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Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making Paperback – November 22, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


“With a greater emphasis on the queen of crime’s inner life, Christie expert Curran reveals both Christie’s dedication to her craft and his own enthusiasm for his subject in his engaging follow-up to his 2010 Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks.....Even 120 years after her birth, the allure of Christie continues, and this volume will rightly prolong her reign.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making)

“Not a book to read in one sitting, but one to love: a sumptuous buffet for fans who wish the Queen of Crime had lived forever.” (Kirkus Reviews on Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making)

“Curran’s analysis of these notes in the context of Christie’s life is first-rate.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer on Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making)

“Curran sheds light on the method of crafting a mystery story by the world’s most popular writer of whodunits.” (Iron Mountain Daily News on Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making)

“This is a wonderful companion piece to [Christie’s] autobiography and a must-read for every Agatha Christie fan. It provides a unique look into one of the world’s most successful authors.” (Daily America on Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making)

From the Back Cover

As he did in the Edgar®-nominated and Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards–winning Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks, Christie expert and archivist John Curran once again examines the unpublished notebooks of the world's bestselling author to explore the techniques she used to surprise and entertain generations of readers.

Drawing on Christie's personal papers and letters, he reveals how more than twenty of her novels, as well as stage scripts, short stories, and some more personal items, evolved. Here are wonderful gems, including Christie's essay on her famous detective, Hercule Poirot, written for a British national newspaper in the 1930s; a previously unseen version of a "Miss Marple" short story; and a courtroom chapter from her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which was edited out of the published version in 1920; plus an insightful, well-reasoned analysis of her final unfinished novel, based on the author's notes and Curran's own deep knowledge of Christie and her work.

A must-read for every Christie aficionado, Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making is a fascinating look into the mind and craft of one of the world's most prolific and beloved authors.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 430 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition (1 in numberline) edition (November 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062065424
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062065421
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,310,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bradley Friedman on February 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
I did not know that Mr. Curran planned a sequel to his first book about Agatha Christie's notebooks. I was in a bookstore, picking out Christie novels for my drama students as prizes for creating and performing the best murder mystery when I saw this book on the shelf and snatched it up for myself. It may seem odd to write a review when I'm just beginning the book, but I have to applaud Mr. Curran and the publishers for finding a unique hook to attract true Christie fans. To be granted a glimpse into the creative mind of a favorite author, one who in life was so reticent about her process and ideas, is a rare and happy privilege.

I began a lifelong love for Ms. Christie's work when I was ten years old and picked up a copy of "And Then There Were None." Since then, I have read all the books, bought and listened to them repeatedly in audiobooks, purchased and enjoyed the films made for movies and television, as well as the marvelous BBC adaptations of Christie's work. I empathize with the reviewer for Mr. Curran's other book who described a dream of discovering a "lost" Christie work. I have had the same dream, I assure you! I think we all wish that Mr. Curran would find larger nuggets of Christie's work that could perhaps be adapted into fully fleshed-out novels. It would be a wonderful dream come true.

Meanwhile, I am looking forward to whatever new insights into Christie's mind and work that Curran provides in this second book. For his efforts - and for my abiding gratitude to Ms. Christie for giving me so much pleasure over the past five decades, I give this book five stars!

ADDENDUM: This final paragraph marks a return to this review and a deletion of one star for two reasons: first, the presentation of this material did get tiresome as the book went on.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. Lamoreaux on February 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is of interest for serious Christie fans. I have read all of Agatha Christie books numerous times. About every two to three years, I start from the beginning and read them all again. I also have the Bedside Companion book which tells a little about each book. This just adds to my enjoyment and knowledge of her thinking, her methods, and of course, the books themselves. Don't read this book until you read the Christie mysteries or you will learn the endings.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
John Curran is an expert on Agatha Christie (1890-1976) the maven of murder. Christie's books have sold more volumes than any other books published with the exception of the Bible and the Shakespeare canon. This book is the second volume on Dame Agatha';s works. The first book in the two volume set is ":Agatha Christie": Secret Notebooks.".
In this second volume Curran prints for the first time an unpublished version of ":The Caretaker';s Wife": a short story featuring Miss Marple the elderly amateur sleuth who knows all the secrets of her village ":St. Mary Mead": He also looks at the most notable novels and short stories written by Christie for each decade from the 1920s through the 1970s. This section of the book can become tedious if you have not read the stories under examination. This part of the book reads best if you look at the review and working methods of Christie just after you have read the book being discussed.
Dame Agatha kept her best ideas contained in over seventy notebooks. She was chaotic in her preparation for future stories and novels but produced the best detective stories produced in the popular genre. Christie often listed possible characters and plot developments in her notebooks. She also used her considerable knowledge of poisons. Curran includes Dame Agatha';s article on the creation of Hercule Poirot. Agatha Christie was a genius of light whodunit fiction. The world is a better place because of her.
John Curran has done a fine job in making her works more accessible to a new generation of readers. Recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By lit buff on December 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered both of John Curran's books about Agatha Christie's journals. The hype for this one was "an unseen Miss Marple story."
That was true, as the character of Miss Marple was inserted in a previously published Christie story (which had been published in both short story and novel forms). The story was improved by adding Miss Marple, but it was still only a revised story. I bought both of Curran's books mostly to read the "new" stories he included. If other readers are thinking of the same thing, they can avoid disappointment by not ordering either book. Both books had a fair amount of rambling and repeated ideas. As an ardent Christie fan, I want to read more interesting works about her.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Patricia K. Arndt on May 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very interesting, a fast, easy read. I was surprised to find that Dame Agatha's handwriting was not the neatest, nor was her recordkeeping. Ideas for stories/books were found in multiple notebooks. It's a wonder they ever got pulled together into best sellers, but it put her in a more human light. Maybe there is hope for all amateur authors. Thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it to all fans of Agatha Christie, though I missed being able to make notations in the margins.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Sicurella VINE VOICE on December 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
Why read: Received for review from publisher

What impressed me: The highlight of the book for me was the plot ideas that Christie came up with, yet never used in her books. That's what made the book interesting and worth the read.

What disappointed me: So very dry. And obviously full of spoilers for any Christie novel I haven't read yet. Lists upon lists upon lists of characters with little variation. Vaguely interesting, but the repetitive nature of the book gets old quickly.

Recommended: Only for hardcore Agatha Christie fans.
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