Children's Literature - Donna FreedmanA fact-filled biography of a prolific author: Christie published 67 mysteries, 146 short stories and half a dozen novels under a pen name. It would have been helpful if the biographer had put the author's life into perspective by explaining more about the way English people lived. For instance, Christie and her husband left their toddler daughter with a relative and took an 11-month-long trip. American kids would be shocked by the notion of a parent leaving for nearly a year. Still, the book offers plenty of information to youths doing reports on A Famous Person, or who are mystery fans wanting to find out more about the grande dame of the English whodunnit.
VOYA - Sarah A. HudsonDommermuth-Costa chronicles Agatha Christie's life from her childhood at the beloved Ashmore House through her death at age eighty-six. Focusing on the major events of the subject's life, Dommermuth-Costa reveals the people and events that encouraged Christie to become a writer and continue creating mysteries set in exotic places. Born to wealthy parents, Christie had a close relationship with her mother. She was surrounded by books and storytelling, but not other children. Among the events that influenced Christie were World Wars I and II, travels to Europe and the Middle East, and assisting her second husband, Max Mallowan, on various archaeological digs. Christie wrote out of love and financial necessity, and her world travels helped her create the settings for many of her mystery stories. The reader learns that Christie was an extremely intelligent woman who often defied convention to pursue her own interests. Yet, the author reveals Agatha to be a private and shy person who wanted to maintain the quality of her work, even after her death. The focus of this work in Lerner's biography series, is Christie's life, not criticism of her works. The book has a sewn binding, with an attractive layout. The text is highlighted with photographs and drawings of Christie, her various environments, and examples of her published works. The drawings, done in heavy pencil sketches, are dark and incongruous with the high quality of the photographs. This would be a worthwhile addition to a public or school library where there is a Christie following or research demand. Index. Illus. Photos. Biblio. Source Notes. Further Reading. VOYA Codes: 3Q 2P M J (Readable without serious defects, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 5-9Much has been written about the famous "First Lady of Crime," most of which is intended for adult readers. This book is especially welcomed for its clear description of Christie's life, appropriately simplified for young mystery mavens or student reports. Dommermuth-Costa begins by presenting her subject as an intelligent, imaginative, privileged young girl surrounded by loving parents and loyal servants, and follows through her 11-year marriage to the charming World War I pilot who loved her, gave her a daughter, and then left her for another woman when Christie was beginning to become famous for her detective fiction. Finally, the book describes the writer's long and loving marriage to archaeologist Max Mallowan. The strengths of this biography are the author's ability to bring Christie to life as a person and the descriptions of the time period in which she lived. Numerous black-and-white photos and illustrations appear throughout. A list of mysteries that feature Hercule Poirot and another of those about Miss Marple will be helpful to readers who prefer one detective over the other.Susan R. Farber, Ardsley Public Library, NY
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