I grew up in a family where everyone loved crime stories. My mother, my uncles and apparentely all of my relatives were addicted, so I'm not an exception.
After fairy tales, my first readings were crime and detective stories novels. I started with classics and when I was about 11-12 years old I stumbled upon Agatha Christie's world. It was love.
I can't remember, but I probably started with Ten Little Indians (And Then There Were None) which totally captured me and then Murder On The Orient Express, from the Poirot series.
Though I've read some of Christie's books with Miss Marple and Tommy&Tuppence's investigations, my favorite detective has always been Poirot.
The character is so well defined and peculiar, the settings so various and rich, so well representative of the real Christie's life (she drew on real places when writing her novels).
Though these stories are set in a time between the two World Wars, the detailed tales of bored and decadent English mid and high society, where everyone could be a murder without caring so much about the historical happenings, are not troublesome at all. They're instead sort of "consolatory". That splendour, that magnificence are just the last moments of life before everything fall apart...
As you can read on Christie's official website:
"Her quintessential “English” characters offer a charming view of a bygone era when people sat down to tea in the afternoon, tended roses in their gardens and where village life provided all the scandal one could ever want to hear!"
All this long post, is just to introduce you to another one of my guilty pleasures and biggest ispirations...the British tv movies of the Agatha Christie's Poirot series, the ones with the impeccable David Suchet as Poirot.
Considering the series has aired since 1989, I have watched some of the episodes when I was just a child, but it was only in these last years that looking at them I found they're not only good adaptations of the novels (though the stories are sometimes slightly different from the original plots), but the costume department of the series is amazing and now I covet almost all of the ladies outfits! As much as Mad Men is a great visual source for late 50s/early 60s style, this series is perfect for the 20s/30s era.
All the movies are avaible on dvd and ENTIRELY available on You Tube, so I really suggest you to watch some of them. The videos below are the first parts (usually 1/10 for novel adaptations and 1/5 for the short stories) of four of my favorite productions: Death On The Nile, The Mistery of The Blue Train, The Third Floor Apartment and Five Little Pigs.