The Murder on the Links
New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1923. First Edition. Hardcover. 1st edition of her 3rd novel, her 2nd featuring Hercule Poirot, and her 1st in which her writing concepts become completely polished (3–2–1). This NY edition precedes all others. It was received by the Library of Congress on March 17, 1923, (at least) 6 weeks before the London edition was published in May, and confirming its actual issue (beyond its date of deposit), it was reviewed in The NY Times on March 25th, while the London edition was not reviewed in The London Times Literary Supplement until June 7th, and in The Observer until June 10th. Original cloth, fine (brilliant), thin blue paper remnant at front inner hinge (maybe a shard from a review slip, and easily removable), in a very good, unrepaired dustjacket, a little dusty, with small chips to the top of the spine, and smaller nicks to the base and corners, $1.75 price clipped but it’s not a point of issue because G&D did the 1923 reprint, the dustjacket conforms exactly, including hype for The Secret Adversary on the rear flap with that book still priced $1.75, and the pristine cloth bolsters the conclusion it was covered by a jacket from the day it was published. Fine / very good. Item #404
Agatha Christie is the all time best selling author in the history of planet Earth. Shakespeare is the only author whose sales are close, and other than him, Christie’s total sales (in 85 or so books) are 4 times those of anyone else. W. W. I choked art, but the 1920s bloomed with pent up literary energy, and today there are 40 or so novels from the decade that are classics (defined here as still being read in huge numbers for entertainment) and their 1st editions are, therefore, determinedly pursued with zeal by those enamored of the times or seeking comprehensive collections. Murder on the Links is one of them, and still outsells most of them, and its jacket is as rare as any of them, and rarer than almost all of them. And yes, it’s 60,000 dollars, but that’s only 33,315 Celsius. Firstly (1–2–3), this may not be Agatha Christie, quite yet, at the absolute apogee of her abilities, but she was 32 years old and certainly threw all she had into the plotline of Murder on the Links. It remains broadly praised as among her best, and it grips the reader at a much faster pace than her 1st Poirot novel, Mysterious Affair at Styles. Secondly, if you’re looking for a golf thriller, keep looking, because except for the crime scene, the links play no role. Thirdly, any coherent dissection of the storyline, its complexities, and its stunning conclusion, in any detail, is beyond the space I can give it, since it contains a universe of elements, tensions, and twists, and it only lacks the inclusion of vampires, secret agents, robots, and The Black Hand. Here’s a prelude: A note beckons the Belgian detective and his aide Hastings to the French north coastal home of M. Renauld, a millionaire in fear of his life. They arrive too late and find him murdered, allegedly by foreign gangsters (or a jilted lover), and buried in an open grave. Poirot finds that 2 of the principals have criminal pasts, and are living under assumed names, and the jilted lover may not have been a lover at all. Then another corpse appears, upsetting the prevailing theories, and the serious work of detection accelerates, seen by the nosey reader through the magnificent intellectual powers of the amazing Hercule Poirot.