The Sydney Morning Herald: Mistérios mundo afora (e as influências de Agatha)

Trecho inicial de uma interessante matéria de Benjamin Stevenson no The Sydney Morning Herald em 07.04.2022 com o título “True blue detective: Poirot meets bush noir as COVID rewrites the plot”:

Looking at the Australian bestselling fiction charts, it’s not hard to see that crime fiction is having a moment in the sun. The stratospheric rise of rural Australian noir (or ruro-noir) – written by the likes of Jane Harper, Chris Hammer, Kyle Perry and Candice Fox – has led the charge, but in the past couple of years another style of crime novel has crept up the charts – and that’s thanks to a Brit rather than an Aussie: Agatha Christie.

You won’t see her name on the spines, but she’s there, pulling the strings, as Christie-inspired mystery novels make an energetic comeback. If you don’t know what type of book I’m talking about, let’s play bingo with the following assets: 1) A cast of reprobates; 2) Characters who are trapped somewhere; and 3) A genius detective (a bonus 4 is if the genius detective waxes lyrical about their solution in front of said reprobates in said location).

Recent hits along these lines include the excellent The Guest List by Lucy Foley, the charming Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, and the wry modern take in the film Knives Out. Of course, it could be argued that Christie and her Golden Age compatriots inspired much of the modern crime genre anyway – so why the current explosion? Let’s use a time-honoured crime-novel technique to answer that: the flashback.

The Detective (I’ve capitalised here as I’m literally talking about anyone you see when you close your eyes on hearing the word: hat-stand, cigar, moustache – you’ve got it) went out of fashion in the 1990s and early 2000s. Instead of erudite sleuths pacing a library full of suspects, we had down-on-their-luck – alcoholic, divorced – cops chasing serial killers across grungy cities in books such as Along Came A Spider and The Bone Collector or films like Seven and Saw. Crime novels got more and more violent, the body counts rose and the villains were more sadistic.

Then came the birth of the “psychological thriller”, with Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train leading the trend of novels without a firm moral ground to stake the reader’s faith on. The unreliable narrator flourished. Books started, shockingly at the time, having unhappy endings. The killer started getting away.

Saying the world’s changed a lot in the last decade is like saying that the ice-cream machines at McDonald’s are occasionally unreliable: a major understatement. And it’s no coincidence that while it feels like the world is getting darker outside, crime novels are tacking back to being escapist again. Of course, it’s silly to refer to a book in which a murder takes place as light relief, but the tenets of Golden Age mystery fiction – that the victim is often foul, and that the villain will get their comeuppance in the end – are a comfort in a world where the ground keeps shifting underneath us. If we feel unbalanced in the real world, at least we can stake our faith in Poirot or Marple. (…)

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