Duchess of Death: The Unauthorized Biography of Agatha Christie (2009) by Richard Hack is a fairly good biography. Agatha Christie was so prolific and successful that her books have sold into the billions, having been translated into over 100 languages. Virtually all of her books are still in print – and she died in 1976. Agatha Christie is the most popular novelist in history.
Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple are her most celebrated detectives; Poirot even received a headline obituary in the New York Times when the last novel in which he appeared was published.
Richard Hack, despite the unfortunate last name for a writer, makes this biography an interesting read, although the last third of the book is weaker than the rest. Christie’s birth, early years, and the years through both her marriages – up until the end of her travels with her archeologist husband – are very interesting. Then the book slows, but is still worth reading.
I need to find a Miss Marple to read now…