The life of a remarkable woman

Lucy Worsley’s biography of Agatha Christie is very readable. It is obvious that the biographer greatly admires the mystery writer but she isn’t blind to her flaws and this book gives a fully rounded picture of an extraordinary life without spending too much time dwelling on the “missing” ten days when Agatha Christie “disappeared” which have been the subject of much discussion over the years.

Agatha Christie was a novelist by inclination and also as a profession. This book clearly shows how she changed her style and content in order to meet the needs of her market. The author shows us how Agatha Christie’s books were cutting edge crime novels and why they were so successful at the time of writing and up to the present day. It also shows how much time and effort she put into her career and how it affected her family.

There are lots of interesting snippets in this book including Ms Christie’s enthusiasm for surfing and her love for cream. The book also discusses her two marriages in some detail and outlined why the first one failed and why she had to make adjustments for her second husband. We also learn about her family and the unfortunate life of her brother.

I have read all of Agatha Christie’s novels and still enjoy rereading them. I am perhaps less able than Lucy Worsley to dismiss some of the racism, classism and sexism as “of its time”, especially in the later writing. I thought, however, that the author dealt with the criticisms of Agatha Christie and her books well and intelligently. On a couple of occasions the author’s voice did break through into the narrative which was unfortunate – we really don’t need to know which novel is Agatha Christie’s biographer’s favourite for example.

Overall, however, this is an very accessible and fascinating book about a remarkable woman.

5 thoughts on “The life of a remarkable woman

  1. I’ve just finished ‘The Christie Affair’, which I thought was a great premise poorly executed.

    I also like rereading Christie novels, although it’s been a while. There are some I still haven’t read for the first time, though.


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