Agatha stumbled across my path by happy accident. While scrolling through the Guardian books section one break time, I found myself reading Rachel Cooke’s review of this graphic biography and thought it a wonderfully novel idea. I filed it away somewhere in my memory banks, then coincidentally came face to face with it a month or so later, when wandering in search of the second Night Vale script book. I added it to my growing stack without a second thought, and left the shop considerably poorer, but with an excellent haul.
I’ve never known an awful lot about Agatha Christie’s personal life, save for a vague awareness of her week-long disappearance, and that time she saved the planet from giant wasps or something. Still, her legacy is so enduring I’ve always been curious, and The Real Life of Agatha Christie proved an excellent entry point for a novice, while I’m sure still containing plenty to enjoy for the more initiated.
The format and style mean the book reads more like a story than dry biography – an impression aided by the fact that Christie’s most famous characters take corporeal form and interact with her throughout the pages. She’s usually accompanied by Poirot, but in one beautiful panel, he dukes it out with Miss Marple, Tommy and Tuppence over who will star in her next novel.
The artwork is beautiful, full of bold primary colours, with a deceptive, almost childish simplicity. I could have read on and on. I frequently found myself Googling surprising titbits to check their veracity – most notably the revelation that Christie loathed Poirot, and that Arthur Conan Doyle was among those who attempted to locate her during her famous disappearance.
This has really whet my appetite for more Christie – though whether that will take the form of a longer biography, or finally getting round to reading And Then There Were None, who can say. One thing’s for sure, I’d absolutely love to read more biographies in this style in future.
[Read on 27 September 2016]