The Intertextual Use of Greek Mythology in Agatha Christie’s Detective Fiction

Keywords: detective fiction, intertextuality, hypotext, allusion, intertext, Greek myths, Agatha Christie


This study investigates the intertextual use of Greek mythology in Agatha Christie’s short stories Philomel Cottage, The Face of Helen, and The Oracle at Delphi, a short story collection The Labours of Hercules, and a novel, Nemesis. The results of this research based on the hermeneutical and comparative methods reveal that A. Christie’s intertextual formula developed over time. In her early works, allusions were based on characters' appearances and functions as well as on the use of motifs and themes from Greek myths. Later on, she turned to using allusory character names; this would mislead her readers who thought they already knew the formula of her stories. Although not a postmodern writer, A. Christie enjoyed playing games of allusion with her readers. She wanted them not only to solve a case but also to discover and interpret the intertextual references.

Author Biography

Tatiana Ternopol, K. D. Ushinsky Yaroslavl State Pedagogical University, Yaroslavl, Russia

Tatiana Ternopol, PhD in Cultural Anthropology, is an Associate Professor at the English Language
Department of K. D. Ushinsky Yaroslavl State Pedagogical University, Russia where she teaches English
literature to students of English Philology.


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How to Cite
Ternopol, T. (2020). The Intertextual Use of Greek Mythology in Agatha Christie’s Detective Fiction. English Studies at NBU, 6(2), 321-331.