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SLO Library celebrates the queen of crime

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Why read a book when you can watch the movie? I’m kidding! Nothing can beat the intimacy, immersion, and imaginative worlds offered by a good book. Nothing. Ever. Still, it is always a hoot to see our favorite authors’ works translated on the screen. That’s why the San Luis Obispo Library is starting a new series this year called “Watch a Great Book,” featuring movies adapted from celebrated works of literature. January’s author of choice is none other than that queen of crime, Dame Agatha Christie.

It all kicks off on Thursday, Jan. 17 (Whoa! Better hurry!), at the San Luis Obispo Library’s Community Room, with a free screening of a film adapted from Christie’s short story Witness for the Prosecution, starring Charles Laughton, Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, and Elsa Lanchester.

A local Agatha Christie expert will introduce each film and do a Q&A afterward. For film titles, call 781-1215 or visit slolibrary.org/filmcal.htm. The SLO Library is located at 995 Palm St. downtown. All screenings start at 10:15 a.m.

Not nearly enough notice? Have no fear. On the following Thursday, Jan. 31, a film adaptation of Christie’s novel 4:50 from Paddington—starring Margaret Rutherford, Arthur Kennedy, and Muriel Pavlow—will be screened. In 4:50 from Paddington, the elderly Miss Marple sees a man strangling a woman through the window of a passing train, yet the police find no evidence of a murder and dismiss Miss Marple as a crazy old lady. So she enlists Mr. Stringer, the local librarian, to trace the killer. The moral? Librarians have mad sleuthing skills and lots of free time on their hands, probably.

February’s featured author will be Henry James, with a Thursday, Feb. 4, screening of a film adaptation of Wings of the Dove, starring Helena Bonham Carter, Linus Roache, and Charlotte Rampling.

“A young society woman must choose between a life of ease and her lover, a common journalist,” press materials read. (A common journalist! Touché, SLO Library!) “However, a lonely heiress offers an unorthodox, yet irresistible offer to solve the problem.”

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