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Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making Paperback – February 15, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0061988370 ISBN-10: 0061988375 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (February 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061988375
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061988370
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“The most fascinating aspect of the notebooks is the rare glimpse they allow into the mind of a writer, especially one as imaginative as Christie....An appealing read for Christie-philes.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A must-have for any ardent fan of Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot.” (Washington Post)

“A must for all Christie fans.” (Newark Star-Ledger)

“Provides a unique look into the mind and working habits of one of the world’s most successful authors.” (Tulsa World)

“Meticulously detailed and scrupulous in its judgments.” (Strand magazine on Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks)

“A meticulously detailed study that is packed with shrewd perceptions about Christie’s fiction....Curran has produced an enthralling miscellany of a book, in which her fans will rummage to their heart’s content.” (Sunday Times (London))

“Many of Curran’s discoveries will shape how Christie is read in future....This book is fascinating.” (The Independent on Sunday)

“[Curran] has organized his material as efficiently as an Agatha Christie mystery….[His] enthusiasm for his subject carries us along.” (Irish Times)

From the Back Cover

When Agatha Christie died in 1976, at age eighty-five, she had become the world's most popular author. At the end of 2004, following the death of Christie's daughter, Rosalind, a remarkable legacy was revealed: seventy-three 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 the beloved author's unmistakable handwriting, are revelations about her famous books that will fascinate anyone who has ever read or watched an Agatha Christie story.

Full of details she was too modest to reveal in her own autobiography, this remarkable book includes a wealth of excerpts and pages reproduced directly from the notebooks and her letters—plus, two complete, recently discovered Hercule Poirot short stories never before published.


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Customer Reviews

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The book is a generous gift, with something pleasing on every page.
Kevin Killian
And of course if you dont' want to read that particular chapter until you've reread the book....who is to stop you!
DodgyUSA
This book is a recommended read for those who are fans of classic mystery and Dame Agatha Christie.
Story Circle Book Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on December 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The 73 notebooks were written the scrawl of a chicken, very different from the famous autograph signature we all know from countless reproductions. There must have been many times when Curran might have felt like giving up, but after months of practice, he says he was able to decipher the writing pretty quickly. Oddly, he says, Christie's handwriting improved with age, rather than the reverse.

This is not a variorum or facsimile edition of the notebooks by any means, but rather Curran's selection, with copious comments, of Christie's musings and reworkings over the years. His transcriptions look letter-perfect (a generous sampling of the handwritten entries allows us to peruse both the way she wrote something, and the way Curran took it down). I couldn't spot a flaw.

Christie lovers will find much to marvel at here. My own hunger for more and more Christie, good or bad, started when I was a child. I had a recurring dream--one I still have, years later,--in which I'm in a bookstore, library, friend's house, looking at books, and I see an Agatha Christie novel I've never heard of before. I sit down and read through it, and even want to copy it down, but lack a pencil (ha ha, Freudian I guess), and think of filching it from the premises, but lack the balls. Sometimes I wake from the dream with a title and a few words still in my head. but always with a sense of loss and emptiness. Now Curran's edition has assuaged some of the ache. We hear of dozens of unrealized projects, and quite a few of them fully realized, but withdrawn from the marketplace for one reason or another.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By DodgyUSA on May 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Agatha Christie's Secret Diaries is a terrific snapshot view of how she gathered, edited, refined, and finally wrote her ingenious books and plays. Any fan of Christie will revel in the name changes, plot twists, originally planned suspects, and other details which went into each piece.

John Curran is a magician in his ability to decipher and chronicle the diaries. When they were first discovered, each cover was given a stickered number--purely to keep track of how many diaries there were. The contents of each diary could cover several years, story plots, and edits-often with no sequential order.

One page may begin a new plot but on the reverse were more ideas about a previous story, often from a previous diary.

Were do you begin?

Well John has done his homework and like Poirot or Marple has puzzled through the scribbles and doodling of the diaries to come up with a comprehensive book devoted to the genius of Agatha Christie.

This book will have you returning to favorite books and perhaps finding some that you had forgotten over the years.

READER BEWARE: the beginning of each chapter lists "Solutions Revealed" to the plots of the novels and plays that are discussed. I suspect that most of the audience reading this book will be familiar with many of her novels. And of course if you dont' want to read that particular chapter until you've reread the book....who is to stop you! Enjoy !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P.J. van Blokland on June 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Nice little bit of history, showing some unique bits of Christieana. Good research, albeit presented in a somewhat jumpy fashion. His organisation of the material is a bit inchoate and at times, rather annoying. However, well worth the price. Glad to have it.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A&D on December 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I loved to see the handwritten notes of the stories I had read. It was great to see how some of them had developed and the process of writing a mystery.

Dame Agatha Christie, DBE, (15 September 1890 - 12 January 1976), was a British crime writer of novels, short stories and plays. She also wrote romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best remembered for her 80 detective novels (especially those featuring Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple) and her successful plays.

Christie has been the best-selling writer of books of the last century. She has sold more than four billion copies of novels.[ Christie is the most translated individual author, with only the collective corporate works of Walt Disney Productions surpassing her.[ Her books have been translated into 105 languages (so far) !!!

The amazing gift that Christie had is a reason why you should read this book. It shows the way a mastermind of a mystery writer worked and thought.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By lit buff on December 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As one of countless enthusiastic Agatha Christie fans, I was very excited to read a book about her journals. The first thing that struck me was the two "new" stories that have never been published were really just revised copies of other stories that have been published. That was a huge disappointment to me, especially after all the hype the book gave to these "discoveries." The organization of the book bothered me, too. I thought it was rambling and repeated itself many times. I'm glad I had the opportunity to see some of this material, but it was still only mildly interesting at best even to an avid Christie fan.
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