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This biography probes the private life and motivations of one of the bestselling authors of all time and discovers a brilliant woman whose passionate search for success was offset by an obsession for privacy. The breakup of Agatha's first marriage to Archibald Christie, and her subsequent 10 day disappearance, had made headline news. Feeling hunted and wounded by the press, Christie determined never again to let them into her private life. She affected a public persona, tongue-tied and dull, which ensured that journalists would let her be. This successful strategy assisted a happy second marriage and family life as well as an astonishing literary output. Author Gillian Gill has uncovered a unique and determined woman whose fictional creations sparked the imagination of millions around the world.
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YA-- Agatha Christie fans will delight in this skillful unraveling of the mystique of the world's most famous female mystery writer. Christie is a study in contradictions, a woman of physical and moral courage who all her life suffered from shyness so great that she allowed herself to be turned away unrecognized from a party in her honor. By using the writer's own techniques of detection, Gill is able to unmask much of Christie's past. This is no easy task, for Christie left her own autobiography and succeeded in controlling all other biographies in a determined attempt to preserve her privacy. By examining her novels closely and comparing them to events in Christie's own life, Gill sheds new light on the woman and the writer. Although Gill's treatment is scholarly and her vocabulary challenging, students of fiction writing and admirers of Christie's work will welcome Gill's insights into the creative process. Feminists, too, will appreciate how this reclusive Victorian rose above her own nature, influenced generations of readers, and maintained an exciting personal life.
- Jacqueline Gropman, Richard Byrd Library, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A teacher at Harvard, Gill specializes in modern fiction and feminist theory--the roots of her interest in the phenomenally popular British author/playwright. The well-known facts about Christie's life (1891-1976) support Gill's perception of the mystery writer as a lusty and adventurous woman. In Christie's fiction, the biographer finds clues to characteristics she believes were hidden by her intensely private subject. Gill succeeds in proving Christie was no prissy Victorian, as charged by some critics, and on the whole, this biography of the prolific mystery writer is extremely satisfying. There are, however, disappointments: for example, Gill glosses over the racist elements in Christie's early novels (amended in American editions), as did Janet Morgan in the authorized Agatha Christie: A Biography .
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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