The Strand Magazine has just released its latest issue, packed with reviews, articles and stories for the mystery aficionado. Following on the heels of last quarter’s issue, which debuteda previously unpublished story by Louisa May Alcott, number 61 includes new pieces by two masters of the genre, Agatha Christie and Raymond Chandler.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Christie’s first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, The Strand has published her short story, “Christmas Adventure,” in the U.S. for the first time. It’s a lighthearted Hercule Poirot tale full of mischief, mistletoe and a mysterious plum-pudding prize.
Poirot is spending a pleasant Christmas at the Endicott estate among a bevy of (mostly) high-spirited young people. Delighted to have the company of such a famous detective, they decide to play a practical joke on him by staging a mock murder. It’s all fun and games until the young lady playing the victim appears to actually be one. Not to worry, though; M. Poirot has a trick of his own up his sleeve — one designed to catch a thief among his fellow house guests.
The Chandler piece is an equally entertaining — if uncharacteristic — humorous essay called “Advice to an Employer.” Found in a shoebox with several of Chandler’s papers at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, this spoof of corporate culture appears to wink at private jokes shared between Chandler and his private secretary at the time, Juanita Messick.
In the Afterword to the short piece, Chandler scholar Dr. Sarah Trott says that the work gives us a glimpse of a side of the otherwise “acerbic and quiet” author most people never knew: “Chandler’s guard has dropped completely, allowing us a glimpse behind the curtain. For me, this is the real Chandler.”
Issue 61 of The Strand is available now on newsstands and on the publication’swebsite.
Cynthia Conrad is a BookTrib staff member. An editor and marketer by trade and a poet and songwriter at heart, she was formerly an editor of the independent literary zine Dirigible Journal of Language Art. She has also worked with business author Bruce Tulgan and fiction writer Gevera Bert Piedmont. She lives in New Haven, CT with her Siamese, Vito.