What’s Going on at the Bells and Motley? Agatha Christie, Folklore, and the Challenge of Rationality

Elizabeth Adams (California State University, Bakersfield)

Supernatural ideas and folk beliefs repeatedly occur as accessories to murder in Agatha Christie mysteries and are inevitably debunked by her detectives. Less well known in her oeuvre is a series of short stories featuring the Harley Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite. The Quin stories are both reflective of and a discourse against the rational world of her other mysteries. They rely heavily on folklore, mythology, and the supernatural not only as tropes to advance the plot but also as the underpinning of the world her characters inhabit. This paper will explore the Harley Quin stories and their use of folklore and the supernatural to in contrast to the rational world of Christie with a more complex and unknowable world.

Part of 06-14 Folklore and Pop Culture, Friday, November 03, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm