Is Ariadne Oliver similar to Agatha Christie?

Does anybody else feel that Christie created the character of Ariadne Oliver in her own image? For Ex: Poirot is a Belgian while Ms Oliver's Character is a Finn....


  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Yes, It was Agatha Christie's attempt at poking fun at herself, she had a Forreign Sleuth who she got fed up of like Agatha Christie did
  • glalonzo0408glalonzo0408 Pennsylvania, United States
    I agree. I must admit I adore Ariadne Oliver.  
  • I think that she might be a caricature of Agatha Christie, an over exaggerated  version of herself. AC wasn't a die hard feminist like Mrs Oliver. As far as I know, AC never got mixed up in a real life murder!
  • MonAmiMonAmi Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
    Since the first book with Ariadne, I thought that she was so similar to AC... I love Ariadne in the books and in the series as well! She's so funny and somehow attractive! I loved her in Third Girl when she has been attacked! hahaha
  • GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States
    Some call Ariadne Oliver a self-parody, but I think that Mrs. Oliver is an original character shaped by Christie's own experiences and her perception of her own public image.
  • I agree cause now i'm reading Elephant can remember ,Oliver and Christie look the seems
  • In addition to what @MissQuin and @Tommy_A_Jones have written, there's also the way the two of them never knew what to say to the public, tried to stay out of limelight... poked fun at their books while also showing the tremendous creative energy it took. I think there's one place where A.C. actually has Ariadne Oliver lay claim to a novel that she herself wrote.
    There's also what to be said for @GKCfan's point of view: all the small characteristics of Ariadne Oliver: her addiction to apples, her constant varying hair arrangements, her small car, her tropical jungle papered living room, etc. She's as unique a character, in her own way, as is Hercule Poirot. 
    Though she might serve as a vehicle for A.C.'s self-amusement, or self-expression.
  • From Wikipedia:
    Christie was quoted as saying, "I never take my stories from real life, but the character of Ariadne Oliver does have a strong dash of myself." The author of the article went on to state, "It is perfectly true that sometimes she works at her stories in a large old-fashioned bath, eating apples and depositing the cores on the wide mahogany surround." John Bull Magazine, 11 August 1956. Volume 100, Number 2615 (p. 3)

  • FrankFrank Queensland, Australia
    siddharthSatpathyshifra.shomron comments their can be no question about it. AC created the character of Ariadne Oliver in her own image. What puzzles me is that AC never mentions Ariadne Oliver in her Autobiography which make Ariadne Oliver the only main AC character not to rate a mention in her Autobiography.  
  • FrankFrank Queensland, Australia
    edited May 2014
    You are quite right@shifra.shomron. Agatha Christie did actually have Ariadne Oliver lay claim to a novel that she herself wrote. In Cards on the Table, there is a reference to Mrs Oliver's book The Body in the Library. This is as I am sure you know an Agatha Christie novel featuring Miss Marple. 
  • Christopher_WrenChristopher_Wren Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
    While Mrs Oliver definitely has a lot in common with Agatha Christie, I think the character is much more extrovert than her creator.
  • vazinvazin Shkoder, Albania
    yes , i always feel that agatha is  close to agatha christie, as you said agatha has a belgian detective and ardiane has a finnish one, and also in the begnings of "elephants can remember" the way how ardiane deal with somethings (as meeting her noveles' readers) reflet agatha's onces
  • strawberry13funstrawberry13fun Bromley, United Kingdom
    I feel like Ariadne is a way for Agatha Christie to represent herself and shows her personality of, which I love!
  • mike1410mike1410 Franklin, New Zealand
    I think that the portrayal of Ariadne Oliver by Zoe Wanamaker in the ITV Poirot television adaptations is absolute perfection, and ranks alongside Joan Hickson's Miss Marple
  • I love Ariadne in the books! And Zoe Wanamaker is a perfect Ariadne in the series. Ariadne is so funny and witty and she has a Finnish detective!
  • I feel that too. I think it is a bit annoying sometimes. You can tell that AC is just telling you what she thinks about writing detective books. But I think Ariadne Oliver is a really engaging character.
  • MarcWatson-GrayMarcWatson-Gray Dundee City, United Kingdom
    The other similarity was( correct me if I'm wrong )is that Agatha Christie was not too keen on publicity,saying that she saw herself as a writer and not a celebrity.
    I don,t think (at least in the T.V. adaptations)that Ariadne  particularly liked  being recognised or asked to talk about her work in public.
  • Same in the books! In Elephants can remember, for instance, AO talks to Poirot about her dislike of literary parties: "I see, or rather, I saw in the paper that you were attending a literary luncheon today. Famous women writers. Something of that kind. I thought you never did that kind of thing." "I don't usually," said Mrs. Oliver, "and I shan't ever do it again." "Ah, You suffered much?" Poirot was quite sympathetic.  He knew Mrs. Oliver's embarrassing moments. Extravagant praise of her books always upset her highly because, as she had once told him, she never knew the proper answers.  

    Sounds a lot like AC.
  • GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States
    In John Curran's research, he discovered that at one point Christie thought of introducing Mrs. Oliver's brother!  One wonders if he would have been much like Christie's own brother...
  • Am i the only one who doesn't like ariadne oliver ?? I just don't like her personality and all that messy Ness of her .. i like agatha christie's personality though
  • When I was young I didn't like Ariadne Oliver for similar reasons - her messiness, in her personal life and her assurance that she always knows the murderer by instinct in cards on the table. As I grew older I found myself identifying with her more.
  • MarcWatson-GrayMarcWatson-Gray Dundee City, United Kingdom
    I didn't care too much for her in the books...It was only after seeing Zoe Wannamaker's performance of her that i changed my opinion.When reading a story that involves A.O. I always picture Zoe in my head and i smile....
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I prefer All Poirots other friends apart from Mr Satterthwaitte but I do like Ariadne.
  • I have read all A. C. novels + autobiography  + various other books about her. Now reading again 'Elephants can Remember' I think this novel is not the best plot BUT this novel is genial. She is genuinely playing herself in Mrs Ariadne Oliver and the dialogues with Hercule Poirot are pure wit from both sides. With twinkeling eyes she is amusing herself gorgeously. If you want to know more about A.C. After reading her autobiography you should reread this novel.
    In Ariadne Oliver she shows her personality, character, tastes, etc. etc.,
  • I reckon that as AC got older she slipped out of character as she wrote and simply expresses her own feelings and opinions through the dialogue. We've been discussing Then There Were None. I ask myself, would Ariadne Oliver have written about a SPOILER judge who lures and tricks several victims into their death or suicide. No, she wouldn't, she is too nice, light, and bumbling and airy fairy? AC, I fear, is more like the judge from TTWN in her soul. Wise, knowing human nature, but with a ruthless streak.
  • PrescilliaBebiPrescilliaBebi Paris, France
    Just read "The Mysterious Affair At Styles", "The Secret Adversary", "Hercule Poirot's Christmas", "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" but I Think that, yes.
  • I can't see Agatha Christie being the sort of person who would eat apples and drop the cores on her clothes. I sense an admiration from AC for Rosemary Darnley in Evil Under the Sun, the sort of no-nonesense practical, capable person whose hair fits their head and face, as she says and has an efficient elegance. This admiration is palpable as coming from the author's own feelings - though ascribed to Poirot. There is cool, controlled Rosemary and, in  other novels, Ariadne, by contrast, is constantly changing her coiffe, irritatingly being unable to settle on one style which suits her. In Dead Man's Folly she forgets that she has just had a pile of tight curls arranged, and goes to run her fingers through her hair. Sorry, Agatha Christie is so well-organised with her plotting and writing structures that I don't see her being like that. In Dead Man's Folly we are told that Ariadne Oliver has the profile of an eagle. I see her as an eccentric, not like AC at all. Zoe Wannamaker probably doesn't look as AC intended AO to look, but she does a very good job anyway.

    There might be similarities when you get beneath the surface: attituudes to writing and to one's public. Ariadne is in Hercule Poirot's shadow: I don't see Agatha Christie writing someone who is based on herself, and having them diminished by the great French brain.
  • I agree with you Griselda, I don't see Agatha Christie as being an eccentric person. I think A.C. was down to earth and a normal woman in all sense of the word. In her autobiography you don't get the sense that she was an eccentric and disorderly. Yes she was a private person but that is not the same as eccentric. When you listen to her grandson Mathew Prichard in his videos he paints a portrait of his grandmother as a normal person, nothing like Ariadne Oliver in terms of her strange habits.
  • That's true. The family would know her best. Just thinking of the way Ariadne, in Dead Man's Folly, telephones Poirot and tells him to come down to Devon right that hour, but omits to add what for... it's all too eccentric to be part of Agatha Christie's world and the way she was.
  • I think in some parts Ariadne Oliver is like Agatha Christie - in her attitude towards writing, in her shyness in crowds, in her flashes of insight (as in the end of "The pale horse" SPOILER where she puts together all the cases of hair falling out). My guess is that Agatha Christie used Ariadne Oliver as a mouth to express some of her own feelings and ideas, and also had a lot of fun making her a kind of caricature of herself - the scattiness, the uncompleted sentences and ideas, the jumping about from idea to idea (as in Cards on the Table) don't seem to belong to Agatha Christie, but make Ariadne Oliver an amusing character..
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