"I would like it to be said that I was a good writer of detective and thriller stories."
"Companionship is not a thing one needs every day--it is a thing that grows upon one, and sometimes as destroying as ivy growing round you."
"An ugly voice repels me where an ugly face would not."
"The saddest thing in life and the hardest to live through, is the knowledge that there is someone you love very much whom you cannot save from suffering."
"...any moment before the end might be the important one. This I believe."
"If I was born once again, I would like to be a woman--always!"
"An archaeologist is the best husband any woman can have: the older she gets, the more interested he is in her."
"It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story."
"...one cannot pretend that differences in income do not separate people. It is not a question of snobbishness or social position, it is whether you can afford to follow the pursuits that your friends are following."
"Very few people really stimulate you with the things they say. And those are usually men. Men have much better brains than women, don't you think? So much more originality."
"I don't think necessity is the mother of invention. Invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness--to save oneself trouble."
"The best time to plan a book is while you're doing the dishes."
"I do, after all, have a little experience with plots, dialogue, and knowing what audiences like, you know."
"I myself always found the love interest a terrible bore in detective stories. Love, I felt, belonged to romantic stories. To force a love motif into what should be a scientific process went much against the grain."
"I ... decided once and for all that it is no good thinking about real people--you must create your characters for yourself. Someone you see ... is a possible starting point, because you can make up something for yourself about them."
"One's always a little self-conscious over the murderer's first appearance. He must never come in too late; that's uninteresting for the reader at the end of the book. And the dénouement has to be worked out frightfully carefully."
"I am willing to believe that [those who kill] are made that way, that they are born with a disability, for which, perhaps, one should pity them; but even then, I think, not spare them."
"When I re-read those first [detective stories I wrote], I'm amazed at the number of servants drifting about. And nobody is really doing any work, they're always having tea on the lawn."
"I am like a sausage machine. As soon as [I finish a novel] and cut off the string, I have to think of the next one."
"Writing is a great comfort to people like me, who are unsure of themselves and have trouble expressing themselves properly."
"One problem is that the interruptions are generally far more enjoyable than writing, and once you've stopped, it's exceedingly difficult to get started again."
"There's no agony like [getting started]. You sit in a room, biting pencils, looking at a typewriter, walking about, or casting yourself down on a sofa, feeling you want to cry your head off."