Paratalk or Torque?

Suzie Eisfelder

Today’s paragraph comes from an Agatha Christie anthology, Problem at Pollensa Bay and Other Stories. The short story in question is ‘Yellow Iris’. I do love a good Christie book, and her short stories are no exception to this affection. I have most of the books published by her under this name, but none of her romance.

Poirot skirted his way delicately round the dancing floor on which couples were revolving. The table in question was set for six, but it had at the moment only one occupant, a young man who was thoughtfully, and it seemed pessimistically, drinking champagne.

A promising paragraph. You’ll agree that Christie wrote mostly murder mysteries. She had a good eye for writing detective characters, ones who were not necessarily in the police force. I had chosen a different paragraph with much more promise, but it had spoilers and I decided not to give away the plot.

I do like the use of the word ‘skirted’. It fits nicely with Hercule Poirot’s character. He is very precise in his choice of words and in his movements. Not only that but we’re shown in one word that he walked around the dance floor rather than barging right on through.

And then there’s the phrase ‘couple were revolving’. It gives some indication of time. Being on a dance floor nowadays only occasionally results in people revolving in dance, mostly they gyrate, and create interesting patterns. But back in the day…before my dancing days…people used to hold onto each other gently and revolve around the dance floor. Sometimes they look as if someone has them on a string, their movements are so perfect.

My last point is about the drinking. I have no idea how someone can be drinking champagne ‘pessimistically’. ‘Thoughtfully’ I can understand, maybe even ‘absentmindedly’ but how does one drink anything pessimistically? I’m trying to ignore the ‘champagne’ part. I’m not that keen on it, the bubbles cover up any flavour that might possibly be in it.

If you fancy clicking through and looking at this book you’re welcome. I’ve been enjoying a few clicks recently. Thank you everyone.

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