Saturday, March 27, 2010


The other night we watched The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie. As Hercule Poirot gathered clues and investigated suspects, my husband said, “This would be a lot simpler with DNA evidence.” It got me thinking about how contemporary novels have changed.

Remember when:
  • Mystery novels were built around clocks and train schedules instead of cheek swabs and blood tests
  • Spy stories involved confrontations with the Soviet Block
  • It was impossible to reach a character by telephone
  • Pirates marked the spot with an X not global coordinates
  • The guilty worried about destroying incriminating negatives rather than deleting files
  • Questions of paternity could support an entire plot

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