Adoring Agatha

Agatha ChristieWell I have been quiet for a little while, this is for 2 reasons, 1) the whole family has had some sort of nasty cold/flu type thing and 2) I have been reading Laura Thompson’s biography of Agatha Christie which weighs in at a whopping 485 pages. I have to say, I really enjoyed it, but be warned, if you haven’t read all of the Agatha Christie books then give this a miss. Laura Thompson divulges the solutions to most of Christie’s novels and plays. This may seem an odd thing to do, particularly with Agatha Christie when much of the tension within her work relies on the fact that we don’t know who did it. But as Agatha guarded her privacy and did few interviews there is a scarcity of material available to any biographer. Thompson uses Agatha’s fiction to try to get inside the head of the author. I have a degree in Literature and I still remain unconvinced at the validity of this approach, with poets I can see the point, but relying so heavily on fiction? Particularly crime fiction by an author who has always claimed that she set out merely to entertain, doesn’t seem an altogether reliable source, even if Thompson uses many quotes from Agatha’s work under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. That said, Thompson has certainly done her homework, speaking with those who remember Agatha and accessing archives, Thompson’s is an open-minded approach and I admire her honesty in presenting her work. She doesn’t claim to know the unknowable but instead offers us theories. Her writing style is hugely enjoyable and lends itself well to the elegant prose. I wish there were more photos and a slightly more chronological approach would have been better, there is a certain ‘flitting’ from year to year which tends to happen with biographies, also the end is a little week. All in all though I enjoyed it, but then I’m such an Agatha fan I’d enjoy anything new. I must reiterate – don’t read this bio if you haven’t read all of the books!

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2 Responses to Adoring Agatha

  1. Traci says:

    Wow, 485 pages is alot! I have always wanted to read her books but never knew where to begin.

    • cosybookworm says:

      All of the books stand alone so you don’t need to read them in any order. The first Poirot book is ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’ but you don’t have to read it first. One of my faves is ‘Evil Under the Sun’ and I love the ‘Christmas Pudding’ book (can’t remember the full title off-hand) but then that’s all christmassy so I would like it lol.

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