Having read a few of her books - or more recently listened to them, and seen virtually her entire Poirot oeuvre on TV, I decided to take a look at Christie herself out of sheer curiosity, and I picked up two books: this one and Christie's own autobiography. My interest in these was not to read about her entire life, but to skim the books for references to Christie's own writing, to see if I could gain any insights into how she put the books together or where she got her inspiration. My goal was only partially met, I'm sorry to have to report. I don't envy anyone who actually plows through over a thousand pages for so little reward, so I wouldn't commend either book unless you are really, really, and I mean seriously really into Christie! Even then you may find yourself disappointed.
Subtitled "An English Mystery" for no apparent reason other than to sound dramatic, this book is well over five hundred pages and the author seems determined to link every single thing in Christie's life to every single thing in her murder mysteries, mostly with limited success. Obviously a writer puts herself into her books, but that doesn't mean everything has link and/or meaning. For me though, the worst part about this was Thompson's pure fiction in describing the week or two Christie 'disappeared' in a huff over her first husband's infidelity, and apparently with a petulant desire to make him pay for it by making it look like maybe he murdered the murder mystery writer. It was awful. Christie herself mentions not a thing about this in her own autobiography and never talked of it, so all of this here is pure speculation and guesswork even with the best of intentions. I'm not convinced this author has the best of intentions, or the most honest in her portrait.
The book really offers nothing new and reveals the answer to no mysteries including why Christie has been such a perennial and prolific seller of her books. I can't commend this as a worthy read.