cover image An Autobiography

An Autobiography

Agatha Christie, intro. by Mathew Prichiard. Harper, $29.99 with CD (544p) ISBN 978-0-06-207359-4

Originally published in 1977 and out-of-print, this new edition of Christie’s autobiography includes a CD of the grand dame of mystery authors expounding on her life as a writer—making it especially welcome as a holiday treat for all Christie fans. Although Christie’s tales reportedly still sell in numbers only exceeded by the Bible and Shakespeare, and are almost as timeless, her life (1890–1976) and work go back a long way. If the descriptions of the happy (despite the death of her feckless father), comfortable Victorian-era childhood of a genius of genre strikes as a bit ingenuous, things become more delectable with maturity: the travels, the coming-out parties, the nursing career, first marriage, and first publication (The Mysterious Affair at Styles). Christie’s decision to utter not a word about her celebrated disappearance is as revealing as it is secretive. Her second marriage, to a younger Catholic archeologist, marks the beginning of the “satisfying” years (known to most people as the Great Depression). In all, after a somewhat tiresome first third in muted colors, this memoir fulfills the intention to extend by one year the 120th anniversary celebration of Christie’s birth. 8 pages of color, 16 pages of b&w photos. (Nov. 22)