You know how when you’re reading a formulaic series, or watching one on tv, for that matter, you can kind of predict after a while what is going to happen? Oh, maybe not precisely – you might not know, in the case of a detective or crime series, who the suspicion is going to fall on to next, but you know the series cycles through several probable characters before presenting the culprit. That’s usually the point in which you should stop watching or reading and go do something else, less the predictability mar your enjoyment of the series.
Unless you’re reading Agatha Christie. Because then you can go on reading, safe in your superior assumption that you can see where Christie is going. Perhaps you’ll mentally shake your head, wondering why Hastings is missing all those important clues when they’re plain as day pointing to one particular character. Perhaps you’ll even think that this isn’t one of Mrs. Christie’s best novels, as it’s so clear half-way through whodunnit! And then you’ll get to the end and laugh and laugh at yourself because the trick is on you – whodunnit was done by someone else, which you hadn’t seen coming in the slightest. There’s nothing like a well-written crime book to bring on some humility.
Well played, Dame Christie, well played.