R162, yeah I'm not a huge fan of the newer Marples myself, though I do think A Murder is Announced is somewhat better than many (it always takes me out of the story though during that scene where Mrs Swettenham starts talking about Edwards illegitimacy or whatever they changed that to, in the middle of a crowded store. It seems so unlikely a conversation like that would take place in those surroundings).
And oof, yes, I love me some Christie, but the anti-semitism is fairly regular and bizarre. It's so strange because you read her and I think personally you can see that she's generally empathetic to others and often argues through her plots against other people's prejudices (in the end it's never the suspicious foreigner who's guilty). I saw someone say something once I agree with a lot: it's like she was more progressive than her peers, but not progressive by our standards. In something like Hickory Dickory Dock you can see she's really trying, but is not always wholly successful. The anti-semitism can be so casual and just sitting there, that it shows how pernicious these opinions have been throughout history. Sometimes of course in novels it's in the mouths of characters, not the author of course.
Here are her own words in her own voice in her autobiography:
[Dr Jordan] had a fine head, and I thought, looking at him, what a splendid man he was. He had seemed always gentle and considerate. Then there was mention by someone, quite casually, of Jews. His face changed; changed in an extraordinary way that I had never noticed on anyone’s face before.
He said: “You do not understand. Our Jews are perhaps different from yours. They are a danger. They should be exterminated. Nothing else will really do but that.”
I stared at him unbelievingly. He meant it. It was the first time I had come across any hint of what was to come later from Germany. People who had travelled there, were, I suppose, already realising it at that time, but for ordinary people in 1932 and 1933, there was a complete lack of fore-knowledge.
On that day as we sat in Dr. Jordan’s sitting-room and he played the piano, I saw my first Nazi – and I discovered later that his wife was an even fiercer Nazi than he was. They had a duty to perform there: not only be Director of Antiquities or even to work for their country, but also to spy on their own German ambassador.
There are things in life that make one truly sad when one can make oneself believe them.