Monday, April 20, 2009

A Library for Miss Lemon

"Anything that she mentioned as worth consideration usually was worth consideration."

Were Miss Lemon, Agatha Christie's paragon of organization and efficiency, not employed as private secretary to two of the world's top detectives, one can't help but think that she'd make a librarian, nonpareil.

Even if her appearance is a bit severe, Miss Lemon's judgment is impeccable; her reason unshakable. What she may lack in imagination, she more than makes up for in exacting good sense. In short, Miss Lemon is a woman who errs almost never and who can be relied upon always. She's even set plans afoot to patent the perfect filing system.

Connoisseurs of crime fiction fist make Miss Felicity Lemon's acquaintance in Parker Pyne Investigates. But it's Hercule Poirot (that perennial student of human psychology) who sums her up so smartly in Hickory Dickory Dock: "She was never ill, never tired, never upset, never inaccurate. [...] She knew everything, she coped with everything."

Who better to turn to when one needs a good mystery recommendation?

But fiction being what it is -- and Agatha Christie's detective fiction, especially, being so unforgettable -- Miss Lemon will be forever fixed among the pages of Poirot's phone messages, client calling cards and case files and Mr. Parker Pyne's statistics. Even so, it's not difficult to imagine the library of crime fiction Miss Lemon would amass if given the proper resources.

Her first-hand experience with the masters of armchair detection has doubtless developed a palate for only the choicest whodunits, which she will periodically recommend in "Miss Lemon's Mysteries."

Occasionally, Miss Lemon may find it prudent to recommend books that are not technically crime fiction but yet are works that she feels possess such adequate intrigue or suspense to warrant notice in this column. We hope you can forgive Miss Lemon the occasional peccadillo. She's never really wrong, you see...

Next time, she promises to take on the work of her own creator in her review of Taken at the Flood (1948). Of course, if in the interim one feels the urge to read up on the redoubtable Miss Lemon herself, one should look no further than the above-mentioned Parker Pyne Investigates (1934) or the equally good Hickory Dickory Dock (1955). You'll also see her in Dead Man's Folly (1956) and the aptly-named Elephants Can Remember (1972).


  1. Great blog! I'll definitely be visiting often!

  2. Very excited to read your recommendations! Brava!

  3. This looks great, can't wait for the reviews to begin!

  4. Ah, Meeesss Lem-on: your, comment dire, blog, eet eeess of ze most intairesting, I am thinking. felicitations.