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Agatha Christie
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About the Author

A writer and freelance journalist, Laura Thompson won the Somerset Maugham award for her first book, THE DOGS, and is also the author of the critically acclaimed LIFE IN A COLD CLIMATE. She lives in London.

Reviews

'Superlative and rapturously written... Thompson tells Agatha's story extremely well' -- Roger Lewis, Express 20070901 'The best biographies are labours of love and this fascinating book is just that... her enthusiasm for the work and the woman makes Thompson an ideal biographer... Thompson devotes a substantial chunk of her book to the one mysterious episode in Christie's life, the famous disappearing act... The conclusion Thompson reaches is sympatheitc, sensible and in my view almost certainly the correct one... This version of the crime writer is affectionate, admiring, perceptive and absolutely convincing' -- Jessica Mann, Seven magazine [Daily Telegraph] 20070916 'Extremely comprehensive, with access to private family papers never revealed before, this is surely the most definitive biography so far. Far from dry, it's an opinionated portrait, sympathetic but judgmental... Thompson's ability to draw parallels and empathise with Christie's dreamy, vulnerable but complex personality creates a compelling sense that seems as close as we are likely to get' -- Andrea Mullaney, Scotland on Sunday 20070916 'Her Herculean effort (sorry) is the first proper one since Janet Morgan's in 1984 and benefits enormously from the full access Thompson was given to Christie's diaries, letters and surviving relatives. She provides authoritative insights into Christie's often turbulent emotional life and makes informed judgements about the writer's state of mind... She's convincing on the worth of (most of) the books, though, especially "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd", and intolerant of the kind of lazy, snobbish thinking that has Christie "stuck for all eternity at a tea-party in a country vicarage, sticking a fork into her seedcake as the bank manager's wife chokes on a strychnine sandwich"' -- John O'Connell, Time Out 20070912 'This splendid account of her life and work is unlikely to be bettered' -- Melanie McDonagh, Evening Standard 20070917 '[Thompson produces] a genuinely fascinating and close account of her subject' -- Scotsman 20070922 'extracts from Christie's notebooks are illuminatingly reproduced here. Thompson also enlighteningly demonstrates how the books published under the pseudonum Mary Westmacott broach personal concerns... Most engrossing of all is Thompson's account of the notorious episode in late-1926 in which she left her car overhanging a quarry... [Christie's] angry impulse to discomfit her errant husband, the subsequent ignoring of a letter she had sent saying she was going to Yorkshire and a fixated policeman's obdurate determination to prove Archie had killed her combined to cause the brouhaha, Thompson convincingly argues.' -- Peter Kemp, Sunday Times 20070916 'Laura Thompson has certainly written the last word on Agatha Christie. Her book is a superb piece of biography' -- Charles Osborne, Literary Review 20070916 'Thompson does a fabulous job of getting inside her head' -- Rachel Cooke, Observer 20070916 'Superb... Thompson's introductory section is excellent' -- Herald 20070916 'In this highly accomplished biography, Laura Thompson reveals that behind the facade of the smiling, ladylike Queen of Crime, there lay a sharp, calculating, sometimes troubled mind.Thompson was given full access to the Christie family archive. However, it's not this new material - scraps of plots written in Rosalind's school books, reminders about characters jotted on shopping lists - which makes this book so good. Instead, it is Thompson's love and understanding for her subject, allowing her to write a biography which, while clear-sighted about her subject's limitations, is able to explain the extraordinary and continuing appeal of Agatha Christie's legacy.' -- Kathryn Hughes Mail on Sunday 20070916 'Thompson has treated Christie with compassion and her books with sharp critical intelligence. The result is an excellent biography... Too late, though, for Edmund Wilson, who wrote a witty critique of the Christie school in 1944 entitled "Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?" The answer is that millions do, all over the world. Laura Thompson shows stylishly why they are right to do so.' -- Jake Kerridge, Daily Telegraph 20070916 'There remains an undercurrent of snobbery that holds that her books were simple, not very well written, which fails to take into account either Christie's storytelling and plotting abilities or the visceral emotions beneath the genre surface of the greatest novels. Thompson's outstanding biography lays these, and other literary prejudices, to rest.' -- Kate Mosse, Observer 20071125 'A triumphant success' -- A. N. Wilson, Daily Mail 'Highly accomplished' -- Kathryn Hughes, Mail on Sunday 'Thompson does a fabulous job of getting inside her head' -- Rachel Cooke, Observer 'A superlative and rapturously written biography' -- Roger Lewis, Daily Express 'The most definitive biography so far' -- Andrea Mullaney, Scotland on Sunday 'The last word on Agatha Christie! A superb piece of biography' -- Charles Osborne, Literary Review 'An excellent biography' -- Jake Kerridge, Telegraph Review 'Outstanding' -- Kate Mosse, Observer 20071125

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