a picture is worth a thousand words

Words that kill

Agatha Christie is probably the best crime writer ever. She wrote more than ninety books, but only 82 as Agatha Christie. For this illustration I counted the words of 65 of those books. Including her most famous like “Ten Little Niggers” and “Murder on the Orient Express”. She also have a long list of movie and television adaptations. Take a look at her wikipedia article.

She used the word “murder” only 4158 times… not too bad!.

Most commonly used words: poirot (13236), mrs (10845), mr (9100), quite (7388), something (6469), really (6288), sir (5243), rather (4883), woman (4431), anything (4394), doctor (4167), murder (4158), suppose (3856), away (3611), inspector (3531), marple (3390), lady (3273), moment (3261), believe (3210), dear (2729), suddenly (2719), case (2704), tuppence (2609), matter (2549), smiled (2523), killed (2421), shall (2373), someone (2367), seen (2336), understand (2302), death (2240), wife (2201), nice (2150), dead (2107), felt (2042), died (2036), tommy (2005), nodded (1985), another (1964), police (1940), sort (1927), everything (1917), husband (1902), shook (1897), married (1896), bit (1881), natural (1855), else (1849), oliver (1823), exactly (1822)…

The battle between Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple has a clear winner. Poirot has more than quad hits than Miss Marple.

I’m working in a new implementation of my word-counting tool. The target is to be able to count words combo, instead of single words. I will publish someday a whole analysis, but I want to share some of my first results with you. For these 65 books one of the most used four (representative) words combo are “miss marple shook her head”. And the three words combo winner is “said miss marple” with 1217 hits.

Another illustration. This time the words sizes are proportional to it’s repetition.

4 Responses to “Words that kill”

  1. […] um retrato de letras recentemente, em lembrança ao seu aniversário de morte. A rainha do crime, Agatha Christie, tambĂ©m teve sua vez. Palavras de 65 de seus livros foram contabilizadas – e:a contagem de […]

  2. Victor says:

    Congratulations, really nice job! Loved it

  3. Robyn Foster says:

    Hi Juan,

    just stumbled upon your sight whilst doing a google search of Agatha Christie.
    Love your artworks (especially this dark and moody one of AC). Amazed at the thought and process that goes into each one.

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