Did any of ACs novels include any homosexual characters?


  • 3rdGirl3rdGirl New South Wales, Australia
    I know the TV version of The Body in the Library has a couple of gay women in it, but I don't think they are in the novel. Also I think in The Moving Finger TV version there is a gay man - Cardew Pye.

    I can only think of Christopher Wren in 'The Mousetrap', but I'm sure there are others.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I have never thought of Christopher Wren as Homosexual and I have seen the Play in London in 1986, Many believe Miss Hinchcliffe and Miss Murgatroyed in A Murder Is Announced are Lovers, I don't know why ITV chose to make some Characters Homosexuals when homosexuality is not mentioned in those books, I have always thought Mr Pye was Homosexual although it is never actually Confirmed in The Moving Finger because of the time Agatha Christie was writing, someone said before this site had a Makeover that ITV did it is a Nod to their Homosexual Fans but if so that is stupid in my view, the Adaptations didn't have disabled characters in Novels which didn't have Disabled characters did they?
  • glalonzo0408glalonzo0408 Pennsylvania, United States
    Tommy I agree.  To change a work of art to make a particular group of people happy is, in my opinion, ludicrous!  Not only that, who cares if any characters were portrayed as homosexual?  Silly.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Also if a particular Group of people is panderted to it is patronizing to them but many don't see that they are being patronized in the name of Political Correctness which is a Patronizing Concept in itself. 
  • youngmrquinyoungmrquin Buenos Aires, Argentina
    edited February 2014
    Now, back to jennifer's question.
    The most probable candidate for homosexual couple is, as said before by Tommy, Hinchcliffe and Murgatroyd from A Murder is Announced. Though it's never fully addressed, and still it's possible that they were only companions. Someone had said, again, before this site had the makeover, that it was very common in that period this type of bond cause men were in the war or had died in it. Therefore, women used to live together. I really don't know how to read the bond between these two characters, so it's up to you.
    Mr. Pye from The Moving Finger is another story. While he's never connected to another man or even mentioned a gay interest, he's characterized as extremely effeminate. The police insist in putting him in the list of suspects even when they also insist that the suspect must be a woman. Now, all this should be read in the historical and social context it was written. Homosexuality is not obviously the same as being effeminate, but this is also something that we understand now, thanks to gender studies and certain social theories. I mean, maybe AC was describing, in her own way and in the context of that period, the way people believed how gay men behaved.
    I found Pye very similar to a character in Murder is Easy called Ellsworthy. While this character is not highlighted a effeminate, I find the description of him very similar to the one made of Pye (besides, he also manages an antique shop or something like that). The connection between men and art may also be other stereotype, but that in the context of the books, may hint as homosexuality.
    Other character that comes to mind, but much less a candidate, is Satherswaite (from the Quinn stories). He is possibly a man in touch with his emotional/feminine side and not necessarily gay, but his lifestyle and some descriptions his makes may suggest this option. As always, I apologyze for my poor English, I'm Argentinian and here we speak Spanish. 
  • YoungMrQuin your English is absolutely superb!!

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I like it when things aren't always spelt out, It leaves it to the imagination and Means people of a More Old Fashioned way of thinking are not offended, after all homosexuality was unfortunately Illigal many years ago and why Upset people when It isn't really necessary to do so, let people think what they think in the comfort of their own Reading Time, I used to have two Teachers and they were both Spinsters and I always wondered if they were Lovers Many years later I think to myself Those Ladies were Great Teachers so who Cares what Their Sexuality is or was, I don't.
  • youngmrquinyoungmrquin Buenos Aires, Argentina
    What a lovely school story, Tommy_A_Jones. Really moving.
    I agree with you, in the end, it doesn't change our general taste of the story. Moreover, if what we seek in AC stories is a mistery/detective/thriller narrative. However, it's true that some of us read them searching for other aspects, like character development and human relationships in different social and historical contexts.
    Keeping this in mind, jennifer's question (and maybe curiosity) is understandable. I started reading AC books when I was fourteen o fifteen, and now I am twenty five, and I've wonder the same for long.
    Yes, sexual orientation is not certainly a main topic of her books and it was taboo in most of her writing period, but it's also true that heterosexuality is present in all the stories in a natural way. There are couples, marriages, breaks-up, etc. between men and women, and they are explicit. What did Agatha thought about, not only gay people, but also and (more important, to me), about gay couples?
    These type of issues will raise inevitably, since in the end, she wrote about human relationships and their problems.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

    Thankyou youngmrquin, It wasn't a Girl's school, after all I am a bloke but whenever I read Cat among The Pigeons I think of the school, The School made me think Meadowbanks  is the same period although I read the book years after leaving it. I started reading Agatha Christie books in my Teens too and now I am 46.

    Sadly we society today seems to encourage us to judge the past and compare with Standards of Today so the question of what Agatha Christie thought of Homosexuals and whether X or Y is a Homosexual or a Lesbian is going to be raised more and more and maybe detract from her writing 

  • edited February 2014
    Thanks all for the interesting responses!  Youngmrquin, your explanation of AC using stereotypes is excellent.  Obviously sexuality was not a topic that was discussed at that time in history.  The reason I posed the question is just that - since she did not "name" anyone in her novels as being homosexual, does that mean that they do not exist or do we use our own inferencing?  Today, we pick up a novel - say by Louise Penny, who describes in detail the relationship between 2 of her main male characters.  AC writes about social class structure and cultural differences, but does not address sexuality.  I find it very interesting.  I wasn't setting this forum up to bring up "civil rights" or groups wanting attention...just an interest of mine in different periods of writing :)
  • GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States
    The only openly gay character in Christie's novels is the friend of Raymond West who housesits for Miss Marple in "A Caribbean Mystery," and he never actually appears in the book.  In her short play "The Rats," there is another character that is stated in the stage directions to be gay, and it is implied that he is attempting to avenge the death of a straight man with whom he was infatuated.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I don't understand your post, you say he is the only openly gay Character in Agatha Christie's Novels and then you say he isn't in the Book, please explain
  • mstrsims2mstrsims2 Massachusetts, United States

    That was one of my criticisms I had  of some of the filmed adaptations that were done for the 21st century BBC films.

    *Body in the Library did not have it and they changed the plot to include it in the film

    *Murder is Announced does not have it directly said for the characters of Miss Hinchcliffe and Miss Murgatroyd but the film made it blatent.

    *Nemisis did not have the murderer' motive as gay but yet the last filmed adaptation made it distastefully so !

    *The Moving Finger's 2006 adaptation made one of the characters fey

    *The 2010 Mirror Crack'd made reference to it--almost in a blackmailing way by Miss Marple to the male secretary towards the end of the film (very uncharacteristic of Miss Marple!)

    and in a recent re-watching of the Poirot  Cards on the Table I noted that the murderer's motivation were changed to be of a homosexual nature.


    Not sure why they deemed it necessary to change the plotlines. 

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Firstly they were on ITV not BBC secondly, I have always read the Character Mr Pye In The Moving Finger as Fey, I have sponged the memory of Nemesis and The Mirror Crack'd From my memory and can't remember Homosexuality in the ITV versions of those books, I agree about Body In The Library though a Good Adaptation ruined by Homosexuality put in where it shouldn't be in and The Suchet version of Cards On The Table is the only one I REFUSE to watch, It was done distastefully
  • GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States
    Tommy_A_Jones, sorry for the delay.  I meant that Raymond West's friend is mentioned in the book, but he does not actually appear in a scene or have a speaking role.  He's an "off-screen" character.
  • Agatha Christie had Miss Marple's nephew Raymond West the novelist mention the good house keeping of his friends who were "queers" in the 13 Problems. Raymond felt that surely even Aunt Jane would know what that meant.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    No need to apologise GKC, I don't remember the Off-Screen Character you mean, I hall look out for the mention in The Thirteen Problems if I remember which I probably wont as it is my favourite book of short stories so become too engrossed in it, now Raymond is a Character David Walliams could do quite well I think.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Oh Dear, I made a mistake there didn't I? You didn't mean The Thirteen Problems it was Queensuperdooper
  • Hi all
    I think I just found an answer to my own question!  Currently re-reading After The Funeral.  After Cora dies, it is questioned if the "companion" Miss Gilchrist is "intimate" with Cora.  Although we know Cora is a widow, would AC mean "intimate" as just really close friends, or is there an implication that the steel-haired Miss Gilchrist was an elderly lesbian?  Although, if I do remember.....
    spoiler alert...

    I think Gilchrist bashed Cora over the head????  
  • In Three-Act Tragedy, Egg says of Sir Charles the actor :
    "'I like men to have affairs,' said Egg. 'It shows they're not queer or anything.'
    Mr. Sattherthwaite's victorianism suffered a further pang. He was at a loss for a reply. Egg did not notice his discomfiture."
    First published 1934
    (Berkley Mystery p. 26)
  • I just reread Three Act Tragedy too.  I noticed that very part of the story!  Had a chuckle.  I really liked the character Egg.  
  • @jennifer, I always wonder about her. I mean, do you think she really fell in love with the aging actor, or was it just a serious crush? Her mother obviously was for it, but she had her own Victorian way of looking at the world. The actor himself, whom you might have thought would be the one to really develop a serious crush on the pretty young, vivacious girl, actually just uses her in his plot... You'd expect the modern girl to be a bit more blase where the actor is concerned. But no. She has her growing up to do... I thought AC was showing us that one could be "modern" and yet immature.
  • vazinvazin Shkoder, Albania
    i didnt check the novels butin  the adaptation ( i mean the TV episodes) of "cards on the table" and "five little bigs"
    there are homosexual characters
  • RayRay Appleton, Wisconsin
    In Nemesis Clotilde (a 'mannish' woman) kills Verity (a young attractive girl) rather than let her run away with a man. Miss Marple compares Clotilde and Verity's relationship to that of a husband and wife, saying she suspected Clotilde because you always suspect the husband. I think this was AC's most direct allusion to same gender attraction.
  • As for Nemesis, in the book there is no hint that Clotilde is sexually attracted to Verity - rather that after having adopted her, she sees her as a daughter, her perfect daughter whom she cannot bear to let go. This is a recurring theme: See also "The clock strikes twelve" by Patricia Wentworth, which was published 27 years earlier. There an elderly woman, also unmarried like Clotilde, has adopted a baby girl. Now that the girl is grown up, she does everything in her power to keep her to herself, starting by breaking up her marriage, and ending... well, you can read it. Another example (this time with a "real" = biological mother): the mockingbird for hallmark movie "Mother knows best" (1997).
  • Nemesis (along with "The Clock Strikes Twelve") deals with an unhealthy kind of love, where love could go when taken to the extreme -- obsessive love. It's a theme that Christie often explored throughout her career but in Nemesis she shows how far and dark it could get. A flawed book but beyond that it's one of Christie's finest of her later books.
  • Nemesis (along with "The Clock Strikes Twelve") deals with an unhealthy kind of love, where love could go when taken to the extreme -- obsessive love. It's a theme that Christie often explored throughout her career but in Nemesis she shows how far and dark it could get. A flawed book but beyond that it's one of Christie's finest of her later books.

    Yes, the element of the over controlling or over-obsessed parent or guardian appears in "Ordeal by Innocence", and in the story "The herb of death". Unfortunately, this is a situation that happens, in different variations, in real life.
  • Mr. Shatterwaite (not sure this is how it’s spelled in English)
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