Month: February 2019

OT: From Chagall to Malevich: Art in Revolution

Begoña and I had the opportunity to visit the exhibition From Chagall to Malevich: Art in Revolution in Madrid. Fundación MAPFRE Recoletos Exhibition Hall.

The exhibition curated by Jean-Louis Pratt takes us on a journey to show us the evolution of the modern art. From Chagall’s poetics to Malevich’s extreme abstraction, the exhibition brings together major works by artists who broke with the established models at the beginning of and during the twentieth century and anticipated modernity in a way that had never been seen before in Russia.

10.-Kazimir-Malevich-SportsmenA VISIT THROUGH THE EXHIBITION

The departure point of the exhibition coincides with that of the upheaval of Russian society at the beginning of the 20th century. Traditional Russia still existed; artists such as Konchalovsky, Machkov, Malevich (at the beginning of his career) were producing works in the classical style. Those artists, who were portraying a society genuinely linked to the foundation of Russian culture, intuitively sensed the profound changes to come.

This exhibition therefore begins in 1905, date of the first great change that took place in Russia’s history: the “Bloody Sunday” revolt in St. Petersburg. All these artists understood that an inevitable change in society was at hand, change that would soon lead to the 1917 October Revolution.

And in fact, the personal paths of these artists contributed to the changing spirit: they travelled abroad, they went to Paris—Baranoff-Rossin, Tatlin, Chagall and Kandinsky—they were all in quest of new ideas. For one, Konchalovsky was very interested by the work of Derain and Vlaminck; for another, Machkov probably saw and admired the work by Matisse. All these artists recognized the need to create a new style and these new ways of seeing became the very basis of this revolution—it started slowly and then became inevitable.

In contrast, other painters, writers and poets were far more advanced in their approach, fruit of the many exchanges between Russia and France. Matisse had just decorated the interior of the residence of Shchukin, a great collector who lived in Moscow. As Shchukin did with his home, so other private homes opened their doors every weekend in Moscow to display to a chosen public the works of Picasso, Braque and Gris that had been purchased in Paris by these rich industrialists. The artists discovered and invented new forms, new colors, a new way of seeing the world. Marinetti, an Italian poet and a born revolutionary, came to give conferences in the Russian capital and sketched out what would be the very foundation of an important pictorial revolution.

Art bore witness to this new world, taking into account a period, which was changing. Progress was ineluctable. It became accepted that a car could be as beautiful as a painting. And if the car is in movement, well then art can also embrace such movement. The machine inevitably creates innovation, and so new artistic schools appeared, changed by dreams and utopias. Larionov, Goncharova and Udaltsova began to express themselves by borrowing ideas from the French Cubists. They had been to see them or seen their works exhibited in Moscow, they had sometimes worked in their studios or the work of those French artists had been acquired by Russian collectors. Russian artists took inspiration from what they saw and in turn created an extraordinary nucleus, a genuine fermentation of new ideas leading to the founding of different artistic movements: that of Rayonism with Larionov and Goncharova, that of Futurism around David Burliuk. For the first time, associating a fixed image from Cubism to an image in movement from Futurism gave rise to a typically Russian movement: Cubo-Futurism.

Other artists such as Chagall, who was unconnected to any school, gave expression to other dreams. Chagall’s work spoke of tradition coming from old Russia. He painted other images,inspired by the Orient, using other colors. His work, using themes of Jewish culture, was in a whole new style all his own and furnished a new substrata to history that was in the process of being created. The Theater of Jewish Art, painted in 1920 after the 1917 Revolution had already broken out, is a meaningful example of Chagall’s new way of representation.

Chagall was named director of the Vitebsk school in 1917 and returned to the country where he was born (known now as Belorussia). He created a school there at the request of Lunacharsky, minister of culture. Naturally he put into practice the tenets of a new way of thinking, of seeing, of writing, of painting. He brought in other important artists who were following other artistic paths such as Lissitsky and Malevich.

Creating his own language, Malevich brought in new ideas, turning upside down the poetic vision of Chagall’s work. The Suprematist school that Malevich founded soon became an obstacle to any possible understanding with Chagall. The rupture was inevitable.

Chagall left for Moscow to create the Theater of Jewish Art, that extraordinary place where all the great artists of his time would come to participate in exercising their arts: writers, poets, directors, actors. Chagall created this fresco, Introduction to the Theater of Jewish Art (which is eight meters long), an astounding painting that proves to what extent he remained faithful to that Russian and Jewish culture which is the very basis of his inspiration. As for Malevich, he continued to embody a language completely opposite of Chagall’s but one just as extraordinary: he created abstract art, an artistic expression totally unknown until then and which compelled attention. And so a new school came into being– Suprematism.

At the same time, other artists such as Tatlin created another school using new materials, that of Constructivism. The exhibition of the Grimaldi Forum sheds light on this opposition and complementarity between Suprematism and Constructivism. The artists who participated in that particular part of history such as Rodchenko, Tatlin, Kliun, Rozanova, Popova and many others, participated also in that revolution of the spirit. In Russia in the twenties, the thirst for change originated in and existed side by side with the new modernity.

From the start of the Revolution, Kandinsky, who at the beginning of the 20th century had developed his own innovative style, was in charge of a commission to distribute to museums in the provinces the work of all those artists who were considered as revolutionaries and who worked and exhibited in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The State bought works that were sent to Rostov-sur-le Don, to Perm, to Astrakhan and Krasnodar etc….to ensure that the heart of Russia would discover the revolutionary message.

Rapidly, those in power began to distort this noble message, permeating it with ideology whose motivations did not necessarily correspond to the liberty of style of the artists.

The latter finally understood that they could no longer exercise their rights as creators in an environment where ideas were being imposed upon them. Many of them left Russia beginning in the 1920s and moved to Berlin, Paris and the United States: Larionov, Goncharova, Kandinsky, Chagall, Baranoff-Rossin. Confronted by a Russian art that had become more and more official, imposing its vision upon the artists, those who remained behind such as Malevich were “prisoners.” And so he wrote, “I prefer a sharp pen to a dishevelled brush.” They would return to figurative painting, though of figures devoid of faces. As for Filonov, he closed himself off into a completely different language, impenetrable to any understanding by the revolutionaries in power.

The death of Mayakovsky in 1930, emblematic poet of the Revolution, marked the end of an exceptional and unique adventure, the end of dreams and of utopias… (Source: Grimaldi Forum Monaco Press Kit 12 July – 06 September 2015 Exhibition pdf. )

Read more here

Image: Kazimir Malevich, Sportsmen, oil on canvas, 1930-31 ©State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

My Book Notes: Yellow Iris, 1937 (A Hercule Poirot Story) by Agatha Christie

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd, 2011. Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 4658 KB. Print Length: 40 pages. ASIN: B005IH0N7U. eISBN: 9780007451975. First published in issue 559 of the Strand Magazine in July 1937 and in book form in The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories in the US in 1939. It was published in book form in the UK in Problem at Pollensa Bay in 1991. Agatha Christie later used the central idea and setting of Yellow Iris in her 1945 full-length novel Sparkling Cyanide. The full-length novel has Colonel Race as the central investigative character in place of Poirot. The novel uses the basics of the short story, including the method of the poisoning, but changes the identity of the culprit(s) – not for the first time, when Christie rewrote her own work.

9780007451975Synopsis: When Hercule Poirot receives an alarming and strained telephone call, several words are whispered desperately, it’s life or death and table with the yellow irises. In this dark short story Poirot finds himself in the plush luxuriant restaurant Jardin des Cygnes, nervous to stop an impending murder and find the person behind the voice on the phone. Bumping into an old acquaintance, Poirot is invited to join a dinner party in full swing, but, just as the dancing and champagne are overflowing a morbid announcement is made and the lights go out, by the time the lights come back on, everything has changed.

More about this story: Published as a short story in 1937, Yellow Iris is set in a restaurant and the location obviously appealed to the BBC’s producers who commissioned an hour long adaptation for The National Programme. The Yellow Iris was broadcast in the same year but met with mixed reviews as the action/dialogue was interspersed with the performances of the cabaret artistes who were supposedly on the bill at the restaurant. As enjoyable as the acts were, they made it difficult to follow the plot! It marked Poirot’s debut on radio, played by Anthony Holles. Agatha Christie later used the central idea and setting of “Yellow Iris” in her 1945 full-length novel Sparkling Cyanide. It was adapted for television by Anthony Horowitz and directed by Peter Barber-Fleming as part of the ITV series Agatha Christie’s Poirot in 1993, starring David Suchet. It is unusual in that it shows flashbacks to 1935 and Poirot on holiday in Buenos Aires.

My take: After a mysterious phone call, Poirot presents himself at Jardin de Cygnes restaurant, where he joins a party hosted by an American millionaire. The table is set up for six diners, but only five are present. The American millionaire was commemorating her wife’s death in an odd way. He suspects that one of the five guests was responsible for his wife’s suicide four years ago at a New York restaurant and, therefore, has recreated the scene from that night with the same guests in an attempt to discover the culprit. But not all happens as he was expecting and one of the guests dies.

Maybe the most interesting aspect of this short story is to compare it with its extended version, Sparkling Cyanide, and, since I have not read it yet, I hope to read it soon. It isn’t exactly that I’ve much liked this short story, but I believe it’s quite interesting, in some aspects, and I’m curious to find out how Christie developed the plot later on, in the novel on which it is based.

My rating: Being over-generous, B.

About the Author: Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, DBE, known as Agatha Christie, was born in Torquay, England on September 15th, 1890. In 1914 she married Colonel Archibald Christie,an aviator in the Royal Flying Corps. The couple had one daughter, Rosalind, before their divorce in 1928. In a writing career that spanned more than half a century, Agatha Christie wrote 79 novels and short story collections. She also wrote over a dozen plays including The Mousetrap, which opened in London on November 25th, 1952, and is now the longest continuously running play in theatrical history. Christie’s first novel, The mysterious Affair at Styles (1920), was also the first to feature her eccentric Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Surely one of the most famous fictional creations of all times , Poirot’s ‘little grey cells’ triumphed over devious criminals in 33 novels and many dozens of short stories. Christie’s last published novel, Sleeping Murder (1976), featured her other world-famous sleuth, the shrewdly inquisitive Miss Jane Marple of St. Mary Mead. Miss Marple appeared in twelve novels, beginning with The Murder at the Vicarage in 1930. Both Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple have been widely dramatized in feature films and made-for-TV movies. Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), And Then There Were None (1945), and Death on the Nile (1978) are a few of the successful films based on her works. Agatha Christie also wrote six romantic novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. And she wrote as well four books including an autobiography and an entertaining account of the many archaeological expeditions she shared with her second husband, Sir Max Mallowan. In 1971, she achieved her country’s highest honour when she received the Order of Dame Commander of the British Empire. Agatha Christie died on January 12th, 1976. (Source: findebook.org)

Harper Collins UK publicity page

Harper Collins US publicity page

The Home of Agatha Christie website

Notes on Problem at Pollensa Bay

aubible

Iris amarillos, de Agatha Christie

Sinopsis: Cuando Hercule Poirot recibe una llamada telefónica alarmante y tensa, varias palabras se susurran desesperadamente, vida o muerte y la mesa de los iris amarillos. En este relato negro, Poirot se encuentra en el extremadamente lujoso restaurante Jardin des Cygnes, ansioso por impedir un asesinato inminente y encontrar a la persona que se enconde tras la voz del teléfono. Tropezándose con un viejo conocido, Poirot es invitado a unirse a una cena en pleno desarrollo, pero justo cuando el baile y el champán estan desbordados, se realiza un morboso anuncio y las luces se apagan. Cuando las luces vuelven a encenderse, todo ha cambiado

Más sobre esta historia: Publicada como un relato breve en 1937, “Iris amarillos” está ambientado en un restaurante y la ubicación obviamente atrajo a los productores de la BBC que encargaron una adaptación de una hora para el Programa Nacional. “Iris amarillos” se emitió el mismo año, pero se encontró con críticas variadas, ya que la acción/el diálogo se intercalaron con las actuaciones de los artistas de cabaret que supuestamente estaban en el programa del restaurante ¡Tan divertidas fueron sus actuaciones que hicieron difícil seguir la trama! Marcó el debut de Poirot en la radio, interpretado por Anthony Holles. Agatha Christie más tarde usó la idea central y el ambiente de “Iris amarillos” en su novela de 1945 Cianuro espumoso. Fue adaptado para televisión por Anthony Horowitz y dirigido por Peter Barber-Fleming como parte de la serie de la ITV Agatha Christie’s Poirot en 1993, protagonizada por David Suchet. Es inusual porque muestra flashbacks al 1935 y a Poirot de vacaciones en Buenos Aires.

Mi opinión: Tras una misteriosa llamada telefónica, Poirot se presenta en el restaurante Jardin de Cygnes, donde se une a una fiesta organizada por un millonario estadounidense. La mesa está preparada para seis comensales, pero solo cinco están presentes. El millonario estadounidense estaba conmemorando la muerte de su mujer de una manera extraña. Sospecha que uno de los cinco invitados fue responsable del suicidio de su mujer hace cuatro años en un restaurante de Nueva York y, por lo tanto, ha recreado la escena de esa noche con los mismos invitados en un intento por descubrir al culpable. Pero no todo sucede como esperaba y uno de los invitados muere.

Quizás el aspecto más interesante de este relato es compararlo con su versión ampliada, Cianuro espumoso, y, como no lo he leído todavía, espero leerlo pronto. No es exactamente que me haya gustado mucho este breve relato, pero creo que es bastante interesante, en algunos aspectos, y tengo curiosidad por saber cómo Christie desarrolló la trama más adelante, en la novela en la que se basa.

Mi valoración:  Siendo demasiado generoso, B.

Sobre el autor: Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, DBE, conocida como Agatha Christie, nació en Torquay, Inglaterra, el 15 de septiembre de 1890. En 1914 se casó con el coronel Archibald Christie, un aviador en el Royal Flying Corps. La pareja tuvo una hija, Rosalind, antes de su divorcio en 1928. En su carrera de escritora que abarcó más de medio siglo, Agatha Christie escribió 79 novelas y colecciones de relatos. También escribió más de una docena de obras de teatro, incluida La ratonera, que se estrenó en Londres el 25 de noviembre de 1952, y ahora es el espectáculo que más tiempo ha estado en cartelera de toda la historia del teatro. La primera novela de Christie, El misterioso caso de Styles (1920), fue también la primera en presentar a su excéntrico detective belga Hercule Poirot. Seguramente una de las creaciones de ficción más famosas de todos los tiempos, las “pequeñas células grises” de Poirot triunfaron sobre retorcidos delincuentes en 33 novelas y muchas docenas de relatos breves. La última novela publicada de Christie, Un crimen dormido (1976), está protagonizada por su otra detective mundialmente famosa, la astuta e inquisitiva Miss Jane Marple de St. Mary Mead. Miss Marple apareció en doce novelas, empezando con Muerte en la vicaría en 1930. Tanto las novelas de Hercule Poirot como las de Miss Marple han sido ampliamente dramatizadas en largometrajes y películas para la televisión. Asesinato en el Orient Express (1974), Testigo de cargo (1957), Diez negritos (1945), y Muerte en el Nilo (1978) son algunas de las películas de éxito basadas en sus obras. Agatha Christie también escribió seis novelas románticas bajo el seudónimo de Mary Westmacott. Y escribió cuatro libros que incluían una autobiografía y un relato entretenido de las muchas expediciones arqueológicas que compartió con su segundo marido, Sir Max Mallowan. En 1971, obtuvo el honor más alto de su país cuando fue nombrada Comendadora de la Orden del Imperio Británico. Agatha Christie murió el 12 de enero de 1976. (Fuente: findebook.org)

My Book Notes: Poirot and the Regatta Mystery, 1936 (A Hercule Poirot Story) by Agatha Christie

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd, 2011. Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 4583 KB. Print Length: 40 pages. ASIN: B005IGZUWO. eISBN: 9780007452002. This short story was first published in the USA in The Chicago Tribune on 3 May 1936, and in The Strand in June the same year. Agatha Christie rewrote the story for its first appearance in book form, substituting Parker Pyne in place of Hercule Poirot in the American anthology The Regatta Mystery (published by Dodd, Mead in June 1939). The original version is now available individually for the first time as an ebook in more than 60 years.

9780007452002Synopsis: A party steps off the beautiful yacht the Merrimaid to enjoy the festivities at shore. Amongst the fortune tellers and yachting races everyone is utterly at ease. But, when the youngest member of the party, little Eve, decides to play a trick with a 30,000 diamond named The Morning Star, the playful trick escalates into a dramatic jewel theft. Hercule Poirot is begged to solve the disappearance of The Morning Star by the most suspected member of the party, who pleads that he is not the purloiner, but then, who is?

My take: Although this short story provides a good example of Christie’s vigorous style, for my taste it’s far from being among the bests. The plot is trivial, Poirot’s assumptions are unjustified and the solution turn out being very predictable. In a nutshell, the story doesn’t work, in my view.

My rating: C (My expectations have not been met)

About the Author: Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, DBE, known as Agatha Christie, was born in Torquay,England on September 15th, 1890. In 1914 she married Colonel Archibald Christie,an aviator in the Royal Flying Corps. The couple had one daughter, Rosalind, before their divorce in 1928. In a writing career that spanned more than half a century, Agatha Christie wrote 79 novels and short story collections. She also wrote over a dozen plays including The Mousetrap, which opened in London on November 25th, 1952, and is now the longest continuously running play in theatrical history. Christie’s first novel, The mysterious Affair at Styles (1920), was also the first to feature her eccentric Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Surely one of the most famous fictional creations of all times , Poirot’s ‘little grey cells’ triumphed over devious criminals in 33 novels and many dozens of short stories. Christie’s last published novel, Sleeping Murder (1976), featured her other world-famous sleuth, the shrewdly inquisitive Miss Jane Marple of St. Mary Mead. Miss Marple appeared in twelve novels, beginning with The Murder at the Vicarage in 1930. Both Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple have been widely dramatized in feature films and made-for-TV movies. Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), And Then There Were None (1945), and Death on the Nile (1978) are a few of the successful films based on her works. Agatha Christie also wrote six romantic novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. And she wrote as well four books including an autobiography and an entertaining account of the many archaeological expeditions she shared with her second husband, Sir Max Mallowan. In 1971, she achieved her country’s highest honour when she received the Order of Dame Commander of the British Empire. Agatha Christie died on January 12th, 1976. (Source: findebook.org)

Harper Collins UK publicity page

Harper Collins US publicity page

The Home of Agatha Christie website

Notes on Problem at Pollensa Bay

Poirot y el misterio en las regatas, de Agatha Christie

Hasta donde yo se, este relato breve de Poirot no está traducido al español. Sólo está disponible la versión portagonizada por Parker Pyne, “Misterio en las regatas”.

Sinopsis: Una grupo sale del espléndido yate Merrimaid para disfrutar de las fiestas en la costa. Entre los adivinos y las carreras de yates, todos están completamente relajados. Pero cuando el miembro más joven del grupo, la pequeña Eve, decide hacer un truco con un diamante de 30,000 libras  llamado La Estrella de la Mañana, el simple truco termina siendo un dramático robo de joyas. El miembro más sospechoso del grupo le pide a Hercule Poirot que solucione la desaparición de la Estrella de la Mañana y declara su inocencia, pero entonces, ¿quién ha podido ser?

Mi opinión: Aunque este relato breve es un buen ejemplo del estilo vigoroso de Christie, para mi gusto está lejos de estar entre los mejores. La trama es trivial, las suposiciones de Poirot están injustificadas y la solución resulta muy predecible. En pocas palabras, la historia no funciona, en mi opinión.

Mi valoración: C (No se han cumplido mis expectativas)

Sobre el autor: Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, DBE, conocida como Agatha Christie, nació en Torquay, Inglaterra, el 15 de septiembre de 1890. En 1914 se casó con el coronel Archibald Christie, un aviador en el Royal Flying Corps. La pareja tuvo una hija, Rosalind, antes de su divorcio en 1928. En su carrera de escritora que abarcó más de medio siglo, Agatha Christie escribió 79 novelas y colecciones de relatos. También escribió más de una docena de obras de teatro, incluida La ratonera, que se estrenó en Londres el 25 de noviembre de 1952, y ahora es el espectáculo que más tiempo ha estado en cartelera de toda la historia del teatro. La primera novela de Christie, El misterioso caso de Styles (1920), fue también la primera en presentar a su excéntrico detective belga Hercule Poirot. Seguramente una de las creaciones de ficción más famosas de todos los tiempos, las “pequeñas células grises” de Poirot triunfaron sobre retorcidos delincuentes en 33 novelas y muchas docenas de relatos breves. La última novela publicada de Christie, Un crimen dormido (1976), está protagonizada por su otra detective mundialmente famosa, la astuta e inquisitiva Miss Jane Marple de St. Mary Mead. Miss Marple apareció en doce novelas, empezando con Muerte en la vicaría en 1930. Tanto las novelas de Hercule Poirot como las de Miss Marple han sido ampliamente dramatizadas en largometrajes y películas para la televisión. Asesinato en el Orient Express (1974), Testigo de cargo (1957), Diez negritos (1945), y Muerte en el Nilo (1978) son algunas de las películas de éxito basadas en sus obras. Agatha Christie también escribió seis novelas románticas bajo el seudónimo de Mary Westmacott. Y escribió cuatro libros que incluían una autobiografía y un relato entretenido de las muchas expediciones arqueológicas que compartió con su segundo marido, Sir Max Mallowan. En 1971, obtuvo el honor más alto de su país cuando fue nombrada Comendadora de la Orden del Imperio Británico. Agatha Christie murió el 12 de enero de 1976. (Fuente: findebook.org)

My Book Notes: The Second Gong, 1932 (A Hercule Poirot Story) by Agatha Christie

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd, 2011. Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 4674 KB. Print Length: 40 pages. ASIN: B005IGZUZ6. eISBN: 9780007452019. This short story was first published in the US in the June 1932 (Vol. 49 n.6)  issue of the Ladies’ Home Journal, and then in The Strand  issue n.499, July 1932 in the UK. It was later expanded into the novella-length ”Dead Man’s Mirror” for the book Murder in the Mews (Collins, March 1937). The original shorter version was eventually reprinted in book form in the US collection Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories (alongside 10 other novellas), published in 1948, and in the UK collection Problem at Pollensa Bay and Other Stories (alongside 7 other novellas), released in 1991.

9780007452019_thumb3Synopsis: Lytcham Close, one of the oldest stately homes in England is owned by the last remaining heir and is a house ruled by his intolerable whims. Old Hubert demands complete silence when he plays selected music and dinner is timed exactly by the resounding gong, no matter to trifle with. Rushing down at the hearing of the second, or is it the first gong, Joan Ashby is about to find out that not only is dinner delayed, but, she is about to hear a sound that no one can explain. Everyone is thrown into disarray when Old Hubert never materialises and instead a new guest is announced. The new guest is Hercule Poirot himself. What unfolds is a mystery of lovers, Michaelmas daisies and a death that is not as it appears.

More about this story: A classic locked room mystery from Agatha Christie. Hercule Poirot must solve the case of a murdered man, found with a gun in a locked room. The shorter version, “The Second Gong”, has never been adapted for TV, although “Dead Man’s Mirror” was included as part of the series Agatha Christie’s Poirot (1989-2013).

My take: I’ve very little to add to my previous post Murder in the Mews, here. “The Second Gong is a well-crafted and rather solid story that I prefer to the extended version, “Dead Man’s Mirror”. For my taste it has all the charm and simplicity of a classic locked room mystery.

My rating: B (I liked it)

About the Author: Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, DBE, known as Agatha Christie, was born in Torquay,England on September 15th, 1890. In 1914 she married Colonel Archibald Christie,an aviator in the Royal Flying Corps. The couple had one daughter, Rosalind, before their divorce in 1928. In a writing career that spanned more than half a century, Agatha Christie wrote 79 novels and short story collections. She also wrote over a dozen plays including The Mousetrap, which opened in London on November 25th, 1952, and is now the longest continuously running play in theatrical history. Christie’s first novel, The mysterious Affair at Styles (1920), was also the first to feature her eccentric Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Surely one of the most famous fictional creations of all times , Poirot’s ‘little grey cells’ triumphed over devious criminals in 33 novels and many dozens of short stories. Christie’s last published novel, Sleeping Murder (1976), featured her other world-famous sleuth, the shrewdly inquisitive Miss Jane Marple of St. Mary Mead. Miss Marple appeared in twelve novels, beginning with The Murder at the Vicaragein 1930. Both Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple have been widely dramatized in feature films and made-for-TV movies. Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), And Then There Were None (1945), and Death on the Nile (1978) are a few of the successful films based on her works. Agatha Christie also wrote six romantic novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. And she wrote as well four books including an autobiography and an entertaining account of the many archaeological expeditions she shared with her second husband, Sir Max Mallowan. In 1971, she achieved her country’s highest honour when she received the Order of Dame Commander of the British Empire. Agatha Christie died on January 12th, 1976. (Source: findebook.org)

Harper Collins UK publicity page

Harper Collins US publicity page

The Home of Agatha Christie website

Notes on Problem at Pollensa Bay

audible

El segundo gong, de Agatha Christie

Sinopsis: Lytcham Close, una de las casas señoriales más antiguas de Inglaterra, es propiedad del último heredero que queda y es una casa gobernada por sus intolerables caprichos. El viejo Hubert exige un silencio completo cuando toca la música elegida y la cena está rigurosamente programada por el sonido contundente de un gong, sin importar su insignificancia. Apresurándose al escuchar el segundo gong, o es el primero, Joan Ashby está a punto de descubrir que no solo se retrasa la cena, sino que está cerca de escuchar un ruido que nadie puede explicar. Todo se suma en un caos cuando el viejo Hubert no aparece y, en su lugar, se anuncia la presencia de un nuevo invitado. El nuevo invitado resulta ser el mismo Hércules Poirot. Lo que se desarrolla es un misterio de amantes, de margaritas de otoño y una muerte que no es lo que parece.

Más sobre esta historia: Clásico enigma de cuarto cerrado de Agatha Christie. Hercule Poirot debe resolver el caso de un hombre asesinado, encontrado con un arma en una habitación cerrada. La versión corta, “El segundo gong”, nunca fue adaptada para la televisión, aunque “El espejo del muerto” se incluyó como parte de la serie de TV Agatha Christie’s Poirot (1989-2013).

Mi opinión: Tengo muy poco que añadir a mi publicación anterior, Asesinato en Bardsley Mews, aquí. “El segundo gong” es un relato breve bien elaborado y bastante sólido que prefiero a la versión ampliada “El espejo del muerto”. Para mi gusto tiene todo el encanto y la sencillez del tipico enigma de cuarto cerrado.

Mi valoración: B (Me gustó)

Sobre el autor: Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, DBE, conocida como Agatha Christie, nació en Torquay, Inglaterra, el 15 de septiembre de 1890. En 1914 se casó con el coronel Archibald Christie, un aviador en el Royal Flying Corps. La pareja tuvo una hija, Rosalind, antes de su divorcio en 1928. En su carrera de escritora que abarcó más de medio siglo, Agatha Christie escribió 79 novelas y colecciones de relatos. También escribió más de una docena de obras de teatro, incluida La ratonera, que se estrenó en Londres el 25 de noviembre de 1952, y ahora es el espectáculo que más tiempo ha estado en cartelera de toda la historia del teatro. La primera novela de Christie, El misterioso caso de Styles (1920), fue también la primera en presentar a su excéntrico detective belga Hercule Poirot. Seguramente una de las creaciones de ficción más famosas de todos los tiempos, las “pequeñas células grises” de Poirot triunfaron sobre retorcidos delincuentes en 33 novelas y muchas docenas de relatos breves. La última novela publicada de Christie, Un crimen dormido (1976), está protagonizada por su otra detective mundialmente famosa, la astuta e inquisitiva Miss Jane Marple de St. Mary Mead. Miss Marple apareció en doce novelas, empezando con Muerte en la vicaría en 1930. Tanto las novelas de Hercule Poirot como las de Miss Marple han sido ampliamente dramatizadas en largometrajes y películas para la televisión. Asesinato en el Orient Express (1974), Testigo de cargo (1957), Diez negritos (1945), y Muerte en el Nilo (1978) son algunas de las películas de éxito basadas en sus obras. Agatha Christie también escribió seis novelas románticas bajo el seudónimo de Mary Westmacott. Y escribió cuatro libros que incluían una autobiografía y un relato entretenido de las muchas expediciones arqueológicas que compartió con su segundo marido, Sir Max Mallowan. En 1971, obtuvo el honor más alto de su país cuando fue nombrada Comendadora de la Orden del Imperio Británico. Agatha Christie murió el 12 de enero de 1976. (Fuente: findebook.org)

My Book Notes: The Mystery of the Spanish Chest, 1960 (A Hercule Poirot Story) by Agatha Christie

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

HarperCollins, 2014. Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 2919 KB. Print Length: 48 pages. ASIN: B00HPN3H6O. eISBN: 9780007452026. The Mystery of the Spanish Chest is an expanded version of The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest, written in 1932 and published in the US in the January 1932 (Volume LIIX, Number 1) issue of the Ladies Home Journal, and then in The Strand, January 1932 in the UK. Later on it  was published in the US in The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories in 1939 and also in While the Light Lasts in 1997. The first true publication of The Mystery of the Spanish Chest was in the magazine Women’s Illustrated. It was published in a UK collection later that year, The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding but would not appear in a US collection until 1997, in The Harlequin Tea Set.

515WH4GFdvL_thumb[3]Synopsis: A newspaper headline about the arrest of a murderer raises Poirot’s suspicions that there has been a miscarriage of justice. A visit to the scene of the crime to meet the witnesses should allow him to uncover the truth.

More about this story: Poirot is called upon by Lady Chatterton to protect her good friend Margharita Clayton. Lady Chatterton is terrified that Marguerite’s husband, Edward, with his violent temper will kill his poor wife. However, when Edward is found dead, stuffed into a Spanish Chest, Poirot must reassess the situation. Who could be responsible? The Mystery of the Spanish Chest was adapted for TV in 1991 starring David Suchet, and featured the characters of Hastings (Hugh Fraser), Japp (Philip Jackson) and Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran).

My take: The story revolves around the murder of Mr Clayton, whose body was discovered stabbed to the heart inside a piece of furniture called the Spanish chest at Major Rich’s home. The night before the discovery of such a macabre finding, a party was held at his place. The guests were Mrs Clayton, Mr and Mrs Spence, and Commander McLaren. Mr Clayton had excused his presence for having been summoned to Scotland on urgent business. The simple suggestion that Major Rich and Mrs Clayton were very close friends provides a reason enough to explain the crime. Therefore Major Charles Rich is charged with the murder of Mr Arnold Clayton and taken into custody. The matter might have stayed there as a straightforward case, if it was not for the fact that, through a mutual friend, Mrs Clayton comes into contact with Hercule Poirot to seek his assistance. Even though, strictly speaking, the case is no business of Poirot’s, Poirot becomes obsessed with it. “Why did the whole business intrigue him so much? He decided, after reflection, that it was because – as the facts were related – the whole thing was more or less impossible! Yes, there was a Euclidean flavour.”

The Mystery of the Spanish Chest is an expanded version of The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest, written in 1932. The original short story can be found in the volume Hercule Poirot: The Complete Short Stories – A Hercule Poirot Collection with Foreword by Charles Todd by Agatha Christie (HarperCollins, 2011). In the Spanish chest, the character of Captain Hastings is replaced by Miss Lemon.

I must recognised I enjoyed reading this novella-length, more than the original short story.

My rating: B (I liked it)

About the Author: Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, DBE, known as Agatha Christie, was born in Torquay,England on September 15th, 1890. In 1914 she married Colonel Archibald Christie,an aviator in the Royal Flying Corps. The couple had one daughter, Rosalind, before their divorce in 1928. In a writing career that spanned more than half a century, Agatha Christie wrote 79 novels and short story collections. She also wrote over a dozen plays including The Mousetrap, which opened in London on November 25th, 1952, and is now the longest continuously running play in theatrical history. Christie’s first novel, The mysterious Affair at Styles (1920), was also the first to feature her eccentric Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Surely one of the most famous fictional creations of all times , Poirot’s ‘little grey cells’ triumphed over devious criminals in 33 novels and many dozens of short stories. Christie’s last published novel, Sleeping Murder (1976), featured her other world-famous sleuth, the shrewdly inquisitive Miss Jane Marple of St. Mary Mead. Miss Marple appeared in twelve novels, beginning with The Murder at the Vicarage in 1930. Both Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple have been widely dramatized in feature films and made-for-TV movies. Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), And Then There Were None (1945), and Death on the Nile (1978) are a few of the successful films based on her works. Agatha Christie also wrote six romantic novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. And she wrote as well four books including an autobiography and an entertaining account of the many archaeological expeditions she shared with her second husband, Sir Max Mallowan. In 1971, she achieved her country’s highest honour when she received the Order of Dame Commander of the British Empire. Agatha Christie died on January 12th, 1976. (Source: findebook.org)

HarperCollins UK publicity page

HarperCollins US publicity page

The Home of Agatha Christie Website 

Notes On The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding

audible

El misterio del cofre español, de Agatha Christie

Sinopsis: El titular de un periódico sobre el arresto de un asesino levanta las sospechas de Poirot de que ha podido haber un error judicial. Una visita a la escena del crimen para conocer a los testigos debe permitirle descubrir la verdad.

Más sobre esta historia: Poirot es llamado por Lady Chatterton para proteger a su buena amiga Marguerite Clayton. Lady Chatterton está aterrorizada de que el esposo de Marguerite, Edward, con su temperamento violento pueda matar a su pobre esposa. Sin embargo, cuando Edward es encontrado muerto, metido en un cofre español, Poirot debe reevaluar la situación. ¿Quién podría ser responsable? El misterio del cofre español fue adaptado a la televisión en 1991, en una serie protagonizado por David Suchet, y contó con los personajes de Hastings (Hugh Fraser), Japp (Philip Jackson) y Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran).

Mi opinión: La historia gira en torno al asesinato del señor Clayton, cuyo cuerpo fue descubierto apuñalado dentro de un mueble llamado el Cofre español en la casa del mayor Rich. La noche anterior al descubrimiento de un hallazgo tan macabro, se celebró una fiesta en su casa. Los invitados fueron la señora Clayton, el señor y la señora Spence y el comandante McLaren. El señor Clayton había excusado su presencia por haber sido llamado a Escocia para tratar un asunto urgente. La simple sugerencia de que el mayor Rich y la señora Clayton eran amigos muy cercanos proporciona una razón suficiente para explicar el crimen. Por lo tanto, el mayor Charles Rich es acusado del asesinato de Arnold Clayton y detenido. El asunto podría haber quedado allí, como un caso sencillo, si no fuera por el hecho de que, a través de una amiga común, la señora Clayton entra en contacto con Hercule Poirot para pedirle ayuda. Aunque, estrictamente hablando, el caso no es asunto de Poirot, Poirot se obsesiona con él. “¿Por qué todo el asunto le intrigó tanto? Después de reflexionar, decidió que era porque, según estaban relacionados los hechos, todo era más o menos imposible. Sí, tenía un cierto sabor euclidiano “.

El misterio del cofre español es una versión ampliada de El misterio del cofre de Bagdad, escrito en 1932. El breve relato original se puede encontrar en el volumen Hercule Poirot: The Short Short Stories Una colección Hercule Poirot con Prólogo de Charles Todd por Agatha Christie (HarperCollins, 2011). En el cofre español , el personaje del Capitan Hastings es reemplazado por el de Miss Lemon.

Debo reconocer que disfruté leyendo esta novela corta, más que el breve relato original.

Mi valoración: B (Me gustó)

Sobre el autor: Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, DBE, conocida como Agatha Christie, nació en Torquay, Inglaterra, el 15 de septiembre de 1890. En 1914 se casó con el coronel Archibald Christie, un aviador en el Royal Flying Corps. La pareja tuvo una hija, Rosalind, antes de su divorcio en 1928. En su carrera de escritora que abarcó más de medio siglo, Agatha Christie escribió 79 novelas y colecciones de relatos. También escribió más de una docena de obras de teatro, incluida La ratonera, que se estrenó en Londres el 25 de noviembre de 1952, y ahora es el espectáculo que más tiempo ha estado en cartelera de toda la historia del teatro. La primera novela de Christie, El misterioso caso de Styles (1920), fue también la primera en presentar a su excéntrico detective belga Hercule Poirot. Seguramente una de las creaciones de ficción más famosas de todos los tiempos, las “pequeñas células grises” de Poirot triunfaron sobre retorcidos delincuentes en 33 novelas y muchas docenas de relatos breves. La última novela publicada de Christie, Un crimen dormido (1976), está protagonizada por su otra detective mundialmente famosa, la astuta e inquisitiva Miss Jane Marple de St. Mary Mead. Miss Marple apareció en doce novelas, empezando con Muerte en la vicaría en 1930. Tanto las novelas de Hercule Poirot como las de Miss Marple han sido ampliamente dramatizadas en largometrajes y películas para la televisión. Asesinato en el Orient Express (1974), Testigo de cargo (1957), Diez negritos (1945), y Muerte en el Nilo (1978) son algunas de las películas de éxito basadas en sus obras. Agatha Christie también escribió seis novelas románticas bajo el seudónimo de Mary Westmacott. Y escribió cuatro libros que incluían una autobiografía y un relato entretenido de las muchas expediciones arqueológicas que compartió con su segundo marido, Sir Max Mallowan. En 1971, obtuvo el honor más alto de su país cuando fue nombrada Comendadora de la Orden del Imperio Británico. Agatha Christie murió el 12 de enero de 1976. (Fuente: findebook.org)