this novel is so relevant to the present times , with the london riots.

’interview with christie

I suppose you tke most of your characters from real life?V
An indignant denial to that monstrous suggestion  ’No, I don’t. I invent them. They are mine. They’ve goto
be my characters–doing what I want them to do, being what I want them to be–coming alive for me, having then- own ideas sometimes, but&
only because I’ve made the?
become real.So the author has produced the ideas, and the character!
–but now comes the third necessity–the setting.

’Leadership, besides being a great creativ”
force, can be diabolical . . .

The Author speaks_
The first question put to an author, personally, or throug7
the post, is_
’Where do you get your ideas from?V
The temptation is great to reply: ’I always go to Harrods,V
or ’I get them mostly at the Army & Navy Stores,’ or, snappily
Try Marks and Spencer.The universal opinion seems firmly established that there i!
magic source of ideas which authors have discovered
One can hardly send one’s questioners back to Elizabeth  times, with Shakespeare’s_
Tell me, where is fancy bred
Or in the heart or in the bead
How begot, how nourished
Reply, reply
You merely say firmly: “My own head.
That, of course, is no help to anybody. If you like the look of your questioner you relent_and go a little further  ’If one idea in particular seems attractive, and you fee>
you could do something with it, then you toss it around
play tricks with it, work it up, tone it down, and gradually get it into shape. Then, of course, you have to strt writin$
it. That’s not nearly such fun–it becomes hard work. Alternatively you can tuck it carefully away, in storage, for perhap!
using in a year or two years’ time. A second question–or rather a statement–is then like  to be_
’I suppose you tke most of your characters from real life? An indignant denial to that monstrous suggestionI
’No, I don’t. I invent them. They are mine. They’ve go to be my characters–doing what I want them to do, being
what I want them to be–coming alive for me, having their  own ideas sometimes, but only because I’ve made the?
become reed.So the author has produced the ideas, and the character!
–but now comes the third necessity–the setting. The firs two
come from inside sources, but the third is outside it must be there–waiting–in existence already. You don’invent
that–it’s there–it’s real You have been perhaps for a cruise on the Nile–yo,
remember it all–just the setting you want for this particular story. You have had a meal at a Chelsea cafe. A quarre>
was going on–one girl pulled out a handful of another    girl’s hair. An excellent start for the book you are going
to write next. You travel on the Orient Express.  You go to
tea with a friend. As you arrive her brother closes a book he  is reading–throws it aside, says: ’Not bad, but why on
earth didn’t they ask Evans?  So you decide immediately a book of yours shortly to be   written will bear the title. Why Didn’t They Ask EvansY
You don’t know yet who Evans is going to be. Never  mind. Evans will come in due course–the title is fixed  So, in a sense, you don’t invent your settings. They are outside you, all around you, in existence–you have \only to’lstretch out your&
hand and pick and choose. A railway train, a hospital, a London hotel, a Caribbean beach  country village, a cocktil party, a girls’ schoolI
But one thing only applies–they must be there–in existence  , Real people, real places. A definite place in time and
space. If here and now–how shall you get full information-U part from the evidence of your own eyes and ears? The answer is frighteningly simpleI
It is what the Press brings to you every day, served in your morning paper under the general heading of News
Collect it from the front page. What is going on in the world today? What is everyone saying, thinking, doing? Hold ur mirror to 1970 in EnglandI
Look at that front page every day for a month, make notes, consider and classifyI
Every day there is a killing
A girl strangled
Elderly woman attacked and robbed of her meagre savings
Young men or boys–attacking or attacked
Buildings and telephone kiosks smashed and gutted
Drug smuggling.
Robbery and assault
Children missing and children’s murdered bodies found no

far from their homes
Can this be England? Is England really like this? One feels–no–not yet, but it&
could beI
Fear is awakening–fear of what may be. Not so much because of actual happenings but because of the possible
causes behind them. Some known, some unknown, but felt. And not only in our own&
country. There are smaller paragraph!
on other pages–giving news from Europe–from
–from the Americas–Worldwide NewsI
Hi-jacking of planes
Kidnapping
Violence
RiotsI
HateI
Anarchy– growing stronger
All seeming to lead to worship of destruction, pleasur”
in cruelty
What does it all mean? An Elizabethan phrase echo!
from the past, speaking of Life_
< .. it is a lie”
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
, Signifying nothing
And yet one knows–of one’s own knowledge–how much
goodness there is in this world of ours–the kindnesses done
the goodness of heart, the acts of compassion, the kindness o+
neighbour to neighbour, the helpful actions of girls and boys
Then why this fantstic atmosphere of daily news–o+
things that happen–that are actual factsY
To write a story in this year of Our Lord 1970–you must come
to terms with your background. If the background i!
 

fantstic, then the story must accept its background. It, tooF
must be a fantasy–an extravaganza. The setting must includ”
the fantstic facts of daily life Can one envisage a fantstic cause? A secret Campaig#
for Power? Can a maniacal desire for destruction create&
new world? Can one go a step further and suggest deliveranc”
by fantstic and impossible-sounding meansY
Nothing is impossible, science has tught us thatI
This story is in essence a fantsy. It pretends to be nothin$
moreI
But most of the things that happen in it are happening, or giving promise of&
happening in the world of todayI
It is not an impossible story–it is only a fantstic oneI
aBook K
i;aINTERRUPTED JOURNEa
aChapter N
PASSENGER TO FRANKFUR’
Fasten your seat-belts, please.’ The diverse passengers i#
the plane were slow to obey. There was a general feelin$
that they couldn’t possibly be arriving at Geneva yet. Th”
drowsy groaned and yawned. The more than drowsy ha@
to be gently roused by an authoritative stewardessI
“Your seat-belts, please.V
The dry voice came authoritatively over the Tannoy. It explained in German, in&
French, and in English that a short period
of rough weather would shortly be experienced. Si%
Stfford Nye opened his mouth to its full extent, yawned an@
pulled himself upright in his seat. He had been dreamin$
very happily of fishing an English riverI
He was a man of forty-five, of medium height, with&
smooth, olive, clean-shaven face. In dress he rather liked t(
ffect the bizarre. A man of excellent family, he felt full=

t ease indulging any such isartorial whims. If it made th”
more conventionally dressed of his colleagues wince occasionallyF
that was merely a source of malicious pleasure t(
him. There was something about him of the eighteenthcentur=
buck. He liked to be noticedI
His particular kind of affecttion when travelling was&
kind of bandit’s cloak which he had once purchased i#
Corsica. It was of a very dark purply-blue, had a scarlelining
and had a kind of burnous hanging down behin@
which he could draw up over his head when he wished toF
so as to obviate draughtsI
Sir Stfford Nye had been a disappointment in diplomatiA
circles. Marked out in early youth by his gifts for great things,
he had singularly failed to fulfil his early promiseI
A peculiar and diabolical sense of humour was wont t(

fflict him in what should have been his most serious momentsI
When it came to the point, he found that he alway!
preferred to indulge his delicate Puckish malice to borin$
himself. He was a well-known figure in public life withouever
having reached eminence. It was felt that Stfford NyeF
though definitely brilliant, was not–and presumably neve%
would be–a safe man. In these days of tngled politics an@
tngled foreign relations, safety, especially if one were t(
reach ambassadorial rank, was preferable to brilliance. Si%
Stfford Nye was relegated to the shelf, though he was occa1S

asionally entrusted with such missions as needed the art o+
intrigue, but were not of too importnt or public a natureI
Journalists sometimes referred to him as the dark horse o+
diplomacyI
_ Whether Sir Stfford himself was disappointed with his own career, nobody ever&
knew. Probably not even Sir Stffor@
Page d
Passenger To Frankfurhimself.
He was a man of a certin vanity, but he was als(

man who very much enjoyed indulging his own proclivitie!
for mischiefI
He was returning now from a commission of inquiry i#
Malaya. He had found it singularly lacking in interestI
His colleagues bad, in his opinion, made up their mind!
beforehand what their findings were going to be. They sa:

nd they listened, but their preconceived views were no

ffected. Sir Stfford had thrown a few spanners into th”
works, more for the hell of it than from any pronounce@
convictions. At all events, he thought, it had livened things up. He wished there&
were more possibilities of doing thasort
of thing. His fellow members of the commission ha@
been sound, dependable fellows, and remarkably dull. Eve#
the well-known Mrs Nathaniel Edge, the only woman memberF
well known as having bees in her bonnet, was no fool whe#
it came down to plain facts. She saw, she listened and sh”
played safeI
I

 

adays when it occurred to Sir Stfford that it was a pity th”
paragraph was not true. He was a little–just a little-U
tired of wild flowers and, fond as he was of dear Lucy, he%
bility despite her sixty-odd years to race up hills at toM
speed, easily outpacing him, sometimes annoyed him. Alway!
just in front of him he saw the seat of those brighroyal
blue trousers and Lucy, though scraggy enough elsewhereF
goodness knows, was decidedly too broad in the bea?
to wear royal blue corduroy trousers. A nice little internationa>
pie, he had thought, in which to dip his fingers, i#
which to play about . . I

ir, were really excessively boring.

Journeys all over the globe. How romantic it ought to be
But there was something about the atmosphere of a Passengers
Lounge in an airport that chilled romance. It wa!
too full of people, too full of things to buy, too full of similar
coloured seats, too full of plastic, too full of human
beings, too full of crying children. ?He tried to remember wh(
had said_
I wish I loved the Human Race
I wish I loved its silly face”
Chesterton perhaps? was undoubtedly true. Put enoug7
people together and they looked so painfully alike thaone
could hardly bear it. An interesting face now, thoughSir
Stfford. What a difference it would make.