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Passenger to Frankfurt  
Passenger to Frankfurt First Edition Cover 1970.jpg
Dust-jacket illustration of the first UK edition
Author Agatha Christie
Cover artist Not known
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) Spy Novel
Publisher Collins Crime Club
Publication date September 1970
Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages 256 pp (first edition, hardcover)
ISBN 0-002-31121-6
OCLC Number 119946
Dewey Decimal 823/.9/12
LC Classification PZ3.C4637 Pas PR6005.H66
Preceded by Hallowe'en Party
Followed by The Golden Ball and Other Stories

Passenger to Frankfurt: An Extravanganza is a spy novel by Agatha Christie first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in September 1970[1] and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company later in the same year[2][3]. The UK edition retailed at twenty-five shillings[1]. In preparation for decimalisation on 15 February 1971, it was concurrently priced on the dustjacket at £1.25. The US edition retailed at $5.95[3].

It was published to mark Christie's eightieth birthday and, by counting up both UK and US short-story collections to reach the desired total, was also advertised as her eightieth book. It is the last of her spy novels.

At the beginning of the book there is a quote by Jan Smuts :- "Leadership, besides being a great creative force, can be diabolical ..."

Contents

Plot summary

When a bored diplomat is approached in a bleak airport by a woman whose life is in danger, he agrees in a moment of weakness to lend her his passport and boarding ticket. Suddenly, Stafford Nye's own life is on the line, for he has unwittingly entered a web of international intrigue, from which the only escape is to outwit the power-crazed Countess von Waldsausen who is hell-bent on world domination through the manipulation and arming of the planet's youth, which brings with it what promises to be a resurgence of Nazi domination.

The book is noted for its ambiguous ending, unusual for Agatha Christie.

Literary significance and reception

Francis Iles (Anthony Berkeley Cox) in The Guardian's issue of 15 October, 1970 said, "Of all the idiotic conventions attaching to the thriller the silliest is the idea that a car whizzing round a corner at high speed can be aimed at an intended victim who has, quite unseen, stepped off the pavement into the roadway at exactly the right moment. Agatha Christie uses this twice in Passenger to Frankfurt. For the rest the book is largely a discursus on a favourite old theme of Mrs Christie's, the present state of the world and its future outlook, on both of which she takes a somewhat dim view. In other words, for her eightieth book a rather more serious work than usual from this author."[4]

Maurice Richardson in The Observer of September 13, 1970 started off by saying, "Her eightieth book and though not her best very far from her worst." He concluded: "At moments one wonders whether the old dear knows the difference between a hippie and a skinhead but she is still marvellously entertaining. I shall expect her to turn permissive for her eighty-firster."[5]

Robert Barnard: "The last of the thrillers, and one that slides from the unlikely to the inconceivable and finally lands up in incomprehensible muddle. Prizes should be offered to readers who can explain the ending. Concerns the youth uproar of the 'sixties, drugs, a new Aryan superman and so on, subjects of which Christie's grasp was, to say the least, uncertain (she seems to have the oddest idea of what the term 'Third World' means, for example). Collins insisted she subtitle the book 'An Extravaganza.' One can think of other descriptions."[6]

Publication history

  • 1970, Collins Crime Club (London), September 1970, Hardcover, 256 pp
  • 1970, Dodd Mead and Company (New York), Hardcover, 272 pp
  • 1972, Pocket Books (New York), Paperback
  • 1973, Fontana Books (Imprint of HarperCollins), Paperback, 192 pp
  • 1984, Ulverscroft Large-print Edition, Hardcover, ISBN 0-70-891184-6

References

  1. ^ a b Chris Peers, Ralph Spurrier and Jamie Sturgeon. Collins Crime Club – A checklist of First Editions. Dragonby Press (Second Edition) March 1999 (Page 15)
  2. ^ John Cooper and B.A. Pyke. Detective Fiction - the collector's guide: Second Edition (Pages 82 and 87) Scholar Press. 1994. ISBN 0-85967-991-8
  3. ^ a b American Tribute to Agatha Christie
  4. ^ The Guardian. October 15, 1970 (Page 8).
  5. ^ The Observer September 13, 1970 (Page 28)
  6. ^ Barnard, Robert. A Talent to Deceive – an appreciation of Agatha Christie - Revised edition (Page 202). Fontana Books, 1990. ISBN 0-00-637474-3

External links

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