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Agatha Christie

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  463 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Biography of great crime writer is detection job itself. Growing up in Edwardian era, what were her relationships - two husbands and daughter? What mysteries still surround her life - disappearance in 1926? What do six novels under alias Mary Westmacott reveal about her? Based on her letters, papers, notebooks, relative interviews. Works, endnotes, index, 60 photos.
Paperback, 534 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Headline Book Publishing (first published 2007)
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Lorna
I really enjoyed this book. Although I have read quite a few biographies sometimes I find them hard to get into because they're more or less set out like a timeline of the person's life. Although of course this book does more or less the same thing it is written in more of a literary fashion, which as a reader of mainly fiction I found easier to read. I especially like the way that she handles the 10 days when Agatha went missing, coming up with her most plausible scenario of what she thinks mig ...more
Stringy
I was disappointed by this biography, which I picked up at the Border's closing sale. Thompson is very defensive of Christie, as if fans of her novels couldn't handle anything less than perfection. I'd rather have an honest, warts-and-all look at someone's life than a hagiography.

And with 'unique access to her diaries, letters and family', I expected to see more of Christie's own opinions. Instead, the quotes from primary sources were bland while the author supported her opinions with quotes fro
...more
Rebecca
This is a problematic book. It has its good points, and some very negative. But let's start with the positive. The book is incredibly well researched, if there is anything you ever wanted to know you will find it here. You will find a whole lot of information you didn't even know you wanted to know. And Laura Thompson clearly loves her subject, she loves to write this book and it is very evident throughout it. No, throughout most of the book. She loves the subject and she loves the writer Christ ...more
trishtrash
Agatha Christie is one of my favourite authors, and Laura Thompson's biography captures the imaginative, timelessly endearing qualities of Christie's life and work, even attempting to define the ineffable durability of her books (despite the fact that they are constantly decried as being dated, xenophobic, racist and unrealistic, Christie is still the bestselling author after the Bible and Shakespeare). However, the great emphasis on her relationships with her husbands and her daughter - not jus ...more
An Odd1
Overall worth while despite contradictions, never mind if reader is Agatha fan. Writing style varies - romantic, stream-of-consciousness, crisp, quasi-Freud pop psycho-babble, boring conglomeration from contemporaries (P.D. James jealous, sarcastically hateful, reviews, real-life cases "life-long obsession with Croyden murders" p 379, gossip rumor. Dubiously connects rumor "Katherine had no desire to sleep with men, she still wanted them in her thrall" p 285 about archaeologist Woolleys to ficti ...more
Ali
This is quite a big book, and so has kept me going all week. I am reading slowly at the moment I think too. But it has been a joyous companion to my first week back at work after that lovely break I had in the Lakes. I do love AC and this is a fascinating, and very readable book about all areas of her life. Laura Thompson does come down strongly on the side of Agatha, and although she does make references to the various criticisms and less favourable biographies of her life, she manages to quick ...more
Andrea Hickman Walker
This was a most enjoyable read. Unlike many biographies, it does not seek to hide the more unexceptionable sides to the subject. Why did she disappear? A number of theories have been put forward, but I must admit that Laura Thompson's is the most plausible I've heard so far. Why does she write the books she does, the way she does? Answer in here.

All in all, Thompson makes a convincing argument as to Christie's motivations, strengths and weaknesses. She also manages to not dismiss Christie's writ
...more
Sarah
This is a very good and extremely readable biography. I might actually have given it another half star since I did enjoy it quite a lot, but I was a little offended by how snarky and repetitive the author was about Christie's looks. I'm as shallow as the next person, but having it reiterated, ad nauseum, how fat and unattractive a woman was came off to me as both annoying and more than a little sexist (I can't see a bio of, say, Hemingway concentrating quite so much on how fuckable he was). But ...more
Sarah Leong
Agatha is one of my 2 childhood favorite authors, the other being Enid Blyton. I first read an abridged copy of Murder of Roger Ackroyd in 1961, in my first year of school -that spurred me on to a life-long love of reading - all thanks to my beloved late father - whom I think of constantly and thank again, whenever I am enjoying a good read.
I remeber he bought me 3 books - this,one Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and an obscure book, Red Sea at Sinai - I cannot locate the book or author -
...more
Jen
I knew basically nothing but the bare outlines of Agatha Christie's life, so this was a very interesting book about an author I love. I kind of wish I had read it before I read any of Christie's books, rather than when I had already read almost all of them, but that would have been impossible, since this biography was published in 2007. I do feel like the author has an obvious love for Agatha Christie, which clouds her objectivity, and I also feel like she quoted from Christie's works to support ...more
Browse-A-Book
It was interesting to read about Agatha Christie as a person. From a cloistered, secure upbringing in Devon, she developed into a woman of the world who travelled extensively and wasn't intimidated by the publishing world or getting her hands dirty doing the archeological digs with Max. I loved her for not being precious about her writing and being perfectly happy to settle down to writing a bestseller on a foldaway table and chair.
Laura Thompson wrote with sensitivity and insight and I've no d
...more
Abigail

I quite enjoyed this biography although I agree that it was a bit defensive in places. I liked the way the author used the Mary Westmacott novels in conjunction with Christie's own autobiography. And I must say that I don't think anyone is likely to propose a better solution to the (in)famous disappearance. Thompson's really rather negative about Christie's second marriage, and Max Mallowan does not come across as an entirely likeable character from this book.
Sull
Aug 11, 2009 Sull rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sull by: Library find.
Very good, detailed biography focussing on the good stuff--relationships, the germs of the books. She had an extraordinary life, that's for sure, growing up in Devon, travelling all over the world, then enjoying her late-in-life "getaways" to visit her second husband at his archeological dig in Iraq. Wish I'd been able to meet her, though she was very shy.
PastAllReason
Careful biography of Christie. I learned quite a bit about her that I did not previously know. For all its care in extensive drawing from source material that includes Christie's own works, I found it not quite as readable as it could be with difficulty in flow. Still, it is worth reading for its insights into Christie's character.
Jacquie South
Interesting to a degree, but not much fun to read. Really had to plug my way through it. I still like Agatha Christie's books, but just goes to show, that sometimes it's better not knowing about the life of a favourite author - didn't add anything to my understanding or enjoyment of her novels.
Maureen Farrimond
I am a long time fan of Agatha's. I found the book really interesting and loved the accompanying exerpts from her books. There was a television documentry on recently which featured the book - presented by David Suchet (poiret). Brilliant book! Thanks for sharing it.
Kate Millin
I found this an interesting read as it is the first biography of Agatha Christie that I have read. The way the author dealt with the mystery of her disappearance was a bit long winded, but the whole treatment was very sympathetic.
Zuzi
This book was a little boring to me. It doesn`t grab me anyway. It is too long and too bla bla bla... This is not book for me. The only thing that I liked in it were quotes. There were some really good ones. But nothing more...
Medlibrarian
This was a good, solid, and interesting biography of Christie. Unlike some of the other bios I've read of her it was neither sycophantic nor biting. Very well researched.
Anita
I really disliked this book. The writing is repetitive and pedestrian. But I persevered in order to try to learn something about Agatha Christie.
Jeffrey Marks
Good biography though a bit flowery at times. The insightful comments are sometimes lost in the myriad quotes used from the Christie texts.
Mark
It seemed longer than it's 534 pages--more than you ever wanted to know about Agatha even if you were at one point interested.
TLW
Incredibly biased and Ms Thompson clearly loves Christine very very much, but entertaining nonetheless.
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