Thursday 20 January 2022

Was Agatha Christie Anti-Semitic, Really, After All?

Agatha Christie's mystery Cat Among the Pigeons is set mainly in a high-class girls' school, but the story starts in the imaginary Middle Eastern country of Ramat. Its leader, fearing a coup, makes a quick getaway. But he leaves his most valuable possessions in the hands of his pilot - somehow the package must get to London, where it will be handed over to a "Mr Robinson". Mr R, who is large and "yellow", is a constant in Christie's more thrillerish plots. He collaborates with the British security services, represented by Colonel Pikeaway, who is to be found behind a door marked "marine biology" in a chaotic bookshop which is clearly the late, lamented "Foyle's". Yes, Mr R is definitely on the side of the angels. After some exciting episodes, including several murders, Poirot hands over the package. But, he wonders, who is Mr Robinson exactly, what is his function, and what is he going to do with the loot?

“It is a very old trade,” said Mr. Robinson. “And a lucrative one. There are quite a lot of us, a network all over the globe. We are, how shall I put it, the Arrangers behind the scenes. For kings, for presidents, for politicians, for all those, in fact, upon whom the fierce light beats, as a poet has put it. We work in with one another and remember this:
we keep faith. Our profits are large but we are honest. Our services are costly—but we do render service.”

After this very modern-sounding conspiracy theory, pointing the finger at himself, Mr R takes the package, and does the decent thing. Of course, those conspiracy theories are not so modern. 

More here, and links to the rest.

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