"Bad business": capitalism and criminality in Agatha Christie's novels

Nicol, D. 2019. "Bad business": capitalism and criminality in Agatha Christie's novels. Entertainment and Sports Law Journal.

Title"Bad business": capitalism and criminality in Agatha Christie's novels
TypeJournal article
AuthorsNicol, D.
Abstract

To the casual reader, Agatha Christie’s fiction seems to be saturated by a deeply conservative culture and supportive of the capitalist status quo. There is indeed some evidence in Christie’s prose that she identified with conservativism. Yet despite her leanings she adopted a critical stance on the world of business. She repeatedly depicted financiers as criminals, even murderers, during the inter-war years and later, in the post-war period, blurred the line between businesses and criminal conspiracies. Christie also used the crookedness of business to provide capitalism’s victims with a motive for murder. The article explains the gap between Christie’s political views and her portrayal of business by arguing that Christie’s fundamental task was to fashion dystopias. In so doing she regarded it as more important to capture the spirit of the times than to propagandise in ways which matched her allegiances. Thus Christie’s engagement with private enterprise provides a valuable snapshot of a society more critical of capitalism and, particularly between the wars, more ready to consider alternatives to it, than is the case in contemporary society.

KeywordsChristie, literature, capitalism, criminality, business, class.
JournalEntertainment and Sports Law Journal
ISSN1748-944X
Year2019
PublisherUniversity of Westminster Press
LicenseCC BY 4.0

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