All of us have heard of Agatha Christie, many of us have read at least one of her books, and some of us have read several. I met a man once who said he had read all 80 of her mysteries, and I do not doubt him.
Agatha Christie was, by some calculations, the best selling author of all time. By other calculations, she was the second best, behind only William Shakespeare.
But who was she — really?
Agatha Mary Miller was born in 1890. She married Archibald Christie in 1914, had a daughter Rosalind, and divorced him in 1928. Two years later she married Max Mallowan and stayed married to him for 46 years until her death in 1976. She published her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in 1920 and never stopped writing.
Despite her worldwide fame and gigantic audiences, her life was as mysterious as one of her books. Now a new biography is available to American readers (it has been available to British readers for a while), and the book is getting rave reviews.
The book is Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life by Laura Thompson, and it is getting rave reviews.
Maureen Corrigan, reviewer for National Public Radio, said this about the book:
“No other biography of Christie that I’ve read so powerfully summons up the atmosphere of Christie’s own writing: that singular blend of menace and the mundane. As every biographer must, Thompson takes readers through the familiar milestones of Christie’s life: her idyllic childhood; her first marriage to a penniless aviator and cad; her notorious 11-day disappearance in 1926; and her happy second marriage to archaeologist Max Mallowan.” New Books Revive The Cold Cases Of Agatha Christie And The Golden State Killer : NPR
And the Wall Street Journal had this to say:
“Thompson mines this trove for clues not only to the writer’s inner life but also to her fiction’s recurring themes and enduring appeal. The woman who emerges in this elegant biography―shrewd, elusive, practical, romantic―cannot be defined by the era she immortalized. The queen of the cozy may be, in Thompson’s words, ‘stuck for all eternity at a tea-party in a country vicarage, sticking a fork into her seedcake as the bank manager’s wife chokes on a strychnine sandwich,’ but the lasting image here is poignant and fittingly chimerical.” The Wall Street Journal
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