Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks

John Curran

Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks

Following the death of Agatha's daughter, Rosalind, at the end of 2004, a remarkable secret was revealed. Unearthed among her affairs at the family home of Greenway were Agatha Christie's private notebooks, 73 handwritten volumes of notes, lists and drafts outlining all her plans for her many books, plays and stories. Buried in this treasure trove, all in her unmistakable handwriting, are revelations about her famous books that will fascinate anyone who has ever read or watched an Agatha Christie story. What is the 'deleted scene' in her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles? How did the infamous twist in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, really come about? Which very famous Poirot novel started life as an adventure for Miss Marple? Which books were designed to have completely different endings, and what were they? Full of details she was too modest to reveal in her own Autobiography, this book includes a wealth of extracts and pages reproduced directly from the notebooks and her letters, plus for the first time two newly discovered complete Hercule Poirot short stories never before published. 3.8 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Essays, Journals & Letters, Literary Studies & Criticism
Format Hardback
Pages 480
RRP £20.00
Date of Publication September 2009
ISBN 978-0007310562
Publisher HarperCollins
 

Following the death of Agatha's daughter, Rosalind, at the end of 2004, a remarkable secret was revealed. Unearthed among her affairs at the family home of Greenway were Agatha Christie's private notebooks, 73 handwritten volumes of notes, lists and drafts outlining all her plans for her many books, plays and stories. Buried in this treasure trove, all in her unmistakable handwriting, are revelations about her famous books that will fascinate anyone who has ever read or watched an Agatha Christie story. What is the 'deleted scene' in her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles? How did the infamous twist in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, really come about? Which very famous Poirot novel started life as an adventure for Miss Marple? Which books were designed to have completely different endings, and what were they? Full of details she was too modest to reveal in her own Autobiography, this book includes a wealth of extracts and pages reproduced directly from the notebooks and her letters, plus for the first time two newly discovered complete Hercule Poirot short stories never before published.

Reviews

The Sunday Times

Peter Kemp

Curran’s awed response to this find that “had lain silently between its covers for over 60 years” (“I realised that I was looking at something unimaginably unique”) wouldn’t have been out of place coming from Howard Carter gazing upon the treasures of Tutankhamun, you feel. On-the-large-side claims keep giving his book a comic tinge. But they spring from what also makes it immensely likeable and informative: his prodigious knowledge of and enthusiasm for Christie’s work.

06/09/2009

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The Independent on Sunday

Tom Sperlinger

This book is the story of a "love affair" between Curran and the notebooks. Its few weaknesses are those of devotion. Though he is brutal in assessing some works, Curran is usually concerned only with whether or not a story is a "first-rate" Christie; there is an absence of wider contexts. Yet this book is fascinating, not least because it demystifies the writing process.

06/09/2009

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The Times

Marcel Berlins

The contents of the notebooks are too haphazard to reveal much about Christie’s writing methods, though there is a lot of entertaining trivia to occupy aficionados (for instance, Death on the Nile was originally conceived as a Miss Marple mystery, Poirot being substituted because Christie felt he would be more at ease in a foreign setting). Curran’s commentaries are essential companions to Christie’s scribblings.

12/09/2009

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The Daily Telegraph

Laura Thompson

...this degree of textual analysis wouldn’t be out of place with a first folio of Shakespeare... The effect of Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks is to make Christie seem like not much more than the sum of her plots: ironically, this is the criticism levelled at her by her detractors. In truth she was far more interesting than a mere devisor of puzzles. For all its thoroughness, this book only skims the surface of her mysterious mind; which is no bad thing, perhaps.

04/09/2009

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