Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman
By Lucy Worsley
If there was a more exciting new non-fiction release this autumn than Lucy Worsley’s new biography of the “Duchess of Death” Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman, I haven’t seen it yet! I’m a huge fan of Worsley, who manages to write books, star in fascinating historical documentaries such as 12 Days of Tudor Christmas, Tales from the Royal Wardrobe, and Royal Palace Secrets, while holding down what I assume is at least a 9-5 job as the Joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces. Impressive.
In Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman, Worsley delves into the private life of one of the more iconic literary figures of the twentieth century, to understand what made the very private mystery writer tick. Worsley sweeps us along on her quest, introducing us to the young Agatha, whose family suffers a steep economic slide from comfortable to precarious, necessitating a move to Cairo in 1910, when Agatha was just 20.
Worsley credits Christie’s volunteer work during World War I with the firsthand knowledge of wounds, blood, and — most significantly — poison, that she would use with such aplomb in her 66 murder mystery novels. And it is during World War I that young Agatha meets Archie Christie, the first of her two husbands.
Agatha Christie and Max Mallowen
Agatha Christie’s Two Marriages
Worsley puts these marriages under the microscope to great effect: examining the downward spiral of her unfortunate first marriage to the unfaithful Christie, which led to her infamous disappearance in 1926. The happier and more enduring second marriage to archeologist Max Mallowan in 1930 gave Christie the opportunity to travel to the Middle East for months at a time, providing much material for some of her most beloved novels.
Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman is also a deep-dive into Christie’s two immortal characters: Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple, as well as Christie’s growing understanding of the class struggle that played out during her lifetime.
Lucy Worsley’s prose is as effervescent as her bubbly on-screen persona, which adds much to this intriguing look at the elusive Agatha Christie.
For a preview of the book, listen to Lucy Worsley read excerpts from the audio version of the book, which she narrates in her very charming voice! If you are not already an Audible Plus member, this is a great time to become one and get this outstanding biography for free!
For more on Agatha Christie’s life and work, visit The Home of Agatha Christie, an online treasure trove of superb photos, detailed history, and more information about the unforgettable novels.