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

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Sat Jul 9 11:54:12 PDT 2016

Thanks to Dana Dalrymple I now have a scan of the quotation instance
attributed to Agatha Christie in "Reader's Digest". The target text
was on page 109 of the March 1952 issue instead of page 107 which was
specified by Google Books.

This illustrates another error type. The pagination algorithm employed
by Google Books is sometimes slightly inaccurate. The page number
provided differs by one or two from the correct page. Hence, it is
useful to examine neighboring pages when searching for matching text.

The "Reader's Digest" citation was the only one I have found that
mentioned "Alec de Montmorency, NANA" (probably a pen name) as the
propagator of the anecdote.

Within a week or two I will create an entry for the Quote Investigator
website with an acknowledgement to the fine people who helped.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Project-wombat [mailto:project-wombat-bounces at lists.project-wombat.org] On Behalf Of ADSGarson O'Toole
> Sent: Friday, July 8, 2016 10:51 AM
> To: list at project-wombat.org
> Subject: Re: [PW] Request help tracing Agatha Christie quotation in The Sunday Times (London) and Reader's Digest 1952
> 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]

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