Margot Kinberg: A Matter of Motive

Two things which kept me this week from spending time on a current novel I am trying to write were President Joe Biden’s inauguration and Margot Kinberg’s latest novel and the first in her new Patricia Stanley series, A Matter of Murder.

A man is dead in his car, slumped over the steering wheel. But who killed him? Ron Clemens is the last person you’d think would be murdered. His wife and son love him. His employees respect him. His business is doing well. His clients seek him out. But someone wanted him dead. The Clemens case is a golden opportunity for newly minted police detective Patricia Stanley to prove herself. It’s her first murder investigation, and she wants to do well. But it’s not going to be easy. For one thing, she has plenty to learn about handling a murder. And nearly everyone involved in this one is hiding something. Patricia faces her own challenges, too, as the investigation brings back the murder of an old love.

Margot Kinberg (also the author of the Joel William series) is very knowledgeable when it comes to crime fiction and, in particular, Agatha Christie. Go to her select month box in her crime-fictional website and click on any date. You are bound to find something on Christie.

In The Creative Brain (a very interesting documentary which I recently watched on Netflix written and produce by Dr David Eagleman based on the book: “The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes The World” by Anthony Brandt and David Eagleman.) there is a section by the Pulitzer Prize winner and much regarded novelist Michael Chabon: “I’m going to allow my knowledge of my predecessors and their work to inform and help shape what I’m doing not because I’m trying to copy them but because I know my unique experience is going to help me intervene to help produce a work that is not like its antecedents in some way.” 

It A Matter of Murder Margot Kinberg uses motive as the driving force of her novel. Taking what she’s learnt from studying Christie, Margot Kinberg’s novel is a unique whodunit.

The main character, Patricia Stanley, a gay woman who is trying to juggle the difficulties which being a cop poses on her relationship along with her investigation in her first murder case, is a delightful character full of good intentions and many missteps. Besides being a whodunit, this is also a novel about how police go about investigating a murder. This investigation kept me reading way into the night. I was not only curious about finding who the murderer was but was also interested in the process of the investigation itself.

I have a feeling that we will hear more of Patricia Stanley and her side kick Luke Enders. I for one, hope so. This is a fun read with an interesting cast of characters.

Investigating Agatha Christie



About a month ago I went to Investigating Agatha Christie an exhibition on the life and work of one of the greatest 20th-century novelists. If that was not enough to get me to Old Montreal – a charming area of the city with its European flavour – the fact that it was being held at The Montreal Archaeology and History Museum got my curiosity along with my feet walking the cobble stoned street of the Old Port.  Here’s what I discovered:

I. With her husband, Max Mallowan, a prominent archaeologist, Christie spent plenty of time travelling with him and his team actively taking part on excavation sites in Syria, Iran and Egypt. Her day job was to photograph and film the artifacts that were being dug up. In the evenings she wrote and drew on her experiences in the Middle East for novels such as Murder in Mesopotamia and They Came to Baghdad.

II. Agatha Christie learned about poisons by being an assistant apothecary. Some 30 of the victims in her books died of poisoning.

Give me a decent bottle of poison,” she is supposed to have said, “and I’ll construct the perfect crime.”

Click here for more on how Christie’s fictions are profoundly shaped by the poisons that their characters skillfully employ

III. In Death Comes as an End Christie invents the historical whodunit.

IV. As a child Agatha was considered the slow one in the family.

V.  66 detective novels

6 novels

150 short stories

10 plays

and 2 memoirs.



VI. Ariadne Oliver, the fictional character in several Agatha Christie novels is a mystery novelist and a friend of Hercule Poirot. She was patterned after Christie herself.

“People say things to me — you know — how much they like my books, and how they’ve been longing to meet me — and it all makes me feel hot and bothered and rather silly. But I manage to cope more or less. And they say how much they love my awful detective Sven Hjerson. If they knew how I hated him! But my publisher always says I’m not to say so.”

For more on Ariadne Oliver’s writing advice click here.

VII. Her most famous play The Mousetrap opened in the West End of London in 1952, and has been running continuously since then.

VIII. A rose is named after her.

Image result for The Agatha Christie rose


IX. She dedicated her novel Dumb Witness to her wire-haired terrier Peter.  In the novel, the dog Bob is directly inspired by her own pet.

Agatha Christie pictured in the 1920s


X. Total sales of her books are estimated at 2 billion exceeded only by The Bible.

Do you have a favorite Agatha Christie book?