100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

October 12, 1975 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1975-10-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Poge Four

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Sunday, October 12, 197:5

BOO

KS

Agatha Christie: Thrilling close for sleuth Poirot

CURTAIN by Agatha Christie.
New York: Dodd, Mead &
Company 260 pp., $7.95. .
By DEBRA IHURWITZ
THERE MUST BE a pattern
which, once found, would
enable an Agatha Christie read-
er to crack the hard nut which
is a murder case and discover'
the truth at its cores, The deli-
cious frustration is however,
that no such pattern can be
found. Agatha Christie has writ-
ten eighty - five books during
her long tenure as the Grande
Dame of mystery fiction, and
though I have read every one
I could get my hands on -
which is most of them - any
pattern continues to elude me.
Curtain is Christie's latest
publication, though it was writ-
ten in the 1940's. Since she so
brilliantly occupied so manyI
hours of my adolescence, I find
it difficult to criticize Dame Ag-
atha; nevertheless, with the ex-
ception of Nemesis, the mys-
teries she has written since 1970
have simply not been up to
snuff. The cases have been just
as hard to crack, and the reso-
lutions just as neat, but the
stories themselves have not
been as stylistically tight, as
skilfully drawn or as interesting
as the bulk of Christie's earlier,
work. Afficionadoes may, well

ask how anything can measure
up to the fascinating twists and
turns of The Murder of Roger
Ackroyd, the gripping, page-
turning tension of And Then
There' Were None or the, in-
credibly complex resolution of
The A.B.C. Murders. While
from a contextual point of view,
Curtain is not quite another of
these all-time greats, it will no
doubt stand with them by virtue
1of the uniqueness of its content.
Curtain is, of course, the work
in which Christie polishes
off Hercule Poirot, her very fa-
mous and very eggheaded Bel-
gian detective. She intended to
have thebook published post-
humously, presumably in order
to forestall any attempts on the
parts of other mystery writers
to take up M. Poirot's adven-
tures where she was forced to
leave them off. Happily, she de-
cided to publish it sooner:
though it would have been
worth the wait, I for one .am
very glad to have it now..
With such a history, any book
would be hard-pressed to dis-
appoint such an avid reader.
Sure enough, I found Curtain
thrilling. The scene is set at
Styles St. Mary, the scene of
Christie's first Poirot mystery,
written fifty-five years ago. M.
Poirot, we read, is again a

guest at Styles Court, but the is woven; the tension mounts.
country house of The Mysteri- Though the seasoned Christie'
ous Affair at Styles has become reader will immediately pick up
a partitioned guest house in small clues, half-sentences and
Curtain. Indeed, the theme of ideas which smack of import-
change, of time passing, per- -ance by virtue of their very
meates this mystery; it is play- insignificance, the climax de-
ed off against a counter-theme fies precognition. I deduced half,
of the essential sameness of the answer, but like most read-
things. Once again, we find ers I had to be told, along with;
Poirot at Styles on the trail of
a killer, and though time has
altered nearly everything in one
way or another, the little detec-
tive's life has come full-circle.
He is back to finish his career
where he began it so many
years ago:
Poirot has sent for Captain
Hastings, who for me has al-
ways brought to mind the erst-
while, lovable, but decidedly
dense Watson of Sherlock
Holmes fame. Hastings arrives
at Styles Court amidst a passel<
.of old memories which are
mixed with the all - too - sad
experiences of his recent life.
The captain finds his Belgian
friend in a sorry state: Poirot poor Hastings, what was what inX
is aged and arthritic, confined the end.
to a wheelchair, without even Of course once I knew "who
the ministrations of the faithful dunit" I was able to see how
Georges (for the valet has been carefully Christie had written
called away to attend to his ill Curtain. As in Roger AckroydI
father). Nevertheless, despite or The A.B.C. Murders, little in
his physical decrepitude, Poi- Curtain is extraneous. Natur-I
rot's notorious grey cells are as ally, there is a red-herring or
active as ever; *as Poirot re- two, but nothing which does notI
marks: "My rule, remember, lead meaningfullyvto the resolu-

matic, explicable, and plausi-
ble ones and - damn it! -
they ought to be deducible.
Apart from its structural ex-
cellence, Curtain will take its
place as one of the foremost
among Christie's mysteries be-
cause it represents the end of a
legend. I must confess to some
tears for M. Poirot; Christie
has described his finish with
pathos, humor, and a great deal
of sympathy. Though Poirot had,
to die, he had the good fortune
to die with a flourish, gray cells
once more, and finally, trium-
phant over the forces of mur-
der.
MYSTERY NOVELS ARE pe-
culiar in that they are one-
time experiences. There is little
pleasure in rereading a mys-
tery: upon second reading, the
reader is omniscient and the so-
1tion seems banally obvious.
Thus, the demise of Hercule Poi-
rot signifies the demise of a
great pleasure for me and any
other intemperate Christie read-
ers who have seized and devour-
ed al ithe Poirot mysteries with
no thoughts to the future. Cur-
tain is tinged with a sadness,
finally, which the other Poirot
mysteries lack; as Poirot would
have said, "It is, you compre-
hend, the end. La fin, mon
ami."
Debra Hurwitz is the Daily's
Assistant Editorial Director.

I
's
"{
i
i
ij
.(
:j

WIND POWER
SAILBOATS & ICEBOATS
FALL DISCOUNTS Featuring:
* SUNFLOWER
* BANSHEE-Winner of
Yachting OAK Regetta
t SKIMMER 45
* SNOWBI RD
All boats easily cartopped
XMAS & SPRING LAYAWAYS
WINDWARD 'SAIL
CALL 971-5155 Open Eves. Sat. & Sun.
. . ::: :
-}-a-t

has alwaysdbeen the same - tion is incorporated into the
sit back and think. That I can body of thetnovel. I remain
thing possible to me." despite my own inability to per-
present in Curtain. One by one, markably fit culmination to the I
the guests at Styles are intro- mystery. Christie has no unfair I
duced, each touched by at least tricks up her sleeve, no secret
one sinister stroke. Line by line, trap-doors, no invisible wires;
episode by episode, the tapestry her resolutions are very prag- THE
CHO
AME
AUDITIONS for UAC Children's Kidn
' Theatre Production of illus.
FREE TO BE YOU AND ME TAK
(based on the TV presentation with Mario Thomas) nic
Sta
Tues., Oct. 14 Wed., Oct. 15 Build
gell H-
7:30-9:30 2040 Frieze Bldg. look
Please come prepared with a song ents1
FURTHER INFO. 763-1 107 down
door,
the U

stroll through American architecture
II ou ever wantfed to know--an more

ARCHITECTURE OF
ICE: ECLECTICISM IN
ERICA 1880-1930 Walter C.
ey (New York: George
iller, Inc., 1974), 178 pp.,
. $4.95.
By TOM ELLIOT
KE A HALF hour the next'
ce day.
nd on the steps of the LS&A
ing and look across at An-
Hall. Cross State Street and
back. Walk around Clem-
Library, go inside and sit
for five minutes; go next
and do the same thing at1
JGLI. Then go over to the
Quad, walk around the in-
and go diagonally across
treet to the Business Ad-
tration Building.
at you will have been do-
s experiencing, in capsule
the difference between ar-
:tural eclecticism and mod-
m, between buildings
ed in the styles of past eras
buildings which avoid all
rical reference and try in-
to express structure and
ion in their. exteriors.

MO)DERNISM - admittedly, a What Walter Kidney does in "Eclecticism today," Kidney
fuzzy term - has been dom- The Architecture of Choice is to says, "is like a person who has
inant for so long now that, if survey that fifty years of Amer- almost lived down an ancient
we bother to think about it at ican e c 1 e c t i c architecture, scandal, a person whose crime
all, our natural assumption is sketch the careers of some of was once exposed, but who is
that buildings ought to express the major practitoners, discuss now regarded merely as old and
plainly what their function is the appeal and uses of specific harmless, if not quite respect-
and what are the materials and styles, and speculate, though not able."
construction systems with which extensively, on possible causes The Architecture of Choice at-
they are built. Putting it less of the eclectic phenomenon as a tempts to lead us away from
precisely, but probably in the ! whole. In short, he treats eclec- this attitude of mixed contempt
terms most of us use, buildings I ticism as a phase of American and amusement toward not only
built in. the present ought to| architecture worth taking sera- an understanding of the history
look new. ously and considering on its own of eclecticism but also toward
! terms. . an appreciation, of the appeal
Onnenthat ityhadiforrAmericans.QIt

Consequentiy, the use of ns-
toric styles and forms in build-
ing - eclecticism - seems a bi-
zarreaberration of our grand-
parents. After all, why should a
20th century law library look
like a Gothic cathedral?

that it had for Americans. It
QUCH AN approach may not was, Kidney points out, an ar-
seem very remarkable, but chitecture in which "the human
until fairly recently it would not factor was involved most con-



-,

* a

_a

* QI *{7
s-sVf ! "
"t& Lr t "o
OQWeJ- civct;LA i

The University of Michigan
School of Music
Faculty Chramber Concerts
SECOND PROGRAM
ELIZABETH MOSHER, soprano
JOHN McCOLLUM, tenor
JAMES DAPOGNY, piano
ROSEMARY RUSSELL, mezzo-soprano
JOHN MOHLER, clarinet
NANCY HODGE, harpsichord
CHARLES OWEN, percussion
ASSOCIATES: Kirk Toth, Marianne Toth, violin; Susan
Robinson, viola; Linda Richter, Younq-Sook Yun, cello;
John Hood, continuo
SUNDAY, OCT. 19, at 4:00 p.m.
RACKHAM AUDITORIUM
Teleman, Ellis, J.S. Bach
"Jelly Roll" Morton
ADMISSION COMPLIMENTARY

Law
side
the s
minis
Wht
ing is
form,
chitec
ernisr
clothe
and
histor
stead
functi

But Americans must have felt
there was some reason, since in
the fifty years or so before the
Depression very little building
was done which wasn't eclectic,
which didn't suggest Greece,
Rome, the Middle Ages, Tudor
houses, Spanish missions, or a.
multitude of other historic pre-
cedents, either singly or in com-
binations.
- -.~--~-- -. --- I

We are beginning to
understand t h a t
modernism is no
guarantee of archi-
tectural desirability.
Pure and honest ex-
pression of structure
and function c a n
produce buildings
which are ugly
(UGLI) a n d ineffi-
cient.

-

{..

S

s

4

Ii -~ m
*0~

U

4

Don't Let The U
Screw You Again!
SGC is interviewing for ACRICS
(Athletic-Advisory Committee on Recreation
Intramurals Club-Sports)
Interviews will be held
for 2 Student Positions
MONDAY, OCT. 13th
Stop by the 3RD FLOOR OF THE UNION for an
application and more information.
West Side Book Shop
Fine Used, Rare and Out-of-Print
Books Bought and Sold
" MODERN FIRSTS
* AMERICAN INDIANS
* POETRY
e MUSIC
e AMERICANA
a OCCULT
113 W. Liberty-995-1891
MON.-SAT.: 111:00 A.M. TO 6:00 P.M.
THURS., FRI. NITES TILL 9:00 P.M.

FIND BIG SAVINGS AT THE VAULT

have been taken at all by any-
one wishing to avoid a scholar-
hy reputation as a crank or a
fool.
Kidney reminds us that, like
other forms of history, architec-
tural history is written by the
victors, and the victory of mod-
ernism over eclecticism in the
20's and 30's was full of hard
feelings, many of which have
carried over into more recent
scholarship. No one today is as
vituperative as the architect
Louis Sullivan, who in 1922 re-
ferred to one building as "a
lewd exhibit of drooling imbecil-
ity and political debauchery,"
but eclecticism is stll looked on,
for the most part, as shallow
and insignificant at best and dis-
honest and immoral at worst.
spicuously, one whose works are
beyond a certain point incom-
prehensible without understand-
ing and lending sympathy to an
earlier generation, its society,
DEC.RADS:
To attend Commence-
ment, you must order a
cap and gown, by Nov.14
at
university cellar.

and its attitudes."
TIlIS BOOK, which, with only
70 pages of text, is intended
to be more suggestive than ex-
haustive, does not inquire very
deeply into the nature of the
society which embraced eclec-
ticism - that, perhaps, requires
a social as well as an architec-
t'iral historian - but the sym-
pathy he calls for is clearly
there. He wants us to be inter-
ested in the eclectics because
they are artists and people
worth knowing., To this end he
provides some 150 illustrations
of eclectic work, many of which
are being made readily acces-
sible for the first time.
Kidney is a publicist in this
book, but not a polemicist. He
wants us to appreciate the real
merits of eclecticism, but he is
as aware as any modernist of
its excesses; he tells us, for ex-
ample, of the stone steps at
Yale which were mechanically
ground down to simulate great
age. He is not calling for, nor
does he seriously expect, a
great resurgence of eclecticism.
Furthermore, there was al-
ways a certain amount of over-
lap between eclecticism and
modernism. Kidney briefly dis-
cusses the example of the De-
troit architect Albert Kahn, who
is best known for his modernist
industrial work; but who also
did a number of Eclectic build-
ings, including Clements Li-
brary.
PUT WHY IS all this import-
ant? Isn't this simply an ab-
stract, academic argument? Ec-
lecticism, modernism - what's
the big deal?
We live our lives surrounded
by architecture. The buildings
in the little tour I suggested are
not strange and exotic. You
probably see most of them and
go in and out of some every day.
And the buildings we live in do
affect our lives: you feel differ-
ently inside Clements Library
than you do inside the UGLI,
and it isn't just the chairs.
We are beginning to under-
stand that modernism is no
guarantee of desirability. Pure
and honest expression of struc-
ture and function can produce
buildings which are ugly (UGLI)
M and inefficient: ask an engineer
about heat loss from glass sky-
scrapers.
O IT MIGHT be wise to set
aside our modernist precon-
ceptions about the inherent d:s-
honesty of using historical styles
and try to see the strengths of
eclectic architecture. If ve have
to make decisions about what

SAVE

STEPS
MONEY
TIME

DRIVE IN-DRIVE STRAIGHT THRU
CHO tSE FROM OUR WIDE SELECTION OF
ICE COLD BEER and WINE-
Domestic & Imported
Champagne - Keg Beer - Cold Pop
Ice--Crushed, Cubed or Block
All From the Safety and Convenience of Your Car
FOR THE ECOLOGY MINDED . .
We Accept Returnable Bottles
-OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK-
CORNER OF FIFTH AND CATHERINE
t"1rx++Mlx "+.M~x. .

FREDERICK WISEMAN'S
JUVENILE COURT
A cinema verite look at the workings of a Juvenile Court by
that great documentary maker, Frederick Wiseman, who is

t+ft~ tte b.,{te , +a Its+a,,

BEER

..1'.:,. t t'11

! E

,

13

A1

e

Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan