Ayo Onatade is an avid reader of crime and mystery fiction. She has been writing reviews, interviews and articles on the subject for the last 12 years; with an eclectic taste from historical to hardboiled, short stories and noir films
Unless you have been a dedicated follower of Agatha Christie from the 1960s, the name of Tom Adams may possibly be unfamiliar to you. Well, let’s put this straight. He is the artist who illustrated Agatha Christie’s covers for both her UK and US publishers. Beginning in 1962 with Murder is Announced to Miss Marple’s Final Cases in 1970. Adams produced a defining style which covered over one hundred iconic paintings.
Tom Adams Uncovered: The Art of Agatha Christie and Beyond is a luscious and thoroughly worthwhile book that details the covers that he not only did for the Christie books but also other authors as well such as John Fowles, Peter Straub, Eric Ambler, Sue Grafton and including Raymond Chandler.
Each image is accompanied by the artist’s explanatory notes describing the progression of the paintings and ideas, along with some rather amusing and also illuminating tales. For example, Adams on Christie’s The Moving Finger: “I vividly recall the pleasure I derived from painting the very simple still life and the challenge of keeping the beautiful script lying flat on the parchment. The document comes from an interesting volume of Record Office facsimiles in my possession.”
With an eye for detail and often including clues about the stories within his paintings some of them came across as not only being macabre but also gruesome (look at Christie’s Halloween Party). This however should not stop the reader from delving into this book. It will no doubt give you hours of pleasure just by slowly absorbing the different ways in which the artist has managed to visualise the various covers.
The book is co-written by the Agatha Christie historian JohnCurran.
For more on Tom Adams Uncovered: The Art of Agatha Christie and Beyond, check out Getting Away With Murder #106 September 2015 – click here.