facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

An Agatha Christie mystery -- Alzheimer's?

April 4, 2009 at 12:21 AM   |   Comments

TORONTO, April 4 (UPI) -- Canadian researchers have found signs of Alzheimer's disease in later works of Agatha Christie, one of the most prolific and popular British mystery writers.

Ian Lancashire, an English professor, and Graeme Hirst, a computer expert, who both teach at the University of Toronto, compared the size of the vocabulary in Christie's final books with that of her earlier ones, The Guardian reported. They also looked for phrases being repeated and for the use of indefinite words like "something" or "anything."

Christie published her first book at 28 and her last at 82, with a lifetime total of more than 80.

"We found statistically significant drops in vocabulary, and increases in repeated phrases and indefinite nouns in 15 detective novels from 'The Mysterious Affair at Styles' to 'Postern of Fate,'" the researchers said.

"Elephants Can Remember," one of Christie's last books had a vocabulary 30 percent smaller than "Destination Unknown," written when Christie was 63, they said. The later book has 18 percent more repeated phrases and three times as many indefinite words.

Christie may have deliberately provided clues to her mental state, Lancashire told MacLean's Magazine. The title is a play on the saying that elephants do not forget and Christie also has a detective who is forced to summon Hercule Poirot because she is stumped.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Police: Woman said Jesus would pay her bill Police: Woman said Jesus would pay her bill
2
'Zombie-proof' cabin being sold online 'Zombie-proof' cabin being sold online
3
Watch: Robber bugs clerk, gets sprayed with Raid Watch: Robber bugs clerk, gets sprayed with Raid
4
Convicted murderer sues to end prison porn ban Convicted murderer sues to end prison porn ban
5
Video: Chewbacca breaks up superhero fight Video: Chewbacca breaks up superhero fight
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback