Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie

A Mysterious Life

Book - 2018
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"It has been one hundred years since Agatha Christie wrote her first novel and created the formidable Hercule Poirot. A brilliant and award winning biographer, Laura Thompson now turns her sharp eye to Agatha Christie. Arguably the greatest crime writer in the world, Christie's books still sell over four million copies each year-- more than thirty years after her death-- and it shows no signs of slowing. But who was the woman behind these mystifying, yet eternally pleasing, puzzlers? Thompson reveals the Edwardian world in which Christie grew up, explores her relationships, including those with her two husbands and daughter, and investigates the many mysteries still surrounding Christie's life, most notably, her eleven-day disappearance in 1926. Agatha Christie is as mysterious as the stories she penned, and writing about her is a detection job in itself. With unprecedented access to all of Christie's letters, papers, and notebooks, as well as fresh and insightful interviews with her grandson, daughter, son-in-law and their living relations, Thompson is able to unravel not only the detailed workings of Christie's detective fiction, but the truth behind this mysterious woman"--Book jacket.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Pegasus Books,, 2018
Edition: First Pegasus Books hardcover edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781681776538
Characteristics: 534 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits, facsimiles ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Agatha Christie


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Jun 24, 2019

Agatha Christie has always interested me. The bits and pieces of information I have gleaned from reading her works and from various articles about her encouraged me to look for a decent biography of this influential writer. "Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life" was, unfortunately NOT that book.

The author, Laura Thompson, was lauded on the front cover of the biography as "New York Times bestselling author of..." As a former bookseller, I should'v known that this did not mean that the author knows how to write, only that the publishing house knows how to market. Ms. Thompson may have collected information on Agatha Christie but her presentation of that material leaves a lot to be desired. Her writing is painful: phrases like 'Now only imagination can bring it back to life.' pepper the text, demonstrating the author's desire to write that 'graceful turn of phrase' that characterize the best prose. While I understand and share that desire, I find it painful to read material that is written in a manner which characterizes the writing of first term college freshmen. Actually, in the years that I taught at University, many of the papers I read were better written than this book.

If you are looking for a good, well written and enjoyable biography of Christie, this is not it. We are lucky to have a truly amazing library system in K.C.L.S., one which offers its users the opportunity to read well written, well researched, enjoyable books in all genres. I would suggest you not waste your time with books as poorly written as this one. Life is too short. Let the books you read enlighten and delight you. Best wishes.

Jan 25, 2019

Originally published in 2007 with the subtitle An English Mystery, this US reissue entices fans with the final explanation for Agatha’s 11-day disappearance in 1926. The original Gone Girl seemed to have set up her unfaithful husband Archie with her apparent death where the only clue was an abandoned car by a river. He was the main suspect.

The truth was that Agatha checked into a posh hotel under the name of her husband’s mistress. Nice. The next 10 days of police investigation and panic was played out in the press. It’s unclear if Agatha intended her ploy to become so sensational or if things just got out of hand. She never mentioned her disappearance in her posthumous 1977 autobiography.

Thompson weaves random excerpts from Agatha’s novels throughout. It can be distracting to the busy reader but enjoyable for the first-timer. She offers new photographs and quotes, then tries to dissect her great body of work.

She reimagines the disappearance in Agatha's narrative style and we get a sense of how exciting it must’ve been to execute one of her own mysteries. You can feel how the public turned on her when she resurfaced unscathed. It’s infuriating to feel duped.

As for Archie, she divorced him and later married a man 14 years younger. Ah! Truly a liberated woman. Archie should be glad Agatha only planned a disappearance and not a murder.
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