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Fascinating soclal history, poor quality typesetting in this edition
on 11 October 2014
This is a review of the Paperback version of this book, same cover as above, with the CD included. I bought this at Agatha Christie's former home, Greenway (now National Trust) after seeing excerpts from the book dotted all over the house. Clearly, it was well written and I was hooked.
What this edition lacks is a decent proof-read! There are some howler in it that I found irritating in a book that cost £14.99. The print is not large, but a lot larger than in the 2001 edition. There are 532 pages of text, and it's taken me a couple of months to read, because once I'd passed the early childhood years section, where the social history detail is riveting, I found the pace lagged in places.
Overall, I felt it could have been shorter without losing quality, and that the later part, written in 1965, could have been more integrated into the story. (I would have liked to know, for example, when Agatha's much-loved daughter Rosalind married again; her first husband was killed in the war, and there is little reference to Agatha's new son in law, though clearly he was very important to Agatha, giving her the title for her long-running play, the Mousetrap, and sharing her love of porcelain collecting).
Finally, the author's views on punishing serious criminals by giving them a choice of either taking a suicide pill or offering their body to medical research/clinical trials; or capital punishment ("execution") for murderers were hard to stomach, no matter how long ago they were written! I think my reading slowed to a crawl after this section.
Worth getting for the earlier chapters, and also for the archaelogical sections. I write this as a person who's only ever read one Agatha Christie novel: diehard fans may find it more appealing.