[Ads-l] Request help tracing Agatha Christie quotation in The Sunday Times (London) and Reader's Digest 1952

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 8 17:48:35 UTC 2016

Great thanks to Ben Zimmer and Michael Quinion who located the Agatha
Christie interview that was published in "The Sunday Times" in 1966. I
now have examined a copy of the interview. Unfortunately, the article
did not mention the archaeologist joke. Also, there was no discussion
of wringing necks.

Date: February 27, 1966
Newspaper: The Sunday Times
Newspaper Location: London, England
Section: Weekly Review
Article: The algebra of Agatha Christie
Author: Francis Wyndham
Page 25 and 26

There was a germane passage in a different source: a biographical work
about Christie published in 1967. The book asserted that Christie
denied making the archaeologist joke.

Year: 1967
Title: Agatha Christie: Mistress of Mystery
Author: G. C. Ramsey
Publisher: Dodd, Mead & Company, New York
Quote Page 23
Verified with scans

[Begin excerpt]
Furthermore, the remark attributed to Mrs. Christie that "the older
you get, the more interesting you become to an archaeologist" was the
creation of some pundit whose neck Mrs. Christie would be glad to
wring if he would care to identify himself— she neither made the
remark nor does she consider it particularly complimentary or amusing.
[End excerpt]

The denial given above was not presented as a direct quotation from
Christie. If the author, Ramsey, was reliable then the denial occurred
in 1967 or before because the book was published in 1967. The book
contained the following author description.

[Begin excerpt]
G. C. Ramsey is an instructor in English in Worcester Academy in
Massachusetts and has long been an enthusiastic student in this
country and abroad of Agatha Christie's writings.
[End excerpt]

Acknowledgment: The Ramsey citation above was mentioned by quotation
expert Nigel Rees in "Brewer's Famous Quotations" 2006.

Garson O'Toole

On Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 4:30 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> A comical quotation ascribed to the famous mystery writer Agatha
> Christie appears in a large number of reference works. Here is one
> version:
> "An archeologist is the best husband any woman can have because the
> older she gets, the more he is interested in her."
> This message contains two requests:
> 1) A request to search the "The Sunday Times" of London archive which
> is part of the Gale NewsVault.
> 2) A request to examine "The Reader's Digest" volume 60 in 1952.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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