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quinta-feira, setembro 25, 2008

Morte no Nilo - Agatha Christie

Comecei a ler o livro no sábado dia 20/09/2008 e acabei na quarta-feira dia 24/09/2008.

Death on the Nile (Morte no Nilo, Brasil e Portugal) é um romance policial de Agatha Christie, publicado em 1937, protagonizado pelo detetive Hercule Poirot.

O livro trata do assassinato de uma moça rica numa viagem em um cruzeiro no Rio Nilo, um assassinato frio e sem explicação lógica. A solução vem depois das investigações do astuto Poirot. O livro também tem em seu enredo histórias de romances mal resolvidos e roubo de jóias.

Death on the Nile is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie and first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club on November 1, 1937 and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company the following year. The UK edition retailed at seven shillings and sixpence (7/6) and the US edition at $2.00.



The book features the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. The action takes place in Egypt, mostly on the Nile River.

Plot introduction
While dining at chic restaurant, Chez Ma Tante, Poirot overhears Jacqueline de Bellefort and Simon Doyle speaking to one another, and is concerned by the depth of her love for him. When next he meets her it is far away, in Egypt, and Simon Doyle is married to the woman who was once Jacqueline de Bellefort's best friend: the wealthy and beautiful Linnet Ridgeway. Jacqueline seems determined to have her revenge on them both. Can Poirot persuade her to abandon a course of action that promises disaster to everyone?

Jacqueline follows Simon and Linnet on their honeymoon, appearing without warning wherever they visit. When Simon suggests taking a river cruise aboard the Karnak, he lays a false trail and they think they have escaped, but Jacqueline is there once again and now they are trapped with her. When a boulder is apparently aimed at Linnet's head on a visit ashore, Jacqueline is immediately suspected but proves to have been away from where the incident takes place. (This later proves to be a piece of misdirection. The boulder was dislodged, possibly by accident but more likely on purpose, by Linnet's American legal representative, Mr. Pennington, who is keen to conceal irregularities in his dealings on her behalf. Jim Fanthorp, working for Linnet's English legal representatives, has been sent incognito to thwart Pennington's plans.)

In a dramatic scene after Linnet has gone to bed, Jacqueline shoots Simon in the leg with a pistol that is kicked away under a sofa (and which later is discovered to have disappeared completely). Full of repentance, Jacqueline is taken to be sedated and watched over. Dr. Bessner is awoken and tends to Simon to his cabin where his wound is dressed. Both therefore appear to have perfect alibis when it is discovered that Linnet has been shot in the head. Why then, has a J apparently been drawn on the wall in order to incriminate Jacqueline, while her pistol has been thrown into the river?

Poirot's investigation concentrates on this pistol, which is recovered from the Nile wrapped in a shawl with a bloody handkerchief. A number of red herrings feature, such as a bottle thrown into the water at the same time, and the theft of a pearl necklace in which Tim Allerton is a key suspect. The appearance of Poirot's old friend, Colonel Race, who is seeking an enemy spy, means that many of the holidaymakers are soon implicated or under suspicion.



While visiting Dr. Bessner's cabin, and within earshot of Bessner and Simon (who is confined there while convalescing) Louise Bourget, Linnet's maid, says something to Poirot that is taken to imply that she could have seen the murderer. Soon afterwards, she is discovered dead, stabbed through the heart, in her cabin. There is the torn corner of a thousand-franc note in her hand; clearly she has attempted to blackmail the murderer with fatal consequences. Just as she seems about to reveal the name of Bourget's killer (having witnessed it firsthand), Mrs. Otterbourne is shot through an open cabin door.

In a celebrated dénouement, it is discovered that Simon and Jacqueline have worked together. The original shooting was staged, leaving a stray bullet lodged in the leg of a table. As soon as he was left alone Simon retrieved the pistol, ran to Linnet's cabin and shot her, and added the J as an incriminating (though unduly theatrical) detail. He then retraced his steps, shot himself in the leg using the shawl to muffle the second shot and, incapable of moving, threw the pistol through a window to dispose of it, in time to be discovered by Dr. Bessner with a real injury.

Jacqueline has been forced to commit the second and third murders in an attempt to cover their tracks. Louise Bourget dropped the hint to Poirot in front of Simon because this was the only way that she could begin to blackmail him while he was confined to Bessner's cabin. Simon subsequently informed Jacqueline of this hint, and she stabbed Louise Bourget with one of Dr. Bessner's surgical knives. When he realized that Mrs. Otterbourne was about to reveal Jacqueline's role in Louise's murder, Simon cried out in an apparently fevered state, warning Jacqueline to make the desperate shot through the open door.

All along, Simon married Linnet to gain her money. Jacqueline planned Linnet's murder as she knew if Simon did it by himself, he would be caught, hence she must come in to protect him. It seems that they will only be united in court, but Poirot allows them to escape justice when she shoots first Simon and then herself with a second pistol. The spy turns out to be Mr. Richetti, whose coded letter was opened in error by Linnet early in the novel. The jewel thief is indeed Tim Allerton, but Poirot allows him to replace the pearl necklace voluntarily and avoid prosecution, largely so that he can marry Rosalie and provide one of the novel's minor happy endings. The other one is the marriage of Cornelia Robson to Dr. Bessner. Mr. Ferguson, a strident left-winger who proves be a member of the British aristocracy traveling in disguise, was also a suitor for Cornelia's hand, but is quite possibly as surprised as the reader that he has lost out to the rather unprepossessing Bessner.

Characters in "Death on the Nile"
Hercule Poirot, the famous Belgian detective
Colonel Race, a friend of Poirot's with espionage connections
Linnet Ridgeway Doyle, rich heiress and the victim, almost got everything in her life
Simon Doyle, Linnet's husband, very handsome and Jacqueline's former fiancée
Jacqueline de Bellefort, Simon's former fiancée
Louise Bourget, Linnet's French maid
Andrew Pennington, Linnet's American lawyer and trustee
Marie Van Schuyler, a very wealthy elderly American snob
Miss Bowers, Miss Schuyler's nurse
Cornelia Robson, Ms. Schuyler's niece
Salome Otterbourne, writer of risque romantic novels
Rosalie Otterbourne, Salome's beautiful daughter
Signor Richetti, an Italian archeologist
Mr. Ferguson, an Englishman with radical leftist ideals
Mr. James Fanthorp, a shy Englishman
Dr. Carl Bessner, an Austrian doctor
Mrs. Allerton, British socialite
Tim Allerton, Mrs. Allerton's son
Fleetwood, Linnet's former maid's ex-fiancee
Joanna Southwood, friend of Linnet's and cousin of Tim Allerton
Charles, Marquess of Windlesham, Linnet's former fiance


The Times Literary Supplement's short review of November 20, 1937 by Caldwell Harpur concluded, "Hercule Poirot, as usual, digs out a truth so unforeseen that it would be unfair for a reviewer to hint at it".

In The New York Times Book Review for February 6, 1938, Isaac Anderson concluded after summarising the set-up of the plot that, "You have the right to expect great things of such a combination [of Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot] and you will not be disappointed."

In The Observer's issue of November 14, 1937, "Torquemada" (Edward Powys Mathers) started off by saying, "First this week comes Agatha Christie. She scored, I contend, two outers in her last three shots; but she is back on the very centre of the bull with Death on the Nile." He summarised the set-up of the plot and then continued, "Terrible things happen and, without the formality of breaking off her narrative to issue a challenge, the author allows Poirot to summarise his clues in one compressed paragraph sixty pages from the end. It is after that, until the retired but by no means retiring little Belgian chooses to tell us the truth, that we are very angry with ourselves indeed. When he does so, anger is swallowed up in admiration. The appearance of corpse after corse in the feast of death is entirely logical, and the main alibi, unshakeable except for Poirot, is of the first brilliance. It is no less likely than the run of such things in fiction, and is built not with many preliminary falsifications but almost in a single carefully premeditated flash of movement." He concluded, "Though less than secondary, the descriptive work is adequate and hits, as it were, the Nile on the head."

The Scotsman of November 11, 1937 said, "An Agatha Christie story, and especially one with Hercule Poirot applying his 'little grey cells,' is always an event. It is a matter of opinion whether this author has a superior in giving an unexpected twist to concluding chapters, but it is arguable that she has none. In Death on the Nile, however, the solution of the mystery does not come with all that sudden shock of surprise to which Agatha Christie 'fans' are accustomed. At least it should not, providing that one carefully reads a certain chapter and is willing to pursue to their ultimate implications certain hints dropped by Poirot. Whether or not the reader will succeed in naming the murderer, by which is meant discovering how the crime was committed, and not just guessing at one of the least likely persons, is another matter. In any case, here is a problem eminently worth trying to solve." The review finished by saying that, "the author has again constructed the neatest of plots, wrapped it round with distracting circumstances, and presented it to what should be an appreciative public.

E.R. Punshon of The Guardian in his review of December 10, 1937 began by saying, "To decide whether a writer of fiction possesses the true novelist's gift it is often a good plan to consider whether the minor characters in his or her book, those to whose creation the author has probably given little thought, stand out in the narrative in their own right as living personalities. This test is one Mrs. Christie always passes successfully, and never more so than in her new book." He went on to summarise the more outlandish traits of some of the characters and then said, "each and all of these, as well their more normal fellow-passengers, are firmly and clearly sketched, even if they are all a little too much types rather than characters and so miss that full rotundity of life a Dickens or a Thackeray can give." He finished by saying that, "M. Poirot's little grey cells had indeed been obliged to work at full pressure to unravel a mystery which includes one of those carefully worked out alibis that seem alike to fascinate Mrs. Christie and to provide her with the best opportunities for displaying her own skill. A fault-finding critic may, however, wonder whether M. Poirot is not growing just a little too fond of keeping to himself such important facts as the bullet-hole in the table. If he is to enjoy all, a reader should also know all."

Mary Dell in the Daily Mirror of November 11, 1937 said, "Agatha Christie is just grand. Usually if you get a good plot there is something wrong with the writing or the characters. But with her – you have everything that makes a first-class book."

Robert Barnard: "One of the top ten, in spite of an overcomplex solution. The familiar marital triangle, set on a Nile steamer. Comparatively little local colour, but some good grotesques among the passengers – of which the film took advantage. Spies and agitators are beginning to invade the pure Christie detective story at this period, as the slide towards war begins."

Murder on the Nile
Agatha Christie adapted the novel into a stage play which opened at the Dundee Repertory Theatre on January 17, 1944 under the title of Hidden Horizon and opened in the West End on March 19, 1946 under the title Murder on the Nile and on Broadway on September 19, 1946 under the same title.

Main article: Murder on the Nile/Hidden Horizon

Kraft Television Theatre
A live television version of the novel under the name of Murder on the Nile was presented on July 12, 1950 in the US in a one-hour play as part of the series Kraft Television Theatre. The stars were Guy Spaull and Patricia Wheel.


Death on the Nile (1978 film)
The novel was adapted into a highly-successful feature film, released in 1978 and starring Peter Ustinov for the first of his six appearances as Poirot.

Main article: Death on the Nile (1978 film)

BBC Radio 4 adaptation
The novel was adapted as a five part serial for BBC Radio 4 in 1997. John Moffatt reprised his role of Poirot. The serial was broadcast weekly from Thursday, January 2 to Thursday, January 30 at 10.00am to 10.30pm. All five episodes were recorded on Friday, July 12, 1996 at Broadcasting House.

Adapator: Michael Bakewell
Producer: Enyd Williams

Cast:
John Moffatt as Hercule Poirot
Donald Sinden as Colonel Race
Amanda Barton-Chapple as Jacqueline de Bellefort
Robert Daws as Simon Doyle
Elaine Pyke as Linnet Ridgeway
Rosemary Leach as Mrs Allerton
Nicholas Boulton as Tim Allerton
Shirley Dixon as Mrs Otterbourne
Irene Sutcliffe as Mrs Van Shuyler
Teresa Gallagher as Cornelia
Stratford Johns as Pennington
Joanna Monro as Joanna Southwood
Sean Baker as Monsieur Blondin
Ed Bishop as Rockford
Roger May as Fanthorp
Keith Drinkel as Dr. Bessner
Robert Portal as Ferguson
Ioan Meredith as Richetti
Janet Maw as Miss Bowers
with Timothy Bateson, Chris Palvo, Christopher Scott and Ben Thomas


Agatha Christie's Poirot
Death on the Nile, a television adaptation shown in 2004 in the series Agatha Christie's Poirot, starred David Suchet as Poirot. This version changed the romantic pairing of Tim Allerton and Rosalie Otterbourne: Instead of the pair ending up happily together, Tim gently refuses her, implying that he is a homosexual.

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