Agatha Christie, an Autobiography by Agatha Christie (1977, Hardcover)

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Agatha Christie, an Autobiography
by Agatha Christie
Publisher: Dodd, Mead & Company
Copyright 1977
Illustrated with Photographs
Book Club Edition

At the age of 60 this extraordinary author of the most popular mystery novels ever published began writing of her life and career which ended with her death at 85 in January 1976.  She was christened Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller.  Her story starts with her childhood in "Ashfield," the Miller family residence in Torquay on the southern coast of England.  Hers was a delightful upbringing in the late Victorian period when customs, manners, and the family group were so important in that upper-class society.  Here is a nostalgic description of a time much removed from her later life.

Dame Agatha goes on to tell of her early writing attempts, her marriage to Archibald Christie, the birth of her only child, Rosalind, her work as a Red Cross volunteer during World War I, her modest success with the publication in 1921 of her first mystery, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, her unhappy separation and divorce from Christie.  There follow vivid descriptions of her travels abroad while her novels were growing in popularity, of her meeting at an archaeological excavation site in the Moddle East with Max Mallowan, who was to become one of Britain's foremost archaeologists, and their subsequent marriage in 1930.

Dame Agatha writes in a charming manner of her work with her husband at various "digs" abroad, of the many well-known people they came to know, and of the purchase of their estate, "Greenway," on the River Dart in Devon.  World War II drastically changed her way of life with Max Mallowan and her family.  While her husband was overseas, Agatha Christie again became involved in volunteer work, but continued to write.  She describes producing during those trying times the two novels, Curtain and Sleeping Murder, which were not intended for publication until she was gone.  The 1950's and 1960's were the years of repeated successes with her books, plays and movies.  Her reaction to being recognized as one of the most widely read authors of all time makes interesting reading.

There is, of course, far more here than just her life story.  Dame Agatha reveals how she devised her many characters, such as Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.  She tells of her writing habits, designed not to interfere with her family life, and how she came upon her varied plots.  In describing all this she gives some good, solid advice to would-be writers.

For a world-renowned person who shunned publicity, who was quite against any intrusion into her private life by inquiring reporters which resulted in inaccurate, often sensational articles, this is a most revealing autobiography.  She describes so well her many problems as a young woman, a wife, and a mother and is quite candid in her opinion of people, including friends and relatives.  All in all it is a warm, readable, interesting book that will intrigue her millions of readers and delight the critic of fine autobiographies.

Condition:  Used.  Hardcover.  Dust cover.  Pages may be tanning and discolored from age.  Previous owner's "Library Of" stamp is on the front endpaper.  Dust cover and dust cover flaps are tanning and discolored from age and show a bit of edge wear.  Some page edges are darkened by age.  Binding is in the beginning stages of splitting in the photo pages, but pages are still in tact.

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