Boehmer was English.
Their income was said to be derived
"from a business in New York". It was a
business which seemed to flourish without
any personal attention from Frederick. Her father was also a president of
the Tourqay Cricket Club.
On October 20 in 1890 she was baptized in the church All Saints
Church which is about a twenty minute walk from their house.
She received names Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller – Mary after her
grandmother, Clarissa after her mother and Agatha after a suggestion by
a friend on a way to church.
Copyright ОАО «ЦКБ «БИБКОМ» & ООО «Aгентство Kнига-Cервис»
She spent her childhood at Ashfield, an Victorian villa, which she
adored and had a very strong influence on her life.
She didn't go to school but was educated at home. She was a
bright child, who taught herself to read by the age of five. She liked
reading and she also took piano, singing, dancing, tennis lessons.
Then when she was only 11 years old her father died.
At the age of sixteen she was sent to Paris where she studied singing and piano. She considered becoming a professional opera singer but
her voice was not strong
enough. Also she considered
becoming a concert pianist but
her music master told her that
she was too nervous to contemplate playing in public.
Nevertheless she continued to
play privately at Greenway
House and elsewhere.
After finishing school, Agatha spent three months in Egypt with
her mother. When she returned to England in 1912 she met Colonel
Lieutenant Archibald Christie and they married on Christmas Eve in
1914, at the beginning of the war. He went straight off to the war and
Agatha worked in the dispensary of a Red cross hospital in Torquay.
There she learned about chemicals and poisons, which proved very useful to her in her later career.
After long time Archibald returned home and on August 5 in 1919
their daughter Rosalind was born.
Agatha and Archie went in 1922 on a British Empire Exhibition.
They also moved to a house called "Styles" after her first novel.
But the marriage was unhappy. It didn't last because Archie had
fallen in love with another woman and so he asked for a divorce in 1926.
The same year also her mother died. Because of that Agatha went
missing for 11 days and was eventually found in a hotel in Harrogate, in
the North of England under an alias. She vanished after crashing her
Morris motor car. But her disappearance is still a mystery.
In 1928 the divorce was finalized and Archibald Christie then
married Nancy Nelle and died in 1962.
She later found happiness with her
marriage to Max Mallowan on September 11
in 1930, an archaeologist who she met on her
travels in Near East in 1927. She later often
assisted her husband on excavations in Syria
and Iraq.
She later often told: "An archaeologist
is the best husband any woman can have.
The older she gets, the more interested he is
in her."
The Second World War separated
them and Agatha again worked at University College Hospital. During
the world Rosalind, who married Huber deBurgh Prichard and had a son
Mathew in 1943, widowed. She later married Anthony Hicks.
Agatha Christie also became president of the British Detection
Club and in 1971 she was made a Dame of the British Empire. Max also
received a knighthood in 1968 which gave them the titles of Sir Max and
Lady Mallowan – also Dame Agatha Christie.
She and Max had Greenway House in Devonshire and Winterbrook House near Oxford. Towards the end Max and Agatha lived at
Winterbrook House in Wallingford.
She died on 12 January in 1976 and two years later also her second husband Max Mallowan died.
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2. Agatha Christie: the Shape of her Career
Agatha Christie began with a bang, writing one of her best novels,
The Mysterious Affair at Styles, during World War I (1914–1918). It
took some years to get it published, finally appearing in 1920. Styles
introduced her sleuth Hercule Poirot. During 1922–1926, Christie
followed it up with a series of much weaker non-detective books,
adventure and spy novels. Much of best work during this period was in
short stories. She wrote a huge number of Poirot short stories during this
era. She created many new detectives, as well as writing some
outstanding stories without series heroes, such as those collected much
later in The Listerdale Mystery. Also excellent in this period were the
Tommy and Tuppence stories contained in Partners in Crime (1924),
which were made into a delightful British television series in the 1980's,
and the tales featuring Mr. Harley Quin, in The Mysterious Mr. Quin.
Several of Christie's works during this period are experimental in that
they mix fantasy (Mr. Quin), or satire (Tommy and Tuppence) with
detective story elements. Others, such as the tales in The Listerdale
Mystery, are more to be classified as "ingenious tales involving mystery
and adventure" than as pure detective
stories. The greatest achievement of this
period, however, is a pure detective
story, the Poirot novel The Murder of
Roger Ackroyd (1925). This book, a
subtle masterpiece of misdirection,
created as much of a public sensation in
Christie's day as The Crying Game did
in ours. People argued over whether
Christie's surprise solution was fair, a
debate that continues to this day, but no
one doubted her ability to unleash a
stunning surprise on her readers.
Following Ackroyd, Christie embarked on period where she
changed her pace (1927–1931). Her spinster sleuth, Miss Jane Marple,
was the subject of her finest book, the short story collection The Tuesday
Night Club Murders (1927–1932), as well as the novel Murder at the
Vicarage (1930). Readers looking to get acquainted with Agatha
Christie for the first time would be well advised to start here, with The
Tuesday Night Club Murders. The high quality of the stories, combined
with their great variety of approach, make it the perfect introduction to
Christie's world. Christie also brought Hercule Poirot to the stage, in the
play Black Coffee.
During 1934–1941, Christie's writing changed direction again.
She stopped creating so many sleuths, stuck closely to the detective
story proper, and concentrated on detective novels and short stories
featuring Hercule Poirot. These works are the "meat and potatoes" of her
career. They maintain a uniform standard of excellence, and are what
many people fondly think of as a "typical Agatha Christie" novel.
Cleverly plotted, with ingenious solutions that surprise even the astutest
readers, the novels also feature fascinating detective work. Especially
outstanding among the many Poirot novels are The ABC Murders
(1936), Murder for Christmas (1938), and An Overdose of Death (1940).
But most of the 14 Poirot books of this period have virtues. Murder in
Mesopotamia (1936) and Sad Cypress (1940) have ingenious solutions.
Even a relatively "minor" novel like Death in the Clouds (1935) is just
plain fun to read. While "minor" in the body of Christie's work, it would
be considered "major" in the bibliography of most lesser mystery
Christie also created some important non-series works during this
period. And Then There Were None and Easy to Kill (both 1939) are the
best; the former is a virtuoso summing up of Christie's mystery
technique, a "fantasia on detective themes", to modify a phrase of
Arnold Bennett's, and is one of Christie's best books.
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Sometime during the early days of World War II (1939–1945),
Agatha Christie wrote Curtain, intended as a farewell appearance for
Hercule Poirot. It returns Poirot to Styles, scene of his first case, The
Mysterious Affair at Styles. The two books together constitute one of
Christie's high points. As per her instructions, it was not published till
the 1970's.
Christie changed direction again at this point. She wrote fewer
Poirot books. Christie brought back Miss Marple for a long series of
novels, of which the best are the first, The Body in the Library (1942),
and A Murder is Announced (1950). Christie also created an unusual
mystery set in Ancient Egypt, Death Comes as the End (1944). While
just so-so as a mystery plot, it is interesting as a look at daily life in the
distant past.
After World War II ended in 1945, Christie's work generally
suffered a decline in quality. The plots generally became much simpler,
and the storytelling and characterization much less interesting. Her best
post war book was the spy novel They Came To Baghdad (1951). Like
many of her novels, it is set in the contemporary Middle East, where
Agatha Christie lived.
Fewer of Christie's post war books feature Hercule Poirot.
Perhaps significantly, she only brought Poirot back for books that
showed the complex plotting of her prewar works. Some of these are
outstanding, especially Dead Man's Folly (1956), The Clocks (1963),
and Elephants Can Remember (1972). Dead Man's Folly seems linked
thematically to an earlier Poirot novel, Evil Under The Sun (1941). The
two novels somehow seem to form a pair of works in which Agatha
Christie developed similar material, using similar techniques of the
mystery story, and yet came up with books that are interestingly
different. They remind one of Leonardo da Vinci's two versions of the
painting, The Madonna on the Rocks.
Agatha Christie wrote sixty-six Mystery novels, one hundred fifty
eigth short stories, six Romance novels using the pseudonym Mary
Westmacott, one book of children's literature, one two-volume book of
poems, and two non-fiction titles writing as Agatha Christie Mallowan.
She also wrote over a dozen plays including The Mousetrap, which
opened in London on November 25, 1952, and is now the longest
continuously running play in theatrical history.
She is best known for her detective stories, largely centred around
two detectives; the elderly Miss Marple and the pompous Poirot. Apart
from her plots, today it is the period detail of her books that fascinates;
the English village, the spa hotel, the country house and the cruise-ship.
She chronicles a vanished pre-WW2 upper middle class Britain which
enhances the staginess of her characters and plots.
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3. Agatha Christie Quiz
Test your Agatha Christie knowledge by taking this quiz!
1. What's Agatha's full name like?
a) Agatha Maria Clara
b) Agatha Mary Clarissa
c) Agatha Victoria Clarissa
2. What year was Agatha born?
a) 1890
b) 1889
c) 1891
3. How is the house in which Agatha spent her childhood called?
a) Styles
b) Ashfield
c) Greenway House
6. How many novels did Agatha write under the name Mary Westmacott?
a) 5
b) 4
c) 6
7. What's the name of Agatha's first husband?
a) Max
b) Archibald
c) James
8. In which novel did Agatha first introduce Hercule Poirot?
a) The Mysterious Affair at Styles
b) The Murder at the Vicarage
c) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
9. What book was intended as a farewell appearance for Hercule Poirot?
a) The Mysterious Affair at Styles
b) The Body in the Library
c) Curtain
4. What are her parents' names?
a) Frederick & Clara
b) Monty & Madge
c) William & Victoria
10. In which novel did Agatha first introduce Miss Marple?
a) The Murder at the Vicarage
b) Sleeping Murder
c) The Body in the Library
5. What's the title of Agatha's first published novel?
a) Sad Cypress
b) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
c) The Mysterious Affair at Styles
11. What is one of the best novels featuring Miss Marple?
a) A Murder is Announced
b) Death Comes as the End
c) The Clocks
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12. The tales featuring Mr. Harley Quin
a) mix satire with detective story elements.
b) mix fantasy with detective story elements.
c) mix humour with detective story elements.
13. Which Agatha's book created a public sensation?
a) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
b) The Crying Game
c) The Mousetrap
14. Which books are considered to be "typical Agatha Christie" novel?
a) Books featuring Miss Marple
b) Books featuring Hercule Poirot
c) Books featuring Mr. Harley Quin
15. Which of Agatha's plays is also the longest running show in the
a) Black Coffee
b) Spider's Web
c) The Mousetrap
16. How old was Agatha when she died?
a) 85
b) 80
c) 82
1. The Case of the Discontented Husband
Pre-reading tasks
1. Read the title of the story. Why do you think the husband was
discontented? Is it going to be a criminal story? What kind of crime is
going to take place?
2. Make sure you know how to pronounce these words:
discontented, Reginald, sympathetic, descended, inarticulate, pathos,
adore, disastrously, fascinating, relinquishing, temperamentally,
unsuited, vague, exquisitely, Madeleine, conscious, élan, hysterics.
Answer the following questions:
1) What was Mr. Parker Pyne's new client like?
2) What kind of problem did Mr. Wade have?
3) How did he explain his wife's desire to divorce?
4) What did Mr. Parker Pyne suggest his client should do?
5) How did Madeleine de Sara appear at the Wades'? How did
Mrs. Wade and Mrs. Massington judge her?
6) Why did Madeleine say that Mrs. Wade must be proud of her
7) Did Madeleine prefer male or female company? Why?
8) What happened in the rose garden?
9) Why did Mrs. Wade talk of packing up and leaving? Why did she
change her mind?
10) What kind of a tremendous scene did Madeleine speak about?
11) What did Mrs. Wade accuse Madeleine of?
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Why did Mr. Wade come to Mr. Parker Pyne's office again?
Who followed him?
How did Madeleine react to the proposal?
How did Mr. Parker Pyne characterize this case?
smth. (p. 9), merely a matter of business (p. 10), your stock goes up
(p. 11), to do the trick (p. 11), to ask / to have smb. down (p. 13), opulent (p. 14), exquisitely dark curls (p.14), the picture of conscious guilt
(p. 17), to unburden oneself (p. 18), the utmost respect for smb. (p. 19),
to give a wail (p. 23).
Vocabulary and Grammar
1. Find in the text The English equivalents to the following words
and expressions:
молчаливый тип (p. 7), развестись (p. 8), банальное заявление (p. 8),
сочувствовать кому-л. (p. 10), выбрать новую тактику (p. 10), минимальная вероятность (p. 11), убитый горем (p. 13), реплика (p. 14),
побуждать / поощрять кого-л. (p. 16), интеллектуал (-ка) (p. 16),
задумчиво (p. 18), взволнованное / обеспокоенное лицо (p. 19), две
недели (p. 20), назревать / достигать опасного уровня (p. 21),
бракоразводный процесс (p. 22), поверенный / адвокат (p. 22),
видеть кого-л. / что-л. в последний раз (p. 23).
2. Find in the story the synonyms to the following words:
advantage (p. 7), to conclude (p. 7), clear / definite (p. 8), embarrassment
/ confusion (p. 10), hesitatingly (p. 11), unclear / indefinite (p. 13),
immensely (p. 14), extremely (p. 15), to enter (p. 16), mockery /
nonsense (p. 17), to scrutinize (p. 18), to put right / to correct (p. 18), to
plot / to plan (p. 19), to despair (p. 20), new (p. 21), amazement / stupor
(p. 23), bad / immoral (p. 23), to beat / to whip (p. 24).
5. Fill in the gaps using ex. 4:
1) The boy was really ashamed to have skipped the lesson. When he was
talking to the teacher he was ____.
2) They are a wonderful match. She ____ with her husband!
3) Tanya ____ when she saw that her ball had fallen into the river. She
loved it so much!
4) – You mean you are going to the restaurant without me!
– But honey, it’s only a ____. I have to meet my colleagues.
– Oh really! No, I’m ____ your lies! Look at yourself! This ____
of yours doesn’t let me trust you!
– OK, I can ____ them ____ next time if you want to see them!
5) She changed a lot since her school years. The mess of her hair became
____, her clothes were ____, her speech was full of ____. She
evidently did ____ as in the eyes of her former classmates ____ up.
6) The old lady was unquestionably the head of the house and all her
offsprings showed ____ for her.
6. Make up a dialogue using as many words and phrases from ex. 1,
4 as possible.
3. Use ex. 2 to make up the sentences of your own (7-10 sentences).
4. Give Russian equivalents to the following words and expressions
from the text:
sympathetic manner (p. 7), cryptic remarks (p. 7), to see eye to eye with
smb. (p. 8), in a shamefaced manner (p. 9), to get fed up with smb. /
7. Explain the meaning of the following expressions. Reproduce the
situations in which they were used in the story.
To pave the way for smth. (p. 7), rum sort of show (p. 7), to be in a bad
way (p. 8), one's got to play the game (p. 9), to be no good at smth.
(p. 9), to adopt the attitude (p. 9), to be put to (no) trouble (p. 10),
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temperamentally unsuited (p. 11), to be afflicted with (p.12), to get over
smth. (p. 13), to start nervously (p. 14), out of things (p. 14), to get
snapped up (p. 15), not to care a pin (p.17), to put smb. against smb.
(p. 18), to put in a bit of good work (p. 18), rough luck (p. 19), a fresh
bulletin to impart (p. 19), uphill work (p. 20), to dance attendance on
smb. (p. 21), to come out in the open (p. 21), to take (no) notice of smb.
(p. 23), an error of judgement (p. 24).
8. Paraphrase:
1) Though his business trip looked familiarizing its real aim was to set
the ground for the future negotiation.
2) He is really bright at math, but he evidently lacks talent for
3) It is really a misfortune to have a flat on an empty road.
4) Unfortunately his parents paid too much attention to him, and he
grew selfish having no concern for others.
5) I can’t believe they decided to get married! Judging by their
characters they are a bad match.
6) When one is depressed everything seems to go wrong. Or it may be
on the contrary, when everything goes wrong one gets depressed.
7) When she entered the room the whole party was so absorbed in
discussing their vacation plans that no one turned a head to her.
9. Insert the necessary prepositions:
1) He was well acquainted ____ the kind of paralysis that disclosed
____ on clients ____ they got ____ his office.
2) The type that finds it hard to put ____ words anything connected
____ the emotions.
3) Madeleine flung herself ____ a chair, tore ____ the beret she was
wearing and ran her hands ____ her exquisitely dark curls.
4) He was all ____ me – especially as he thought ____ my clothes that
I had money.
5) Everything boiled ____ last night. Mrs. Wade came ____ ____ the
open. She accused me ____ of breaking ____ her home.
6) "I can assure you…" began Mr. Pyne, recovering ____ the
stupefaction that had descended ____ him.
10. Translate the following passages into Russian:
1) p. 7. From "Undoubtedly one of Mr. Parker Pyne's..." to "...with all
the pathos of a dumb animal."
2) p. 12. From "The grounds of Lorrimer Court..." to "...stocks and
shares and golf alternately."
3) p. 16. From "Well, one's sorry for people sometimes..." to "...don't
you, Mrs. Wade?"
11. Retell the story on the part of:
1) Mr. Reginald Wade
2) Mr. Parker Pyne
3) Iris Wade
4) Madeleine de Sara
12. Act out the following conversations:
1) Between Mr. Reginald Wade, Madeleine de Sara and Mrs. Wade
(pp. 14–16)
2) Between Mr. Reginald Wade and Madeleine de Sara (pp. 19–20)
1. Discuss the following:
1) What do you think of Mr. Pyne's classification of human troubles?
2) What can you say about Mr. Wade's attitude towards his wife at the
beginning and at the end of the story? Why has it changed abruptly?
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3) Do you agree it is correct never to adopt an apologetic attitude with
a woman? (p. 9) Comment on the statement: "The humble spirit is a
wash-out in matrimony."
4) Say if you agree or disagree with Mr. Pyne's assessment of the
feminine human nature. (pp. 10–11)
5) Comment on the statement: "She has probably been driven into this
affair through boredom..." Is the problem of boredom always
decisive in relationship between a man and a woman? (p. 12)
6) Do you agree with Miss de Sara's statement that "the men want
someone young and bright to talk to"? What did she mean by
7) Why in your opinion did Mr. Pyne call Miss de Sara "the Queen of
Vamps"? Was she really one?
8) Comment on the last two lines of the story.
9) Whom do you think are the author's sympathies with?
10) Do you think such agencies as Mr. Parker Pyne's are necessary at
all? Give your reasons.
2. Give a character sketch of:
1) Mr. Reginald Wade
2) Iris Wade
2. The Mystery of the Spanish Chest
Pre-reading task
Make sure you know how to pronounce these words:
entirely, precision, voluptuous, siren, Geneva, vigorously, Elizabethan,
frailty, admirably, precis, rueful, gruesome, imbecile, supremely,
unperturbed, to seize, Eucledean, premeditated, fervour, evangelist,
candour, impertinent, neurotic, dispute, innuendo, wrathful, cerise,
minute (Adj.), hoaxer, sinewy, plausible, deferential, postulate,
luxurious, anchovy, to gnaw, draught, dishonesty, conjurer, incorrigible,
asylum, ascertain, incredulous.
Correct the following statements using the expressions given:
I'm afraid that's wrong.
It's not quite right.
That's not quite so.
As far as I know…
On the contrary…
I don't think so.
According to the story…
1) In the afternoon Miss Lemon brought Hercule Poirot a newspaper
and attracted his attention to the article about the Spanish chest
mystery. She had no idea what a Spanish chest was.
2) In the newspaper there was a photo of a man whom Poirot knew,
but Miss Lemon didn't.
3) Miss Lemon brought Poirot a handwritten sheet with the report
about the party. The facts of this case were quite uncertain, and
with no further details.
4) Miss Lemon was willing to express her opinion of the party.
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Lord Chatterton phoned Poirot and asked him about a trifle
6) When Poirot saw Margharita Clayton he at once had an idea how to
help her.
7) Margharita Clayton didn't trust detectives, so she was not eager to
speak about the case.
8) Inspector Miller firmly believed in the innocence of Mrs. Clayton in
this case.
9) According to Commander McLaren, Mrs. Clayton and Rich were
lovers and planned the murder together.
10) Linda Spence had no idea about the telegram and had no
suppositions about the case.
11) Poirot's visit was unexpected for Major Rich. He believed it was
Burgess who had killed Mr. Clayton.
12) William Burgess confessed that he had made three holes in the
chest and had moved the screen that used to cut off the draught from
the bedroom door.
13) Margharita Clayton was sure her husband was not jealous at all.
14) In the end Commander McLaren confessed that he was the
murderer and explained his motives.
Vocabulary and Grammar
1. Find in the text The English equivalents to the following words
and expressions:
исполнительный / квалифицированный секретарь (p. 25), быть не в
настроении делать что-л. (p. 27), недоделки в работе (p. 27), краткое
изложение фактов (p. 29), экстренное сообщение в газете (p. 33),
появиться / подвернуться (p. 37), подводить кого-л. (p. 38),
принимать что-л. как должное (p. 40), косвенный намек /
инсинуация (p. 55.), небольшой дом (p. 57), подделка / фальшивка
(p. 59), быть в хороших отношениях (p. 62), опаздывать / отставать /
задерживаться (с чем-л.) (p. 71).
2. Find in the story the synonyms to the following words:
foolishness (p. 25), enormous / amazing (p. 25), to glance over (p. 26),
to ponder (p. 26), to examine / to study (p. 27), threatening / evil (p. 27),
submissively / dutifully (p. 28), to narrate / to report (p. 28),
energetically (p. 29), fault (p. 29), sad / regretful (p. 29), ghastly (p. 31),
paralyzed / overwhelmed (p. 31), deduction / assumption (p. 34), idiot
(p. 34), to please / to satisfy (p. 37), hidden / inner (p. 38), thorough
(p. 39), to abandon (p. 39), to surround / to harass (p. 39), honesty /
directness (p. 41), difficulty / complication (p. 47), gloomy (p. 49),
spiteful / ill-natured (p. 49), plotter / intriguer (p. 50), charm (p. 50),
influence (p. 51), guy (p. 51), harmless (p. 51), absent-minded (p. 53),
angry (p. 55), witch (p. 56), swindler (p. 60), to kill (p. 60), insane
(p. 61), charming / attractive (p. 62), dismay / anxiety (p. 64), muscular
(p. 64), unconsciousness (p. 66), to inform (p. 67), huge / massive
(p. 68), flawless (p. 72), to blow up (p. 74), strange (p. 74), to give in
(p. 79), refuge (p. 79), to steal (p. 79), to find out (p. 81), almost / nearly
(p. 83), bit / piece (p. 83).
3. Find in the story the antonyms to the following words:
badly off (p. 30), unintelligent (p. 34), worried (p. 35), unprofitable
(p. 36), spontaneous (p. 37), tactfully (p. 40), well-mannered (p. 41),
sure (p. 45), unqualified (p. 46), tense (p. 47), considerate / polite
(p. 51), pale (p. 54), talkative (p. 54), sharp (p. 62), explainable (p. 62),
unreasonable (p. 65), to find (p. 79).
4. Use ex. 2, 3 to make up 10–12 sentences of your own.
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5. Give Russian equivalents to the following words and expressions
from the story:
inward meaning (p. 27), romantic flights of imagination (p. 27), to
dispose of smth./smb. (pp. 29, 34), urgent business (p. 31), the bald facts
of the case (p. 31), to be charged with (p. 33), to be taken into custody
(p. 33), uphill work (p. 34), enormous bonus (p. 39), admirable
simplicity (p. 43), a chatty man (p.46), to keep smb.'s own counsel
(p. 46), a tower of strength (p. 49), a first-class financial brain (p. 56), a
judicious understatement, a tame cat (p. 61).
6. Fill in the gaps using ex. 5.
1) I’m not sure I don’t envy him: he has to do an ____, of course, but
besides good salary he also gets ____ every month.
2) I don’t think he really didn’t want to talk to you, but you see, he is
not a ____ and prefers to keep to the ____ instead of inventing
details. Personally I prefer talking to men: they are able to
understand that sometimes business can be really ____ and don’t
waste your time for those ____ of ____ that women like so much.
3) He’s really got ____ brains and in his speech he easily ____ his
opponent’s weak arguments.
4) According to the evening papers a group of terrorists ____ blowing
up a gas station and ____.
5) Although she seems to speak with ____ still ____ of her words can
be really deep.
7. Make up a dialogue using as many words and phrases from ex. 1,
5 as possible.
8. Explain the meaning of the following expressions. Translate the
sentences they are used in.
A comprehensive sweep of the arm (p. 26), elbow grease (p. 26), on an
impulse (p. 27), they pulled him through all right (p. 28), gospel truth
(p. 30), to break up (p. 31), to be summoned to (p. 32), to be engaged in
(p. 32), to leap to the eye (p. 34), to seize the opportunity (p. 35), high
up (p. 36), in the heat of rage (p. 37), to leak out (p. 39), impertinent
questions (p. 42), to know smth. to smb.'s discredit (p. 45), to be
remanded for (p. 48), to get at smb. (p. 51), to have got a way with
oneself (p. 55), to puzzle smth. out (p. 56), to wiggle smb. out of smth.
(p. 58), to be bottled up (p. 60), to be quick in the uptake (p. 61), (to give
smb.) the flea in the ear (p. 65), to expunge smth. from one's mind
(p. 69), to be in tune with smth. (p. 72), an incorrigible telephoner
(p. 76), immunity to passion (p. 78), not an easy man to shake off
(p. 79), it was murder all right (p. 82).
9. Paraphrase:
1) Strike out the witness's last remark; it has no place in the court record.
2) She spent her young years on a farm and she knows what toil is.
3) The new project he is busy with now is supposed to bring 1 million
4) He always declared he was not afraid of blackmail as there was
nothing compromising about his background.
5) He’s got a gift to catch a drift at any rate.
6) When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself.
7) The news of his appointment filtered out before it was officially
8) It was impudent of her to answer like that.
9) He received a subpoena to appear in court in two weeks.
10) Corking up your anger leads to trouble.
11) I could hear the director rebuking Jim for being late.
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10. Translate the following passages into Russian:
1) p. 25. From "Punctual to the moment..." to " have no
imagination whatever."
2) p. 36. From "The mystery of..." to "...hatred and all the other
romantic causes of murder!"
3) pp. 38–39. From "Lord Chatterton..." to " activate a rocket to the
4) pp. 40–41. From "The woman who had been sitting..." to "...a kind
of childlike candour."
5) p. 58. From "Poirot looked at her..." to "...and tight black trousers."
11. Retell the story on the part of:
1) Miss Lemon
2) Margharita Clayton
3) Lady Chatterton
4) Major Charles Rich
5) Commander McLaren
6) Arnold Clayton
7) Linda Spence
8) William Burgess
12. Act out the following conversations:
1) The first meeting of Margharita Clayton with Poirot at Lady Chatterton's (pp. 41–49).
2) Inspector Miller and Poirot discussing the case. (pp. 51–54)
3) Linda Spence and Poirot discussing the party. (pp. 58–62)
2) What kind of women did Hercule Poirot call "the sirens of this
world"? What did he mean? (p. 28)
3) Why did Hercule Poirot get interested in the case of the Spanish
4) Comment on the statement: "Lady Chatterton had not been a spoilt
beauty all her life for nothing". (p. 40)
5) Do you agree with Hercule Poirot’s words "it is very necessary for a
woman to lie sometimes"? Comment on his further words concerning the truth. (p. 42) How do they sound?
6) Comment on Hercule Poirot’s statement: "it is because you do not
care that men are driven mad." Whom was he talking about? (p. 44)
7) How do you understand the words: "Could one postulate a negative
killer?" (p. 68)
8) Was Arnold Clayton a jealous person? Prove it with the help of examples from the story?
9) What were the reasons for McLaren’s actions in the story?
10) What typical features of a detective story can you trace in this one?
2. Give a character sketch of:
1) Hercule Poirot
2) Miss Lemon
3) Margharita Clayton
4) Lady Chatterton
3. Speak about Hercule Poirot as if you were:
1) Miss Lemon
2) Lady Chatterton
3) Commander McLaren
1. Discuss the following:
1) How can you evaluate the fact that Hercule Poirot considered Miss
Lemon to be "a human machine – an instrument of precision"? (p. 25)
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3. Greenshaw’s Folly
Pre-reading task
Make sure you know how to read these words.
Aesthetic, awe, Genoa, exuberance, chateaux of Loire, Venetian, marquise, beneficiary, reconciliation, jowls, assiduously, dubious, indelicately, alibi, plaguey.
Answer the following questions:
1) What house were two men watching? What’s its history?
2) Who were those two men?
3) Why did they want to enter the house?
4) Who was the owner of the house? Who also lived there?
5) Why did Miss Greenshaw invite the visitors to the library?
6) How did the library look like?
7) What job did Lou get?
8) What happened in the garden after Lou heard the scream?
9) Why did inspector Welch come into the Wests’ house?
10) Who was the real beneficiary of the will? Why?
11) According to Miss Marple conclusions:
a. Why was Lou hired?
b. How was one of James Barry’s plays connected with this murder?
c. Why was such an unusual way of murder used?
Vocabulary and Grammar
1. Find in the text The English equivalents to the following words
and expressions:
лучший образец эпохи (p. 84), около этого, обанкротиться, благосостояние (p. 85), скупец / скряга (p. 86), осмелиться (p. 87), почтение (p. 88), смешок / усмешка (p. 89), засвидетельствовать завещание (p. 90), самый настоящий мошенник (p. 91), жеманный / манер33
ный (p. 92), злоупотреблять чьей-либо добротой (p. 93), отдел уголовного розыска (p. 95), вражда (p. 98), высшая точка (p. 100), в
изумлении (p. 101), весьма вероятно (p. 102), показывать точное
время (p. 105), незаконнорожденный / внебрачный ребенок (p. 108),
бессердечный (p. 111), ставить в тупик (p. 111), с недоверием /
скептически (p. 113), легкое дело / пустяк (p. 117).
2. Give Russian equivalents to the following words and expressions
from the story:
one of the gems of my collection (p. 84), immense prosperity (p. 85),
malevolent glance, insolent glance, French window (p. 90), from a cursory glance (p. 91), to give oneself airs (p. 92), set-up (p. 95), to go
broke, to put by a very good sum, to come unstuck (p. 96), to stagger
(p. 101), to pound on (p. 102), hanky-panky (p. 106), to look completely
fogged (p. 109), an unscrupulous woman (p. 114), to smile bashfully
(p. 118).
3. Translate the sentences using the words and expressions from
ex. 1, 2:
1) Несмотря на огромное состояние, в обществе она имела репутацию бесчестной и бессердечной женщины, и ей никто не выказывал особого почтения.
2) Предложение засвидетельствовать дядино завещание вызвало у
него грустную усмешку – это означало, что сам он не получит
ничего. Мысленно обозвав дядю скрягой и пожелав ему перед
смертью обанкротиться, он вышел из дома, хлопнув дверью.
3) Этот парень – настоящий жулик, и местный отдел уголовного
розыска давно уже интересуется им.
4) Думаю, он звонил в 12 или около того; у меня часы идут неправильно, ты же знаешь.
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5) Джек явно был смущен и, чтобы скрыть замешательство, отвернулся к широкому, до самого пола, окну гостиной. Ситуация
поставила его в тупик.
6) Я с недоверием выслушал его рассказ о том, что все последние
сделки окончились провалом; я слишком хорошо его знаю и
уверен, что он где-то припрятал круглую сумму.
7) Девочка застенчиво улыбнулась, старик бросил на нее надменный взгляд. Его раздражали дети прислуги, всех их он считал
4. Make up a dialogue using as many words and phrases from ex. 1,
2 as possible.
5. Insert the necessary preposition:
1) I can’t conceive ___ how Mr. Greenshaw thought ____ it all.
2) ____ he spoke Raymond was congratulating himself ____ having
thought ____ Greenshaw’s folly ____ a means ____ entertaining his
3) Those literary critics always profess themselves ____ longing ____
a weekend ____ the country.
4) Miss Greenshaw had no reverence ____ literary critics.
5) “We mustn’t trespass ____ your kindness any longer,” he said.
6) ____ a lapse ____ some days, a letter arrived, written ____ spidery
old-fashioned handwriting, ____ which Miss Greenshaw declared
herself anxious to avail herself ____ the services ____ Mrs. Oxley,
and making an appointment ____ Mrs. Oxley to come and see her.
7) The question is, did Alfred Pollock know that the old lady made a
will ____ his favour?
8) Then, once inside the drawing-room, she threw ____ a table with
porcelain ____ it – and ran quickly upstairs, put ____ her marquise
wig and was able a few moments later to lean her head ____ ____
the window and tell you that she, too, was locked ____.
9) He smiled bashfully ____ them
6. Find in the story the synonyms to the following words:
respectful (p. 85), eyesore (p. 85), abundance (p. 85), to intrude (p. 85),
uncombed (p. 87), ridiculously (p. 88), heir (p. 90), past (p. 91), distaste
(p. 92), to scribble (p. 92), coming / arrival (p. 93), generous / extravagant (p. 96), to save (up) (p. 96), hostility (p. 98), reunion (p. 99), apathetic (p. 103), to chuckle (p. 107), puzzled (p. 111).
7. Find in the story the antonyms to the following words:
resembling (p. 89), compliant (p. 89), amiable (p. 90), respectable
(p. 90), logical / coherent (p. 97), inert (p. 103), impolitely (p. 108)/
8. Use ex. 6, 7 to make up 10–12 sentences of your own.
9. Explain the meaning of the following expressions. Reproduce the
situations in which they were used in the story.
Greenshaw's Folly (p. 84), success story of the time (p. 85), sprawling
exuberance (p. 87), to brood over the past (p. 88), a man of standing
(p. 90), furnishing a gentleman's library (p. 91), to keep smb. up to the
mark (p. 92), old-world lady (p. 94), to buy smth. for a song (p. 96), to
avail oneself of (p. 97), prunes and prisms (p. 98), a town bred girl
(p. 100), to succumb to the pleasures of frankness (p. 101), futile endeavour (p. 101), to take smb. over smb's statement (p. 105), a chief suspect (p. 106), a practical joker (p. 107), to be set on smb. (p. 107), to
look at sea (p. 109), the matter in hand (p. 109), to be crystal clear
(p. 111), the key witness (p. 113), to assume smb's disguise (p. 115), far
fetched (p. 117).
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10. Paraphrase:
1) Inspector informed him that in three days he was to appear in the
court to be examined as a chief spectator.
2) Sandra has been thinking about that boy for too long.
3) In spite of their hard economic situation they had to have life up to
par to keep the respect of the society.
4) The girls were not twins, but they were so incredibly alike that it
took them no trouble to pretend each other with strange people.
5) The car itself is OK, but because of its disgusting colour he bought it
at a give-away price.
6) In that case he had nothing to do but to make use of a bank loan.
7) He was born and raised in a city and had no idea of a country lifestyle.
8) Jim fell for Mary in a big way when they first met.
9) We made an attempt to get in touch with them, but it was useless.
11. Comment upon the usage of the articles:
1) He writes to me sometimes, but of course he is not a Greenshaw.
2) I’m the last of the Greenshaws.
3) …Raymond West wrote a letter to Miss Greenshaw telling her that
he knew of a Mrs. Louisa Oxley who would be competent to undertake work on the diaries.
12. Translate the following passages:
1) p. 87. From "The figure in the printed dress…" to "…shrewd eyes
surveyed them appraisingly."
2) pp. 88 – 89. From "Approaching them from the house…" to "…she
might have had trouble over dropping her h’s."
3) p. 98. From "I’ve hardly seen the housekeeper…" to "…but there
was always friction."
13. Retell the story on the part of:
1) Miss Greenshaw
2) Mrs. Cresswell
3) Miss Marple
4) Alfred Pollock
1. Discuss the following:
1) Comment on the statement: "These literary critics always professed
themselves as longing for a weekend in the country, and were wont
to find the country extremely boring when they got there." (p. 86)
2) Was Raymond West a well-known writer? Prove your point of view
with the help of the facts from the story.
3) What was in your opinion Horace Bindler's "collection of monstrosities" like?
4) What did Horace Bindler mean by saying: "The only thing the library needs is a body"? (p. 94)
5) Comment on Raymond West's words: "Murder is a speciality of
hers." (p. 94)
6) Comment on Miss Marple's words: "… he liked giving people false
impressions just for fun." (p. 97) What connection do these words
have with the further part of the story?
7) How do you understand Miss Marple's phrase: "It's exactly like a
serial, isn't it?" (p. 99)
8) Express your opinion on Raymond West's idea that "One treats a
thing lightly to take away from … the horror of it." (p. 111) Do you
think this idea is up-to-date?
9) Comment on Miss Marple's statement: "One so often looks at a thing
the wrong way round." (p. 112) What did she mean do you think?
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Pre-reading tasks
9) What was found clasped in the dead lady’s hand? What did this
thing mean?
10) Why did Inspector Mariot come again in the evening?
11) What did Tuppence observe while poring over the fragments?
12) Why did Tommy ask Sir Arthur to come round?
13) How did Sir Arthur react at the beginning of Tuppence’s narration?
How did he react at the end?
14) Why had Sir Arthur committed a murder?
15) Why did he commit a suicide?
1. Find the names for the card’s suits and pictures.
2. Give a character sketch of:
1) Raymond West
2) Miss Greenshaw
3) Mrs. Cresswell
4) Miss Marple
4. Finessing the King
2. Find the meanings of the card terms:
a game, a rubber, a trick, to finesse.
Do you play bridge?
3. Make sure you know how to pronounce these words:
intrigued, magnanimously, scintillate, iniquity, tongue, nestle, outrageous, hospitably, misapprehension, awkward, imperturbable, triumphant.
Answer the following questions:
1) What was the spouses’ attitude to dancing?
2) What was the difference in the headlines of the three newspapers?
3) Why did Tuppence want to go to the Three Arts Ball?
4) What did the costumes look like?
5) What people attracted Tuppence’s attention at the Ace of Spades?
6) Why did Tuppence go to the next booth? What did she see there?
7) Who did the girl call her murderer?
8) Who came to Tommy’s house next morning? What news did they
1. Find in the text The English equivalents to the following words
and expressions:
страстно желать (p. 121), будь человеком (p. 122), с некоторым опасением (p. 122), быть в хорошем настроении (p. 123), намеренно
(p. 124), слегка приоткрыта (p. 124), упасть на колени (p. 126), прерывающимся голосом (p. 127), с ввалившимися глазами (p. 129),
оправдать (p. 135), находиться в заблуждении (p. 137), негодяй /
темная личность (p. 138), невозмутимый (p. 138).
2. Fill in the gaps using ex. 1:
1) For the first time since his leave reminiscences came over him and
he felt he ____ to see the town of his birth again.
2) The old lady ____ before the crucifix, her lips whispering a prayer
for her sick husband.
3) He opened the envelope with ____ as he never expected any good
news from his sister.
4) Obeying her mother’s order Lisa came out of the room, but she left
the door____, she did it ____ to be able to hear at least something
from their talk.
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5) Something extraordinary must have happened to this usually ____
man that made him talk ____ and judging by his ____ he didn’t
sleep that night.
3. Find in the story the synonyms to the following words and
brilliant (p. 120), generously (p. 122), to work together (p. 124), companion (p. 124), wickedness (p. 124), immediately after smb. (p. 126),
throbbing (p. 127), to give up / to let go (p. 127), offensive / shocking
(p. 130), to obey (p. 130), to have a love affair (p. 131), to discover / to
find out (p. 131), inscription (p. 133), accident (p. 134), imperative /
compelling (p. 135), involvement (p. 135), hangman (p. 136), copy
(p. 136), faithful (p. 136), at once (p. 137), to jump (p. 138), to run away
(p. 138).
4. Use ex. 3 to make up 10–12 sentences of your own.
5. Give Russian equivalents to the following words and expressions
from the story and use them in the sentences of your own:
to be common (p. 120), pretty hot place (p. 122), to drag out (p. 124), the
girl in question (p. 124), to get down to things (p. 128), to pore over
(p. 133), to be up against smth. (p. 138).
6. Translate using ex. 5:
1) Я только хотел сказать, что эта черта – общая для всех газет.
2) Там везде отдельные кабины, и должна сказать, это весьма
злачное место.
3) Томми позабыл свою роль скучающего мужа, которого вытащили в свет против его воли.
4) Девушка, о которой шла речь, прошла в соседнюю кабину, сопровождаемая мужчиной в костюме "джентльмена, одетого в
5) И теперь, я полагаю, полиция разберется с этим делом очень
6) Таппенс кивнула и начала сосредоточенно изучать принесенные
инспектором фотографии.
7) Мы в Скотлент-Ярде хорошо знаем, что к чему, но когда имеешь проблемы из-за фактов, становится неловко.
7. Make up a dialogue using as many words and phrases from ex. 1,
5 as possible.
8. Explain the meaning of the following words and expressions.
Reproduce the situations in which they were used in the story:
to remark witheringly (p. 119), to draw a red herring across the track
(p. 120), gently with the butter (p. 121), to butt in (p. 122), to put smb.
on the right track (p. 123), get up (p. 124), to get hold of smb. (p. 126),
to slur over (p. 127), to turn nasty (p. 130), to come off (p. 131), to egg
smb. on (p. 132), to give in to (p. 135), the kiss of a Judas (p. 136), to
think as much (p. 137), to be at one's wits' end (p. 138).
9. Paraphrase:
1) She made the scathing observation that being interviewed was at
least boring.
2) The speaker tried to urge the crowd on to show their opposition to
the new law.
3) Please don’t flatter him on his knowledge of foreign languages, or
he won’t ever study again.
4) They may interfere in elections by the use of corrupt means to bribe
or intimidate the electors.
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5) The Minister tried to hush up his department's mistake although it
had cost the taxpayers a lot of money.
6) He burglars were able to throw the police off the scent.
7) He reached a deadlock trying to make a new computer program
10. Translate the following passage into Russian:
p. 121. From "When I was a nice young girl…" to "… and go to bed at
half past nine".
11. Retell the story on the part of:
1) Tuppence Beresford
2) Sir Arthur Merivale
3) Inspector Marriot
12. Act out the conversation between Sir Arthur Merivale, Inspector
Marriot and Tuppence (pp. 128–131).
Discuss the following:
1) Comment on Tommy's words: "Do you realise, Tuppence, that you
and you alone are Blunt's Brilliant Detectives?" (p. 119). Speak
about Tuppence's character traits.
2) What famous detectives are mentioned in the story? In what
connection are they mentioned? What was the effect produced?
3) Comment on the statement: "He was always, profoundly mistrustful
of Tuppence's brilliant ideas." (p. 122)
4) What in your opinion did Tuppence mean by saying: "I'm sure we're
in a real den of iniquity"? (p. 124)
5) Comment on Tuppence's remark: "Greengrocers." (p. 138)
6) Comment on Tommy's words: "Marriot's right all round – that was
the way of it. A bold finesse for game and rubber." (p. 139)
5. The Coming of Mr. Quin
Pre-reading tasks
1. Make sure you know how to pronounce these words:
subtlety, inordinate, covertly, calamitous, to intrigue, to fathom, solemn,
brusque, prefunctorily, imperceptible, inexplicable, noncommittally,
astounding, balustrade, brocade, fortuitous, hilarious, defiant,
exhumation, arsenic, strychnine, preconceived,
overwhelming, hydrochloride, retribution, Harlequinade, alternately.
2. Find in the dictionary or encyclopaedia the information about the
1) What presentiment did Mr. Satterthwaite have on the New Year’s
2) Who drove his special attention that evening?
3) What song did Lady Laura mention? What event did it remind to the
4) What superstition did Lady Laura mention?
5) Why did people say Royston was haunted?
6) What interrupted the men’s conversation?
7) What made Mr. Quin stop at the house?
8) Why was Mr. Quin able to gain the company’s confidence?
9) Who did Mr. Satterthwaite see at the gallery? What feeling did he
get about what was going on?
10) How according to his friends Derek Capel feel at the beginning of
his last day?
11) How and where did he kill himself?
12) What criminal case did his death follow?
13) Who and why killed Mr. Appleton?
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14) How was Mr. Appleton killed? How was his wife engaged in this
15) What made Derek Capel commit a suicide?
Vocabulary and Grammar
1. Find in the text the English equivalents to the following words
and expressions:
радушный хозяин (p. 141), встречать новый год (p. 143), внезапно
уехать (p. 146), прерывать / вмешиваться (p. 149), в расцвете сил
(p. 149), комиссия по расследованию / следственная комиссия
(p. 150), следователь, ведущий дела о насильственной или
скоропостижной смерти (p. 155), Министерство внутренних дел
Великобритании (p. 161), в крайнем изумлении (p. 163).
2. Find in the story the synonyms to the following words and
crowd (p. 140), excessive (p. 140), observer (p. 140), about /
approximately (p. 141), perfect / healthy (p. 141), disastrous (p. 141), to
understand (p. 142), calmly (p. 143), abrupt (p. 143), appreciation /
gratitude (p. 144), agitated (p. 145), presentiment (p. 145), nonsense
(p. 146), to listen (p. 147), calm (p. 147), extremely (p. 148), evasively
(p. 149), form / appearance (p. 150), bold / daring (p. 153), obsession /
absorption (p. 154), blocked / closed (p. 155), disappointed (p. 155), to
get lost (p. 156), interval (p. 156), miser (p. 157), exactness (p. 157),
prejudged (p. 160), emotion (p. 160), irregularly / unevenly (p. 160),
convincing / demanding attention (p. 160), late (p. 160), punishment /
justice (p. 163).
4. Use ex. 2, 3 to make up the sentences of your own (7–10 sentences).
5. Give Russian equivalents to the following words and expressions
from the story and use them in the sentences of your own:
devoid of imagination (p. 141), to come across (p. 142), to affect
smb./smth. (p. 145), to break off (p. 148), a sweeping statement (p. 149),
to challenge (p. 152), to be driving at smth. (p. 158).
6. Translate the following sentences using the words and expressions
from ex. 1, 5:
1) Это было самое сердечное письмо, какое когда-либо было им
2) Я наткнулся на эту старую фотографию на дне секретера.
3) "Но я же была там!" – вмешалась в разговор Джейн.
4) Последние события в семье сильно повлияли на него, он стал
нервным и рассеянным.
5) Когда мне исполнилось восемнадцать, я решил, что пришла пора мне отселиться от родителей.
6) К моему сильному удивлению, он приехал вовремя.
7) Что ты, собственно, имеешь в виду?
8) Я скорблю не о тех, кто погиб во цвете лет, а о тех, кто их любил и на них надеялся.
9) Само наше существование было поставлено на карту.
7. Make up a dialogue using as many words and phrases from ex. 1,
5 as possible.
3. Find in the story the antonyms to the following words:
gloomy (p. 141), openly (p. 141), phlegmatic (p. 145), perceivable
(p. 149), deliberate (p. 151), sad (p. 153), to aid / to facilitate (p. 160).
8. Explain the meaning of the following words and expressions. Reproduce the situations in which they were used in the story.
To run pretty true to type (p. 141), the fellow's all nerves (p. 142), to die
down (p. 145), to bring up the subject (p. 146), to be dressed in every
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colour of the rainbow (p. 147), to go against the grain (p. 149), the personal equation (p. 150), with strained attention (p. 151), to cool off
(p. 153), to disconcert (p. 155), to do away with smb. (p. 157), to be acquitted (p. 159), to hang back (p. 162), to face the music (p. 163), alternately (p. 164).
9. Paraphrase:
1) There's no need to raise his past when we are considering him for
2) They were hesitating between supporting us and opposing us.
3) Mr. Hope was initially convicted but then was exonerated on appeal.
4) My neighbour tried to do herself in by taking poison.
5) It confused us to learn that they had refused our offer.
6) She was apparently a very jumpy woman, and that affected her career.
7) You've caused us a lot of trouble.
10. Insert the necessary prepositions where necessary:
1) The elder members ____ the house party ____ Royston were
assembled ____ the big hall.
2) He knew instinctively when the elements ____ drama were ____
3) He was a man ____ close ____ forty, fair haired, and blue eyed like
all the Portals, fond ____ sport, good ____ games, devoid ____
imagination. Nothing unusual ____ Alec Portal.
4) Many dark women dye their hair ____ blonde; he had never before
come ____ a fair woman who dyed her hair ____ black.
5) The wind rose ____ another terrific wail, and as it died ____ there
came three loud knocks ____ the big nailed doorway.
6) Here’s a man ____ the prime ____ life, gay, light hearted, without a
care ____ the world.
7) Rumour grew and grew, and ____ the end, months later, some ____
his relatives applied ____ an exhumation order.
8) They stared ____ him ____ black amazement.
11. Retell the story on the part of:
1) Eleanor Portal
2) Alec Portal
3) Tom Evesham
4) Lady Laura Keene
5) Harley Quin
1. Discuss the following:
1) What do you think about Mr. Satterthwaite's attitude towards young
people? (p. 140)
2) Why did something about Mrs. Portal seem peculiar to
Mr. Satterthwaite?
3) Comment on the statement "He was the friend of a friend, and as
such, was vouched for and fully accredited." (p. 149)
4) In what connection is the expression "to defy Fate" used in the
story? What is Mr. Harley Quin’s part in the story?
5) The name of Harley Quin is considered to be a speaking one. How is
it expressed in the story? How does it contribute to the narration?
2. Pick out from the story the words and expressions connected with
theatre. What does the author use them for?
3. Translate into Russian and comment upon the following passages:
1) pp. 140-141. From "Mr. Satterthwaite was sixty-two…" to "… was
happening or going to happen."
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2) p. 143. From "He was a tall…" to "… with no great pretensions to
3) p. 150. From "I disagree with you…" to "… a question of relativity."
4) p. 164. From “I know – I know.” up to the end of the story.
1. Find in the text The English equivalents to the following words
and expressions:
быстро и легко (p. 167), пожертвование (p. 168), приступ (p. 173),
бредить (p. 173), недоверие / скептицизм (p. 173), родинка (p. 178),
каторжные работы (p. 182), доверенность (p. 182), наглость (p. 183),
хитрый (p. 184).
6. The Case of the Rich Woman
2. Find in the story the synonyms to the following words and
to hide (p. 165), first-class (p. 167) (2 words), drink / beverage (p. 171),
weariness (p. 171), joyfully (p. 171), embarrassed (p. 174), dishonest
(p. 175), cowardly (p. 177), shabby (p. 179), cheat (p. 179), a farm
laborer (p. 180), touchingly (p. 180), also known as (p. 181).
3. Find in the story the antonyms to the following words:
graceful (p. 165), cautious (p. 169), refreshed (p. 171), ungovernable
(p. 177), imprudent / unwise (p. 183).
Pre-reading task
Make sure you know how to pronounce these words:
audacious, coup, languour, reminiscent, swarthy, seizure, rascally, docile, alias, penal servitude, attorney.
How did Mr. Pine’s client look like?
What problem did she come with?
Why didn’t she want to deal with charity?
How much did Mr. Pyne ask to pay in advance? How did he explain it?
What happened with Mrs. Rymer in Mr. Pyne’s office in a week?
Where did she wake up? Who did she see at her bed?
What had happened to her? How did she understand it?
What decision did she take? What influenced it?
What was her life on the farm like?
When did Mrs. Rymer meet Mr. Pyne again?
What was their meeting like? What did they talk about?
Did Mr. Pyne complete the case successfully?
4. Use ex. 2, 3 to make up the sentences of your own (7–10 sentences).
5. Give Russian equivalents to the following expressions from the
story and use them in the sentences of your own.
to take good care (p. 169), to take a few risks (p. 169), to give (smb.) a
hand (p. 173), to be liable to smth. (p. 174), to run the risk (p. 177), to
think out (p. 178).
6. Fill in the gaps using ex. 1, 5.
1) ____ with the dishes. I can’t do it all by myself.
2) The areas near the river are ____ to flooding.
3) The exam turned out very easy, everybody did it ____.
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4) Non-governmental organizations get no financial aid from the state
and have to take public ____.
5) The criminal has been found guilty and convicted to seven years of
6) He had the ____ to talk to his parents like that.
7) After the murder of his sister he had been doing nothing but ____
his revenge.
7. Make up a dialogue using as many words and phrases from ex. 1,
5 as possible.
8. Explain the meaning of the following expressions. Reproduce the
situations in which they were used in the story.
To depend on (p. 166), to take up with smb. (p. 166), to fancy one's meal
(p. 167), conventional (p. 169), to secure the services (p. 170), to grow
hazy (p. 171), vaguely reminiscent (p. 172), to be up and about (p. 173),
her brain was in a whirl (p. 175), to get hold of smth. (p. 177), a sporting
decision (p. 179), to be easy in one's mind about smth. (p. 180), to take a
drop too much (p. 180), to stick smb. down (p. 182), banns (p. 184),
good-for-nothing lot (p. 184).
9. Paraphrase:
1) He’s got the gift to feel the delicate taste of wines.
2) All his friends were afraid he could get addicted to alcohol.
3) I don’t want you to date with that chap.
4) I doubt whether he will ever recover.
5) It was too misty to see anything in the distance.
6) What they saw was a usual imitation of philosophy.
7) Throw the boxes anywhere, we'll sort them out later.
8) Even insects in my path are not loafers, but have their special errands.
10. Translate the following passages into Russian.
1) p. 165. From "Mrs. Rymer was a tall woman…" to "… tips of curled
ostrich in her hat."
2) p. 170. From "The doctor was dressed…" to "… in their glance."
11. Retell the story on the part of:
1) Mrs. Abner Rymer
2) Mr. Parker Pyne
3) Mrs. Gardner
12. Act out the conversation between Mrs. Abner Rymer and
Mr. Parker Pyne (pp. 181–185).
1. Discuss the following:
1) Explain Mrs. Rymer's words: "You can open your mouth all right,
can't you?" (p. 168)
2) Comment on Mrs. Rymer's statement: "Fools and their money are
soon parted." (p. 169) Do you agree with it?
3) Why did the author call Mrs. Rymer "Hannah" when she met
Mr. Parker Pyne for the second time? (p. 181)
4) Why in your opinion did Mrs. Rymer call Mr. Parker "Mr. Nosey
5) Comment on Mr. Parker Pyne's statement: "You are a remarkable
woman." (p. 185)
6) Why do you think did Mrs. Rymer decide not to return to London?
2. Give a character sketch of Mrs. Rymer.
3. Speak about Mrs. Rymer as if you were
1) Hercule Poirot
2) Joe Welsh
3) Mrs. Gardner
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1. Match the name of the character with the title of the story (stories) it is from:
1) Raymond West
a) The Case of the Discontented
2) Hercule Poirot
b) The Mystery of the Spanish Chest
3) Mr. Satterthwaite
c) Greenshaw's Folly
4) Sir Arthur Merivale
d) Finessing the King
5) Iris Wade
e) The Coming of Mr. Quin
6) Mrs. Abner Rymer
f) The Case of the Rich Woman
7) Mr. Parker Pyne
8) Miss Marple
9) Madeleine de Sara
10) Miss Lemon
11) William Burgess
12) Tuppence Beresford
13) Margharita Clayton
14) Dr. Constantine
15) Bingo Hale
16) Commander McLaren
17) Alec Portal
2. Write in the gaps the name of the person who is speaking. Then,
for each sentence, write who is meant by the underlined word(s).
1) ___ says: "I've known him ever since I was a child. He appears to be
quite a dour person, but he's really a dear – always the same – always to be relied upon. He's not gay and amusing but he's a tower of
strength – both Arnold and I relied on his judgement a lot."
2) ___ says: "Take these three copies of the Daily Leader. Can you tell
me how they differ one from the other?"
3) ___ says: "He adores her, but sometimes he's – yes, afraid of her!
That's very interesting. That's uncommonly interesting."
4) ___ says: "You can open your mouth all right, can't you?"
5) ___ says: "You must be very proud of him. How have you managed
to keep him all those years? You must have been very clever."
6) ___ says: "I don't suppose for a minute they've really gone to bed.
They're probably putting hairbrushes or something in our beds."
7) ___ says: "Give him money and you'd ruin him. I've got him off the
drink now, and I'll keep him off it."
8) ___ says: "You horrible vampire – stealing my husband from me."
9) ___ says: "His chest was weak. They wouldn't take him for the war.
He did well at home. He was made foreman."
10) ___ says: "Already I have looked up your career. You passed high
up into Sandhurst. You passed into the Staff College. And so on and
so on. I have made my own judgement of you today. You are not a
stupid man."
3. Complete each of the following sentences with the best response.
1) Mr. Reginald Wade came to Mr. Parker Pyne's office because
a) he wanted to divorce his wife
b) his wife wanted Mr. Wade to give her a divorce
c) he wanted somehow to get rid of his wife
2) Miss Lemon was Hercule Poirot's
a) secretary
b) wife
c) friend
3) Who killed Arnold Clayton?
a) Major Rich
b) Commander McLaren
c) Mr. Spence
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4) Arnold Clayton died because
a) he was poisoned with arsenic
b) he was stabbed through the jugular vein
c) he was stabbed through the heart
5) After her husband's death Margharita Clayton stayed
a) at the Spences'
b) at home
c) at Lady Chatterton's place
6) Miss Greenshaw left her money and her house to
a) Mrs. Cresswell
b) Alfred
c) Nat Fletcher
7) Sir Arthur killed his wife
a) because of her money
b) because of his jealousy
c) accidentally
8) When Sir Arthur understood that his guilt had been proved, he
a) jumped through the window
b) drank some poison
c) shot himself
9) What about Eleanor Portal seemed strange to Mr. Satterthwaite at
a) her behaviour
b) the fact that she came from Australia
c) the fact that she dyed her hair
10) Old Appleton was
a) poisoned with arsenic
b) poisoned with strychnine
c) strangled
11) Mrs. Rymer had
a) four children
b) three children
c) no children
4. Identify the following quotations:
1) The contemporary historian never writes such a true history as the
historian of a later generation.
2) It is necessary for a woman to lie sometimes.
3) She will take you at your own evaluation – and you deserve it.
4) That is, I believe, the modern tendency. All these wars, and having
to joke about funerals.
5) So many men are tied to such dull wives.
6) The perfect murder has been in vain.
7) If you want to know the time, ask a policeman.
8) Do you think if I had all the money in the world it would make me a
lady? I don't want to be a lady, thank you; a helpless, good-fornothing lot they are.
9) Positively scintillating, my dear Watson.
10) Fools and their money are soon parted.
5. Give the English equivalents for the following phrases from the
Самый настоящий мошенник, обанкротиться, внебрачный ребенок,
страстно желать, с некоторым опасением, быть в хорошем настроении, убитый горем, две недели, минимальная вероятность, радушный хозяин, в расцвете сил, принимать как должное, недоделки в
работе, подводить кого-либо, быстро и легко, наглость.
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6. Give the synonyms to the following expressions:
In the heat of rage, to have got a way with somebody, to face the music,
to pave the way, to butt in, to succumb to the pleasures of frankness, to
be acquitted, to give a flea in the ear, to be up and about.
7. Give the antonyms to the following expressions:
Gospel truth, on an impulse, to take a drop too much, not to care a pin,
to egg smb. on, to buy for a song, to be engaged in.
8. Translate the sentences, paying special attention to the words in
1) В общем-то я понимаю молодую красивую женщину, которая
сыта по горло жизнью с таким болваном, как я.
2) Более того, она увидит, что Вы смогли привлечь внимание красивой молодой женщины, и Ваши ставки немедленно вырастут.
3) В следующей заметке говорилось, что майор Рич был обвинен в
убийстве Арнольда Клейтона и взят под стражу.
4) В последний момент мистера Клейтона вызвали в Шотландию
по срочному делу, и предполагалось, что он уехал поездом в
5) Нужно, чтобы никто не знал, что здесь происходит, и я пообещала слугам очень большие премии, если они не проговорятся.
6) Ее отец был водопроводчиком, так что ей не с чего зазнаваться.
7) Как она сама говорила, ее брак закончился полным провалом, и
она осталась с двумя детьми и без денег на их воспитание.
8) Там везде стоят отдельные кабинки, и, надо сказать, это весьма
злачное место.
9) Он на что-то намекал в своем рассказе, но пока было непонятно, на что.
Pre-reading task:
Find in the dictionary the definition of modernism, its main features and representatives. You can use the information from
Read the article and do the tasks.
The Christie Mystery
Too long have we been taken in by the deceptively comfy image
of Agatha Christie. Twenty-five years after her death, it's time to look
again at a true modernist with dark obsessions.
By Peter Conrad
Sunday September 16, 2001
The Observer
This summer, while the rest of you were reading Proust or Thomas
Mann at the beach, I spent my holiday tussling with another abstruse,
knotty, neglected modernist: Agatha Christie. She died 25 years ago, so
reappraisal is due.
The NFT had a brief season of her films in July, and at Westcliffon-Sea a plucky repertory company spent three months performing all of
her plays. But Christie is an export industry, having sold a billion copies
in translation into 44 foreign languages, and not surprisingly the most
lavish and intriguing commemoration was abroad.
We tend to consider Christie fusty and old-fashioned. With their
vintage trains and their equally antique stars, films such as Sidney Lumet's Murder on the Orient Express or the television series with Joan
Hickson as Miss Marple tweak our nostalgia. Christie herself exploited
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more metaphysical regrets: a longing for the peaceful Eden, with barbered golf courses and cheery village streets, that predated the first murder.
Modernity – defined by one of her primmer characters as the habit
of "sing freely in public the most unpleasant words you can find in the
dictionary" – induced an abrupt fall. In Passenger to Frankfurt, a fascist
crone incites revolution by subsidising "modern philosophy, modern
thought", with its agenda of dissent and destruction.
Christie knew all about the modern mental revolt, which murdered
God and assassinated all other sanctities. In Ordeal by Innocence, a local
amateur company puts on Waiting for Godot a year or two after the
play's premiere. The woman killed in Murder in Mesopotamia has been
reading an introduction to relativity, and Hercule Poirot derives his forensic method from Einstein's physics, considering crimes from all possible angles. Murder on the Orient Express and Witness for the Prosecution arrive at relativistic solutions, since truth is always partial and subjective.
Freud also haunted Christie. A character accuses herself of wishful
matricide, and confesses "I'm often very violent in dreams". Once the
lights are out and the reason dozes off, we are all potential murderers.
The curate in The Murder at the Vicarage, while carving tough beef and
masticating a doughy dumpling, wishes one of his obnoxious parishioners dead; almost at once, God – who, if he still exists, enjoys lethal practical jokes – answers the unChristian prayer.
Technically, Christie shared the modernist fascination with symbols, ciphers, arcane structural puzzles. The ABC Murders takes its secret code from the alphabet; other books use telltale quotations from
Shakespeare, or mnemonic motifs from Wagner's operas.
Poirot, seeing through appearances, treats reality as Picasso did.
"Take the abstract point of vision," he recommends in Appointment with
Death. "Then the absolute logic of events is fascinating and orderly."
Elsewhere he remarks on an innocent bystander's "great natural ingenuity", which gives him "the makings of a very fine criminal". It is the
highest, the most amorally Nietzschean of compliments.
During a discussion of Christie at the NFT in July, the novelist
H.R.F. Keating wrongly called her "an extremely ordinary person –
bright, shrewd, but not intellectual". She may have cultivated this dowdy
camouflage, but we should not be taken in by it.
Christie, as Keating went on to say, is "one of the world's bestselling brands", and brand recognition depends on familiarity. Every
year her publishers used to announce "a Christie for Christmas" (as if
admitting the deadliness of the sanctimonious holiday). Like The Mousetrap, which next year celebrates a half century in the West End, she
seems always to have been with us – except for 10 days when, suddenly
and inexplicably, she was not. In December 1926, she disappeared. After
a national search, she was found, befuddled by amnesia, at a hotel in
Harrogate. She had bolted after the collapse of her first marriage; though
she recovered her memory, she preferred to forget the incident, and left
it a blank in her autobiography.
The episode makes it clear that Christie herself was a mystery. We
can only speculate about her motives, as Michael Apted did in his 1979
film Agatha. Vanessa Redgrave here plays a distraught Christie who,
while apparently planning to murder her husband's trashy mistress, devises her own suicide, ritualistically preparing to electrocute herself during a session of massage.
The surmise had a poetic plausibility. Christie more than once
identified the writer as a guilty party, who conspires to alter and perhaps
destroy reality. The narrator in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, whom we
instinctively trust, turns out to be the killer, and in Death Comes as the
End – a detective story set in ancient Egypt – a scribe contemplates his
papyrus and balefully warns against the spread of literacy.
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The English undervalue Christie because they're so patronisingly
fond of her. When I saw Death on the Nile in Westcliff, the suburbanites
chuckled in agreement with the play's snobbery – its contempt for common socialists and funny, gesticulating foreigners – and smiled indulgently when the murderess's gun did not go off (which required her victim to keel over and die without the saving grace of a bullet).
Bumbling amateurism is at home in the staid, ancestral England
Christie has come to represent. Her admirers forget that it was her habit
to uncover corpses in Arcady. Tabulating alarmist headlines in 1970 –
gutted phone boxes, muggings of pensioners, race riots – she asked "Can
this be England?" Today, outside the theatre in Westcliff, a sign points
to the Southend mosque, a kebab joint jostles a Tandoori caff and a TexMex cantina, and a tattooing saloon exhibits shamanic art in its window,
with a display of grimacing voodoo masks. The England recreated on
stage is already defunct.
Christie made an initial foray to Baghdad in 1929, and returned to
Ur in 1930, where she met her second husband, the archaeologist Max
Mallowan. He took her to visit a Sumerian ziggurat; they got to know
each other underground, and even before their marriage she was anxiously asking "Where shall we be buried?"
She accompanied him on annual trips to Egypt, Syria and Iraq,
and took up photography to document his finds. She caught on camera a
chain of men at Nineveh handing up baskets from deep inside a 90ft pit
that might be the declivity of death itself, or a digger at Nimrod curled
up as if in his own tomb as he scraped away the enshrouding soil. She
also made herself useful by teaching the expedition cook to make chocolate eclairs (filled with cream whipped up from buffalo milk) and dosing
sick workers with bicarbonate of soda.
When Mallowan apologised for his grubby profession, Christie
declared with gruesome zest "I adore stiffs". She was fascinated by the
necrology of Egypt, whose pharaohs invested all their wealth in a post-
mortem life inside their sealed pyramids. A young freethinker in Death
on the Nile admires Egyptian fatalism, which considers death to be "a
mere incident – hardly noticeable", and teases Poirot's fussy concern
with culpability by accusing him of having written a monograph entitled
Death, the Recurring Decimal.
Poirot often turns up in Christie's Oriental novels (by contrast with
the parochial Miss Marple, who had to make do with a single tropical
jaunt in A Caribbean Mystery), and he recurrently likens his investigations to archaeological disinterments. Nefertiti in Christie's 1937 play
Akhnaton recites an anathema against disturbing a burial chamber. It is a
taboo that Christie and her detectives consistently outraged.
Visiting the site of a dig, the antiseptic nurse who narrates Murder
in Mesopotamia is disgusted to find nothing but mud. When she warns
an archaeologist against infection, he replies: "Nasty germs are my daily
diet." Finally she admits an attraction to ordure and the guilty, putrescent
past: "After all, perhaps dirt isn't really so unhealthy as one is brought up
to believe!"
Mallowan's sketchbooks record a skeleton he uncovered, "knees
sticking up, legs flexed"; at Ur, his team found a pit containing the remnants of 74 women, slaughtered during a royal funeral. No wonder
Christie came to think of the Orient as one great crime scene. But the
victims she singled out were not ordinary and expendable, like those
women bundled into the pit.
In Appointment with Death she kills off one of the "mother goddesses" whose totems the archaeologists often dug up: a malevolent matriarch called Mrs Boynton, who squats like "a monstrous swollen female Buddha" in a red, uterine cave at Petra. At the same time, the earth
disgorged pots and pans, which reminded Christie, as she puts it in They
Came to Baghdad, of "the things that mattered – the little everyday
things". Wasn't civilisation about cooking for your family, rather than
conducting a conceptual quarrel with God?
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She found, as she said, the beginnings of culture in the Orient, but
she knew that culture depends on sacrifice and the ruthless, lethal intrepidity of the intellect. God – as she suggested to Mallowan in 1930 after
reading a treatise by the physicist James Jeans – lay in the future: he did
not create man, but man might eventually create him, arriving after all
the travail of evolution at "some complete and marvellous Consciousness".
Poirot, a superhuman intelligence housed in a pudgy, moustachioed Belgian body, was perhaps her symbol of this immanent universal brain. And though Poirot solves crimes rather than committing them,
the evolutionary avant-gardists are the people who disobey commandments and test the limits of human power.
As the crime writer Martin Edwards pointed out at the NFT, in her
novels murders are committed by bluff majors and starchy spinsters, the
very emblems of English rectitude. Keating added that in one whodunit
the malefactor is a child, and said "That's going rather deep". In Apted's
Agatha, Dustin Hoffman, as a journalist tracking the fugitive heroine,
asks Vanessa Redgrave why she is obsessed by violence. We won't begin to understand the deceptively comfy, apparently harmless Christie
until we force her works to give us an answer.
2. Find in the text of the article the words matching the following
1) to struggle roughly, 2) difficult to comprehend, 3) determined and
courageous in the face of difficulties, 4) to encourage or stir up (violent
or unlawful behaviour), 5) relating to or dealing with the application of
scientific knowledge to legal problems, 6) murder of a mother by her son
or daughter, 7) extremely unpleasant, 8) a method of transforming a text
in order to conceal its meaning, 9) understood by few; mysterious, obscure, 10) revealing something, 11) assisting or intended to assist memory / relating to memory, 12) (especially of a woman) unfashionable and
dull in appearance, 13) very worried and upset, 14) to kill by electric
shock, 15) a supposition or guess, 16) a region or scene of simple pleasure and quiet, 17) no longer living, existing, or functioning, 18) a brief
excursion or attempt especially outside one's accustomed sphere, 19) an
ancient Mesopotamian temple tower consisting of a lofty pyramidal
structure built in successive stages with outside staircases and a shrine at
the top, 20) confined or restricted as if within the borders of a parish /
provincial, 21) excrement / dung, 22) a female who rules or dominates a
family, group, or state, 23) work especially of a painful or laborious nature, 24) being short and plump.
1. Find in the text of the article the English equivalents to the following Russian words and expressions:
1) пересмотр (взглядов и т.п.), 2) несовременный (2 words),
3) предшествовать, 4) несогласие / разногласие, 5) святыни, 6) прихожанин / прихожанка, 7) смертельный / вызывающий смерть,
8) свидетель / очевидец, 9) задатки, 10) опознание торговой марки,
11) житель пригорода, 12) виновность / вина, 13) эксгумация,
14) гниющий, 15) неустрашимость / смелость, 16) трактат / научный
труд, 17) честность / добродетель.
3. Answer the following questions:
1) Is Agatha Christie considered to be a modernist?
2) What did the author of the article mean by saying that "Christie is an
export industry"?
3) What is the usual attitude to Christie's works?
4) What do you think about the definition of modernity given by one of
Agatha Christie's characters?
5) Is there any connection between Christie's books and the "mental
revolt" of her time? If so, what is this connection?
6) How did Freud's ideas influence Agatha Christie?
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7) What according to the article does Agatha Christie have in common
with the modernists?
8) What did the author of the article say: "It is the highest, the most
amorally Nietzschean of compliments" about? Comment upon this
9) What did the novelist H.R.F. Keating say about Christie? Does the
author of the article agree with this opinion? Why?
10) Why does the author of the article say that "Christie herself was a
11) What is peculiar about the writer in some of Christie's books?
12) Why in the author's opinion do the English undervalue Christie?
What do they see in her books?
13) In what connection did Christie ask "Can this be England?" What
does the author of the article think about it?
14) In what situation did Christie say "I adore stiffs"?
15) What influence did the Orient have on Christie's books?
16) What do you think was Christie's attitude to death? (to prove your
opinion use the information from the article)
17) What was Christie's attitude to God? Which of her characters is to
be mentioned in this connection? Why?
18) When according to the author's opinion will we begin to understand
Agatha Christie?
INTRODUCTION ...................................................................... 3
I. WARMING-UP........................................................................ 4
1. What is a Mystery? .......................................................................4
2. Crime Vocabulary.........................................................................4
3. Discussion ....................................................................................9
CAREER ................................................................................... 10
1. Agatha Christie's Biography........................................................10
2. Agatha Christie: the Shape of her Career .....................................13
3. Agatha Christie Quiz...................................................................17
1. The Case of the Discontented Husband .......................................20
2. The Mystery of the Spanish Chest ...............................................26
3. Greenshaw’s Folly ......................................................................33
4. Finessing the King ......................................................................39
5. The Coming of Mr. Quin.............................................................44
6. The Case of the Rich Woman......................................................49
IV. FINAL QUIZ....................................................................... 53
V. SUPPLEMENTARY READING .......................................... 58
For those who are interested:
An Agatha Christie society operates at the following address
Agatha Christie Society
PO Box 985, London SW1X 9XA
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