Book review: Agatha Christie, An English Mystery by Laura Thompson, published by Headline
This year I’ve set myself a challenge to read something connected to each place I visit.
My first stop this Easter break was Belgium and as Belgium was the home of the fastidious fictional detective Hercule Poirot it seemed like a good opportunity to read this biography of his creator, Agatha Christie.
Behind the public persona of the Queen of Cosy Crime lies a remarkable and complex woman. Journalist Laura Thompson has used unpublished letters, papers and notebooks to put together a remarkably detailed portrait of the writer.
Although I’ve read a lot of Agatha Christie’s books, I knew very little about her and was intrigued to know more. This book follows her from her childhood in Devon, through her two marriages, and her writing career including the revelatory novels she wrote as Mary Westmacott.
This book’s very readable and well researched. I felt I really got to know Agatha and I liked her a lot.
I was interested to learn about her girlish personality, her travelling, her writing, her closeness to her mother and her attachment to her childhood home. I also learned more about her eleven-day disappearance which has always intrigued me.
It’s an affectionate and touching account I found difficult to put down. The bonus is that it’s also beautifully written, evoking the sights, sounds and smells of Agatha’s surroundings and getting right inside her head to understand her decisions, behaviour and responses.
I’d recommend it to anyone who’s interested in the writer – or even just in English middle class life in the 20th century.
My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️