Views & Reviews Between the Lines

A villainous doctor

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d165 (Published 16 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d165
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

As Herbert Kinnell pointed out in the last Christmas edition of the BMJ, Agatha Christie’s novels have a lot of doctors, an inordinate number of them murderers (BMJ 2010;341:c6438, doi:10.1136/bmj.c6438). In Cards on the Table (1936) Dr Roberts is not the only villain of the piece, but he is certainly one of the villains of the piece.

The story is convoluted, but to object that it is implausible is like objecting that the story of Little Red Riding Hood is implausible. Fairy stories are not to be confused with social realism, any more than revolutions are to be confused with dinner parties. Indeed, in Christie’s novels dinner parties …

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