Two hundred years ago, a young woman — barely more than a teenager — wrote a daring novel that questioned the limits of science and discovery, and challenged notions of agency, self, family and moral obligation. Her character created a monster, but she fabricated something much more complicated.
The stories in the collection range from police procedurals to inheritance scandals to locked-room puzzles.
It’s part Treasure Island, part Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a dash of Huckleberry Finn — but Sugar Money is something entirely its own. Told from the point-of-view and voice of Lucien, a barely thirteen-year old farm slave on Martinique, the novel is based on real events.
Rather than a “locked room” mystery wherein the victim is found dead in a room where no one could have gotten in or out, Christie traps everyone together on a snowbound train. The victim, the suspects, and the detective are all stuck in the “locked room.” The new movie version, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh is problematic but it was much better than the trailers led me to believe.
Lindsey Fitzharris gives us an unflinching look at the difficult, unsettling world of early medicine through the lens of Joseph Lister’s career. Here, a fierce but kindly man can be seen as a genius with a heart, not a cold figure to be dissected.