A Word on Words | NPT

S6 E13 | FULL EPISODE

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie | Marie Benedict | NPT

“I think the intellectual puzzle of Agatha Christie’s stories is fascinating onto itself. You know, she doesn’t play any games or tricks. It’s not like supernatural beings come in and fix everything in the end. The answers are all there, but you have to be able to figure them out.” Author Marie Benedict talks with NPT host J.T. Ellison about her novel THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE.

AIRED: May 13, 2021 | 0:02:30
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TRANSCRIPT

(typewriter tapping)

(bell dinging)

(typewriter carriage return)

- [Marie] Hi, I'm Marie Benedict

and this is The Mystery of Mrs. Christie.

On the evening of December 3rd, 1926

a young mother

and wife of a World War 1 pilot hero

disappeared in mysterious circumstances.

That woman was Agatha Christie

and The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

offers a fictional resolution

for that disappearance.

- [J.T.] So how much of the story is true,

verifiable fact?

And where do you slide information in

that's your interpretation of it?

- I drew very heavily on her autobiography,

which if you're an Agatha Christie fan,

I highly recommend, it's fantastic.

But of course, Agatha is her own unreliable narrator

because in her own autobiography

she not once mentioned her disappearance.

So you kind of have to take

her recounting of her history

with a grain of salt, verify things.

And that's kind of how it works

with most of my books, you know,

the research guides you

but then it always leaves

black holes for you to fill in.

(mysterious music)

- [J.T.] What do you think it is

about Agatha Christie that we find so appealing?

- [Marie] I think first,

just the intellectual puzzle

of her stories is fascinating unto itself.

You know, she doesn't play any games or tricks.

It's not like supernatural beings

come in and fix everything in the end.

The answers are all there

but you have to be able to figure them out.

- Tell me a little bit

about how you choose

your extraordinary women to write about.

- Well, the funny thing about finding them

is that I literally find them everywhere.

You know, I feel like once I, you know,

I was a lawyer in an old life

and really always loved history

and never really thought of myself as a writer.

But once I committed to that path

I feel like I developed almost like a sense for them.

- [J.T.] For more of my conversation with Marie Benedict

please visit awordonwords.org.

I'm J.T. Ellison, keep reading.

(bell dinging)

- [Marie] When I think back on my kind of past

and how I ended up here

it actually goes all the way back to middle school.

And I think girls, especially,

but all people,

it's almost like who you were

and what you were passionate about

when you were in those middle school years

before society kind of came in

and told you who and what you should be,

I think that's a really important time.

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