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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happy (belated) Birthday, Agatha Christie! - Spotlight on two "Agatha" books that fans will find interesting!

Yesterday, September 15, would have been mystery writer Agatha Christie's 120th birthday!

Here are some facts about Agatha that I found interesting:

  • She also wrote romances under the name Mary Westmacott.

  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time.

  • Her novels have sold roughly four billion copies, and her estate claims that her works rank third, after those of William Shakespeare and the Bible, as the world's most widely published books.

  •  And Then There Were None is Christie's best-selling novel with 100 million sales to date, making it the world's best-selling mystery ever, and one of the best-selling books of all time.

  • Christie's stage play The Mousetrap holds the record for the longest initial run: it opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in London on 25 November 1952 and as of 2012 is still running after more than 24,600 performances.

  • In 1955, Christie was the first recipient of the Mystery Writers of America's highest honour, the Grand Master Award.

In celebration of her birthday, two books caught my eye that I thought mystery readers would be interested in.

The first is "Agatha Christie: Murder In The Making," by John Curran

About The Book:

As he did in the Edgar®-nominated and Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards–winning Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks, Christie expert and archivist John Curran once again examines the unpublished notebooks of the world's bestselling author to explore the techniques she used to surprise and entertain generations of readers.

Drawing on Christie's personal papers and letters, he reveals how more than twenty of her novels, as well as stage scripts, short stories, and some more personal items, evolved. Here are wonderful gems, including Christie's essay on her famous detective, Hercule Poirot, written for a British national newspaper in the 1930s; a previously unseen version of a "Miss Marple" short story; and a courtroom chapter from her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which was edited out of the published version in 1920; plus an insightful, well-reasoned analysis of her final unfinished novel, based on the author's notes and Curran's own deep knowledge of Christie and her work.
A must-read for every Christie aficionado, Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making is a fascinating look into the mind and craft of one of the world's most prolific and beloved authors.

The second book is "Agatha Christie: An Autobiography."

About The Book:

Millions of fans the world over got to know her beloved characters, Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple, and the rest, yet for decades little was known about their creator. Dame Agatha Christie was a woman who scrupulously kept her private life hidden from view, dodging the press, granting no interviews, and even, for a brief time, famously disappearing. But shortly after the great lady's death, the silence was broken when An Autobiography was finally published.

The witty, insightful, and immensely entertaining reflections of a marvelous talent, An Autobiography is as compulsively readable as Christie's novels. In her own inimitable style, a brilliant eccentric whose life encapsulated her times sheds light on her past, including her childhood in Victorian England, her volunteer work during World War II, and, of course, her phenomenal career. Agatha Christie's An Autobiography brings into sharp focus a beloved and enduring literary icon whose imagination continues to mesmerize readers to this very day.

This re-release has a special code to download that allows readers to hear Agatha Christie's voice as she dictated parts of this book.  The recordings were found by her grandson, Mathew Prichard, and he explains how he found his grandmother's recordings.

Each of these books gives Agatha Christie's fans and readers a special insight into the grand lady's life and her writings and would be a very special addition to any mystery lover's library.

My thanks to William Morrow Books for supplying the review copies of these two books. I was not compensated for my opinion.

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