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Agatha Christie

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  1,187 Ratings  ·  36 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, 544 pages
Published July 10th 2008 by Headline (first published 2007)
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Feb 18, 2012 Stringy rated it it was ok
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
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
I don't understand why this book has over 4 stars average. I found it disappointing. The author continuously uses quotes from Christies (fictional) books to prove how Christie thought about things. But it never becomes clear why writer Laura Thompson thinks those quotes express Christies personal thoughts instead of those uttered by the fictional characters in the book. It annoyed me so, that I couldn't finish it. I rather try another biography.
May 05, 2014 Lorna rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
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

I've loved Agatha Christie's mysteries since my early teens, so I was interested to learn about this amazingly popular author's life in a book which has interesting details from her early childhood untill the end if her life.
It's quite a personal look, charting love affairs, marriages, family relationships and friendships.
The chapters which dealt with her famous disappearance were particularly interesting....and surprising.....
The author talks at length about the influences in her life, both eve
Feb 04, 2016 Leanne rated it liked it
I couldn't even bring myself to finish this book. It was painful. While the author has done her research and clearly knows Christie's work the book does not go in chronological order of her life. She makes wild assumptions which may or may not be true. Every page is filled with random quotes from a novel to the point where you don't even know what is real and what is fiction. This could be good but not as a naive Agatha Christie reader.
Mary Beth
Agatha Christie was a fascinating woman. That fact is completely lost in this biography which tangents all over the map and has too many references to her novels which is completely distracting to her life story. Sorry, but this book needs a good editor.
Feb 09, 2010 Anita rated it did not like it
I really disliked this book. The writing is repetitive and pedestrian. But I persevered in order to try to learn something about Agatha Christie.
An Odd1
May 25, 2013 An Odd1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fan
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
Kelly Kuwabara
Nov 25, 2016 Kelly Kuwabara rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This was a really well-researched and in-depth biography of a great subject. Having never read another Christie biography, I also learned a lot; and the biographer's explanation of Agatha Christie's 1926 disappearance was persuasive. She also had really good endnotes; if that sounds sarcastic or like faint praise, it isn't meant that way. Particularly in a biography, I appreciate careful source notations. Additionally, she had a good number of primary sources - interviews with family ...more
Jan 13, 2009 trishtrash rated it really liked it
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
Nov 01, 2009 Ali rated it really liked it
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
Sarah Leong
Feb 10, 2011 Sarah Leong rated it really liked it
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 -
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
May 27, 2013 Jen rated it really liked it
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
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
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
Apr 24, 2013 Abigail rated it really liked it

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.
Jul 19, 2009 Sull rated it liked it  ·  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.
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.
Kate Millin
Dec 21, 2009 Kate Millin rated it really liked it
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.
Maureen Farrimond
Jan 28, 2013 Maureen Farrimond rated it liked it
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.
Colin Mitchell
This was interesting but the fist two-thirds was a hard going and a number of quotes from Christies books were repeated. The book picks up once it moves into the analysis of her life and times gets going. Hard going.
May 18, 2011 Zuzi rated it it was ok
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... ...more
Dec 29, 2012 Vaiva rated it it was ok
Pagaliau įveikiau. Negaliu pasakyti, kad labai intriguojanti, gal tiksliau labai jau rezervuota ir (galbūt) cenzūruota. Užtruko, bet visgi verta skirti šiai knygai laiko. Gal ir neprivers labiau mėgti šios rašytojos kūrinių, bet tikrai leis geriau į ją įsižiūrėti.
Peggie Ross
Jan 15, 2016 Peggie Ross rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book a lot and learned a great deal from it. I found it amazing how sad her life was in many ways. The references and quotes from so many of her books and letters were very interesting and added to the entire experience.
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.
May 24, 2008 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 24, 2015 Vigee rated it it was amazing
I was so happy the entire time I was reading this biography. It's partial and gently humorous, Laura Thompson's writing style is delicious, and it sent me back to the books. Can't ask for more.
Heather Mathie
May 15, 2014 Heather Mathie rated it it was amazing
Loved it
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