Agatha Christie – An English Mystery

I´ve always been a fan of Agatha Christie and I´ve probably read most (if not all) of her crime-novels. Laura Thompsons biography Agatha Christie – An English mystery from 2007  is the latest Agatha Christie biography.

I was very curios to see what the author could reveal about Christies mystery from 1926 when Christie dissappeared for 11 days. She was found at a hotel where she had stayed under the name of her husbands mistress and it was said that she had had amnesia.  During the eleven days the police dragged lakes and her dissappearence made the headlines big time. Had her husband killed her? Was it a PR-trick or had she fled the country? It was truly a real life mystery and until today no one really knows what happened but Thompson gives you an idea of what happened and why Christie did what she did.

Thompson clearly  has a lot of sympathies for Agatha Christie and tends to defend her when neccesary. This makes of course the book a bit non objective.  However the parts where Thompsons sympathies takes over are pretty easy to detect and almost makes it easier to create an opinion on your own.  The biography is also a bit uneven. Some parts can be a bit slow but other parts are brilliant and very interesting. Her relationship to her mother as well and her daughter are particularly interesting as well as the marriage to both of her husbands.

I found out a lot of things I didn´t knew before and to me Agatha Christie as a person became a much more complex and interesting woman then the picture of her I had in my mind before I read this biography.

If you are a big fan of Agatha Christie and want to learn more about her,  this is something for you.

The book is a review copy from the Swedish Publishing Company deckarförlaget PUSSEL

My top 5 Agatha Christie Novels

1. Murder at the Orientexpress, 1934 – I was very surprised by the ending and ever since I´ve first read the book I´ve always dreamed of traveling with the Orientexpress from Paris to Istanbul, which unfortunately no longer is possible. Don´t miss the movie from the 70´s where Ingrid Bergman won an Oscar for best supporting actress. (Poirot)

2. Death on the Nile, 1937 – I just love the exotic in this book. The murder is planned in advanced but hardly realistic way. I read the book and loved it! I saw the movie and loved it! (Poirot)

3. 4.50 from Paddington, 1957 – I loved the book and I also liked Margaret Ruthford in the movie from the 1961 on the contrary to Agatha Christie herself who accordning to Laura Thompsons biography hated the actor as miss Marple, but I can´t blame her. In the movie Miss Marple takes service at the mansion in order to get close to the family but in the book Miss Marple gets help from the young Lucy Eyelsbarrow and the book is better then the movie. (Miss Marple)

4. Five little pigs, 1942 – This was one of the first Christie novels I read and I read it again and again. This is one of the books where Poirot solves a crime who took place a long time ago.  (Poirot)

5. Evil under the sun – A very clever murder mystery. It is  impossible to understand how they comitted the murder before Poirot reveals it.(Poirot)

What are your favourite Christie crime-novels?

One comment

  1. I felt the same way about Laura Thompson’s bio — a bit uneven, a bit too much hagiography. But interesting, nevertheless. If you haven’t yet read it, I’d recommend Jared Cade’s Agatha Christie and the Eleven Missing Days. Cade’s sole aim is to get to the bottom of AC’s disappearance, and the text reads very much like a real-life mystery. Very absorbing and lots of original research and personal interviews with witnesses who were still alive when he wrote the book.

    As for AC herself, Miss Lemon’s favourites are: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and Death Comes as the End (1944) — set in ancient Egypt and brilliant proof that murder is no 20th century (or British!) invention.

    Happy reading!

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    30 November 2009 20:22