N or M?

 I am the fan of Agatha Christie in Taiwan. I read the novel N or M? recently, but something  confuses me. The following are my questions:
Are Anthony Marston  and Tony marston the same person? If your answer is yes, why Agatha Christie did not just write Anthony Marston or just write Tony marston in this story?  


  • I am not exactly sure, not remembering much about the novel, but authors do often vary the way they write a name in order to avoid repetition. Tony is short for Anthony.  Repetition is supposed to be bad stylistically. If you write, for instance, 'horse' in one paragraph, you are supposed to find another synonym to make the paragraph less boring. You'd write 'the beast', or 'the steed'. Agatha Christie might write 'the detective' 'M. Poirot,' 'Poirot',' Hercule Poirot'. 'the little Belgian' at different points in the same chapter purely to make the prose more enjoyable to read. 
  • Alex123Alex123 taiwan
    So, Tony marston who is the colleague of Tommy and tuppence’s daughter,Debra is the same as Anthony? They are just different way of writing?
  • I can't remember the story, as I don't really like the Tommy and Tuppence series, but definitely, Tony is a shortened form of Anthony. A person would be given the name Anthony at birth, and their friends would shorten it to Tony (just as  the following names are shortened:  Victoria to Vicky; Peter to Pete; Richard to Dick and, of course, Thomas to Tommy). I doubt if Agatha Christie would have featured two different characters with the same name, as to do so would lead to confusion. Don't worry, we will have clarity on the issue soon, as one of the moderators, probably GKCFan, will surely post to answer your question definitively.
  • edited May 2016
    I just glanced through the book - Tony and Anthony are definitely the same. Interestingly, Agatha Christie herself, in "Murder in Mesopotamia", Gives an opinion about using different forms of names or titles, in the role of Dr. Reilly. In the introduction, when he talks about Nurse Leatheran's narrative, he says: "If she calls Hercule Poirot "Poirot" in one paragraph and "Mr. Poirot" in the next, such a variation is both interesting and suggestive. At one moment she is, so to speak, "remembering her manners" (and hospital nurses are great sticklers for etiquette) and at the next her interest in what she is telling is that of a pure human being - cap and cuffs forgotten!" In the same way, the use of the more formal "Anthony" and the more casual "Tony" can give some indication of the situation and the perceptions of the people involved - "Tony" when they are feeling relaxed and friendly towards him, "Anthony" in more formal or uncertain situations.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Tony and Anthony are one and the same, Tony is short for anThONY
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