2021 年 38 巻 p. 57-86
Agatha Christie (1890-1976) has long been axiomatically referred to as “the mistress of mystery,” but it is not widely known that this world-famous author was also a poet. She had sent her poems to The Poetry Review, some of which had been printed in the magazine before she made her debut as a mystery writer with her first novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920). Furthermore, she had a collection of poems—The Road of Dreams (1925)—published through a presumably private-funded way five years after she got into the storytelling business. This means that her creative impetus in her early years was basically for poetry. Then, what on earth brought Christie, who had started writing poems during her adolescence, to the genre of detective novels? How did poetry come to terms with mystery in her case? In this paper I would like to elucidate these issues by examining Christie’s early imaginative visions represented in her poems and to reveal some connection between her poetry and stories. My main focus is, above all, on her attachment to the characters in pantomimes, such as Harlequin, Columbine, and Pierrot, which is clearly seen in her poem ‘A Masque from Italy’ that might be a prototype of her later narratives.