Agatha Christie Lovers discussion

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Biography - which is worth reading?

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message 1: by Erin (last edited Aug 13, 2018 08:06AM) (new)

Erin Green | 48 comments Hi guys

I sporadically join you in reading Agatha Christie's work but was wondering which of the biographies is worth reading? I am open to advice for those who are passionate about her life.

Please state which biography you think is best and why?


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Her autobiography is the best, but of the biographies I've read, my own favourite is the one by Gillian Gill, Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries. Read it many years ago, so can't say why other than I remember it being very readable.


message 3: by Erin (new)

Erin Green | 48 comments Thank you Sara - much appreciated.


message 4: by Terri (new)

Terri Barnes | 21 comments Sarah wrote: "Her autobiography is the best, but of the biographies I've read, my own favourite is the one by Gillian Gill, Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries. Read it many years ago, so ..."

Agree! Her autobiography is very good. She does omit her famous (infamous?) disappearance, though. She also wrote a semi-autobiographical novel as Mary Westmacott, called Unfinished Portrait, and it is very revealing of her mental state after her first husband's infidelity. I also started reading Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks, which provides insight into her writing process. As a writer and editor, I find that very interesting. Also, I'm green with envy of the writer, John Curran, and his access to Greenway House and all her material.


message 5: by Erin (new)

Erin Green | 48 comments Thank you so much. Last weekend, we were holidaying in Brixham so we visited 'Greenway' Christie's holiday home. In the gift shop they had her autobiography so I purchased it based on your recommendations.

Thank you once again, I can't wait to read it.


message 6: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 4630 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: "Her autobiography is the best, but of the biographies I've read, my own favourite is the one by Gillian Gill, Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries. Read it many years ago, so ..."

I agree with you Sarah. She might have fluffed over some stuff but it was still really insightful.


message 7: by Sue (new)

Sue (mrskipling) Sarah wrote: "Her autobiography is the best ..."

I agree her autobiography is very interesting, but I'd warn anyone against the audio version I listened to. It was the one narrated by Judith Boyd and I found her voice quite irritating, and when she imitated Agatha's voice as a small child I had to actually take my earphones out, because it was painful to listen to! I'm sure there must be other versions though and I would recommend the book itself. She had an interesting life.

I also have The Grand Tour: Around the World with the Queen of Mystery. I haven't got round to it yet - has anyone else read that one?


message 8: by Louise (new)

Louise Culmer | 152 comments her autobiography is the best. Next to that my favourite is The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie by Charles Osborne. The Grand Tour is good if you want more detail about that episode in her life, it has lots of interesting photos and letters to her mother.


message 9: by Terri (last edited Nov 02, 2018 07:28PM) (new)

Terri Barnes | 21 comments I just started reading Come, Tell Me How You Live which in some editions is subtitled "An Archaeological Memoir." It's a book AC wrote during WWII, based on journals she kept while traveling with her husband, Max Mallowan, on his expeditions as an archaeologist. I'm only a few chapters in, but so far it's a delightful peek in to Christie's life in a very different world than the one we usually imagine her to inhabit. She used her Middle East travels and experiences for the settings and characters in many of her books, but this is first-person Agatha on her own adventures. It's only a small piece of her life, but a fun way to learn more about her as a person. (Note: The book reflects 1930s-1940s British sensibilities about race and culture, so be aware that some readers might find that offensive. This is the case when reading most contemporary writing of that era. So far in this book, I have found these references to be mild for their times, reflecting the author's respect for the people and cultures she encounters.)
UPDATE:
Finished it! An easy read and though it covers only a segment of her life, it's very revealing of Agatha Christie and her life.
I also read a novel, The Woman On the Orient Express, a fictionalized account of Agatha Christie's life soon after her divorce from Archie Christie and her introduction to Max Mallowan. The author, Lindsay Jane Ashford definitely draws on CTMHYL, as well as Christie's autobiography and other accounts of her life to create that story. It's well worth reading too, though it is fiction.


message 10: by Haley Renee (new)

Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader | 7 comments I know this is a bit of an old topic but I wanted to suggest to people to AVOID reading Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks it is so repetitive and monotonous that only sheer stubbornness got me through it. It also reveals like every plot....Yay lol


message 11: by Aušrinė (new)

Aušrinė (ausrejurke) | 154 comments Renee wrote: "I know this is a bit of an old topic but I wanted to suggest to people to AVOID reading Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks it is so repetitive and monotonous that only sheer stubborn..."

I have this book and I was really eager to read it, but I guessed that it might contain spoilers. It seems that it is on hold for a long time, until I finish all novels!


message 12: by Louise (new)

Louise Culmer | 152 comments Renee wrote: "I know this is a bit of an old topic but I wanted to suggest to people to AVOID reading Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks it is so repetitive and monotonous that only sheer stubborn..."

I thought it extremely interesting. And I don't really see how such a book could not have 'spoilers' it seems fairly obvious that it would have.


message 13: by Haley Renee (last edited Jan 14, 2019 08:36AM) (new)

Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader | 7 comments Louise wrote: "Renee wrote: "I know this is a bit of an old topic but I wanted to suggest to people to AVOID reading Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks it is so repetitive and monotonous that only ..."

I never said it wasn't obvious? It was just fair warning to those who may not have realized it. I thought it would be NICE of me to warn that it actually contains every outcome versus just the 'memorable plots' as the goodreads description says.

You can think it interesting just as I can think it uninteresting. It's one of the few books in my life I've ever given a two, perhaps if I realized it would have been like a WH Smith trivia book, I would have had a different expectation.

I thought we actually got to see more of what was in the notebooks.

Good reading to you! :)


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