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The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie [Paperback]

Charles Osborne
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 July 2000

A comprehensive and authorised biographical companion to the works of Agatha Christie covering books, films, TV and plays – revised and updated edition.

Agatha Christie was the author of over 100 plays, short story collections and novels which have been translated into 103 languages; she is outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Many have tried to copy her but none has succeeded. Attempts to capture her personality on paper, to discover her motivations or the reasons for her popularity, have usually failed. Charles Osborne, a lifelong student of Agatha Christie, has approached this most private of persons above all through her books, and the result is a fascinating companion to her life and work.

This ‘professional life’ of Agatha Christie provides authoritative information on each book’s provenance, on the work itself and on its contemporary critical reception set against the background of the major events in the author’s life. Illustrated with many rare photographs, this comprehensive guide to the world of Agatha Christie has been fully updated to include details of all the publications, films and TV adaptations in the 25 years since her death.

Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 2Rev Ed edition (3 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006531725
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006531722
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 425,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Agatha Christie's career spanned over 50 years and 80 books; given that she also wrote plays, poems and fragments of memoir, it is at times hard to see how she managed to pay so much attention to the fine details through which her detective stories both inform and misdirect. Charles Osborne's at times almost devotional biography does not obscure some of the problems--Christie persisted in a snide anti-Semitism until the end of her life and her politics were both naive and reactionary; and yet, he demonstrates time and time again, there is an emotional honesty in the best of her work that is rare in the purely puzzle-oriented detective story. Osborne devotes considerable ingenuity to telling us as much as possible about each and every one of her books and plays without giving endings away; he is knowledgeable and thoughtful about even the most obscure of her short stories. The main threads of the non-writing life are here too--the disastrous first marriage, the disappearance with almost certainly fake amnesia, the travels with the archaeologist who made her happy. This is a book which stresses the lively intelligence of its subject, and shares it. --Roz Kaveney


‘Charles Osborne deserves a medal – his own writing slips down a treat, and I was surprised to find (this book) a pleasure’
– Sunday Telegraph

‘A delightful bedside companion’
– The Tablet

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for the Christie fan 26 Nov 2003
This book is full of useful information. The book is a chronological account of Agatha Christie's life, discussing every book she ever wrote. The entries for each book are very clear - there's information about the writing of each book, alternative titles, a brief plot summary and reviews from both Charles Osborne and the newspapers of the day. What makes this book particularly good is that it NEVER gives away the killer. Therefore, you can find out what a particular book is about, without having the ending spoiled for you. This has been invaluable as a reference book, and as a guide to making Agatha Christie purchases.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and interesting for Christie fans 19 Nov 2004
By istara
A cleverly written book that manages to avoid spoiling any of the whodunnit plots. It is well-researched, and has plenty of intriguing trivia. I give it a 4 not a 5 due to Osborne's weird obsession with Christie's "anti-semitism". There are plenty of comments and remarks in Christie's work - about many different nationalities and ethnicities - that we may cringe at in the more enlightened, politically correct world of today. But Osborne fails to comment on any except those related to Jewish people. Christie does make some stereotyped comments about Jewish people in her works, but she also portrays several Jewish characters in a very sympathetic light. Either way, anti-semitism is not a major theme in her work, and Osborne reveals more about his own paranoia than Christie's prejudice by dwelling on it so extensively.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting book, and great fun 21 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a good idea! This was bought as a present for my husband. He has found it really interesting. We enjoy watching the televised AC on TV, and he enjoys reading the relevant section shortly afterwards. It brings another dimension to our experience.
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