Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Just when you think you have read it all about our favorite lady, this wonderfully written book comes along and you can relive all of your memories of the books you have loved from times long past. Mr. Curran has done justice to the subject and has written a comprehensive tome that will satisfy you completely. Two short stories never before published at the end of the book -- a lovely desert on top of a great meal.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Agatha Christie was a phenomenally successful mystery writer for over fifty years. She was also a very private person, refusing to be interviewed or become a celebrity. Her literary skills were criticized and often sneered at by the cognoscenti, but she was and is beloved by millions all over the world. Thirty years after her death John Curran came across stacks and stacks of the old notebooks she carried with her everywhere to jot down ideas, plan out her mysteries, and make more prosaic lists of household needs. Curran found the notebooks a treasure trove of information, and his book about them will delight everyone who has ever found a Christie mystery an intriguing read.

Christie may not have been the most gifted writer ever born, but she had a work ethic and imagination that made up for any lapses in literary style. Curran shows us how ideas for one of her mysteries might be born out of a casual jotting in one notebook, percolate along in her head for days, weeks, or even years, then see daylight in a well crafted novel or short story. Christie might start out with one idea, gradually shape it into another one, argue with herself over the best way to put it in print, and finally get it all down on paper. It all makes for a read just as fascinating as one of Christie's mysteries, and I'm glad Curran saw the possibilities when he first paged through those notebooks.

One warning: pay close attention to the "Solutions Revealed" sections at the beginning of each chapter, because you don't want to inadvertently ruin the ending of a Christie book you haven't yet read!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks is a well written compendium of the notebooks Agatha used to write her ideas, potential characters and plots. Interesting that so many of her plots were used several times in different novels . There are numerous photographs of pages showing potential character names and diagrams. Included are two short stories at the end which have never been published before. If you are just starting a novel for the first time be careful that you do not read references to it beforehand as the plot is revealed. Many times her notebooks showed that she often wrote ideas for two or three novels at a time. For avid Christie fans this is a valuable adjunct to the queen of mysteries.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Well I cannot say that this books is a "must read" for any Christie fan, but I will say that reading it will add much enjoyment and provide much insight to the reading experience to the books by Agatha Christie, the all time best selling detection writer in history. Even now she outsells most contemporary authors of the same genre.

In 2005 the author, John Curran first encounter the note books of Agatha Christie...over 70 of them covering the greater part of her writing career. These notebooks were not and have not been made available to the public and Curran was the first to be allowed to mine the information. The notebooks consist of plot summaries, plot changes, side notes, grocery lists, furniture list, short poems by Christie and enough information to be able to follow her thought process through several of her novels.

The author faced a number of problems with these records which were all recorded in Christie's own handwriting...and that was the first problem; the hand writing is difficult at best, impossible at worse to decipher. By training and job experience I have made a nice living for over 40 years deciphering hand written notes but I will be honest with you...I have no idea how Curran was able to pull this off.

Another problem is that Christie dated almost nothing. Only an author such as Curran who is an expert and avid Christie fan who knows her work well could have made any sense out of the jumble of notes Christie made. There is absolutely no date line to follow and Christie would jump from one story to the next; from one year to the next both forward and backward. It took great skill and focus to be able to unravel this mess.

Yet another problem is with the reader. If you read this work you will most certainly have a greater enjoyment of Christies work but the question is should you read the book before you read Christie's novels or after? The author, Curran does give away plots and endings, that is for sure. But on the other hand I think a good case could be made that unless you were extremely knowledgeable about and had already read many to most of the novels by Christie you would have no idea what Curran is talking about there by loosing much of the good that is in this book.

Now I have read most of the detection novels of Christie...well, multiple times actually, so I found the work fascinating and will enjoy my next read even more. My own personal criticism of this work is that Curran, at times, could be quite repetitive. As an example, he will discuss a certain issue at length leaving a last not such as "refer to chapter 5." When you go to chapter five you will find much the same information that you read in the first note. That was fine with me as I am a slow learner and need most thing repeated to me at least twice to fully understand them but I can see how this could annoy some readers.

The book is filled with many photographs not only of the author but photographic reproductions of her actual notes taken from her notebooks.

If you are a big time Christie fan than this book is quite worth the read and I do recommend it.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I thought I was a Christie fanatic before reading this book, but I'm sorry to say that I lost interest about halfway through. At first, it's fascinating to see how Christie developed her plots and characters, but it gets repetitive and overwhelming. I do agree with another reviewer who stated that it would be helpful to have each book handy (or recently read!) as you read the notes about that book.

Kudos to John Curran for the amount of time he must have taken to make sense of Christie's widely-scattered notes - the secret notebooks were not in chronological order, and they have mysterious jottings that Curran tries to interpret and sometimes just makes guesses about. The few pages that show Christie's handwriting prove what a daunting task this was. I understand the author's excitement at finding the notebooks - I wish it had been me! But it's just too long to stick with it to the end (except for the two unpublished Poirot stories!)

I see there's now a second volume - but I'll have to pass on that one. The first one was quite enough.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I received this as a XMAS Gift last year. It's very detailed. The author spent a few years researching her archives. I was a little disappointed that not every book she wrote was mentioned. I really enjoyed it and loved learning more about Agatha Christie.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
An insightful peek into the workings of a great plotter and writer, Agatha Christie. The two previously unpublished stories are gravy. Thanks, John Curran, for what must have been a labour (misspelling intentional) of love.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Bought this to help prepare for a lecture on Christie's archaeology related books. Very interesting to see her quickly formulate her books. I only wish she had dated these notes!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
As a writer, this is a gem! It's lets you get inside another writer's process--and aren't we all trying to improve our own writing? It will make you laugh to realize she had her doubts like we do--even the great Agatha Christie--so enjoy the study of the craft with this book.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
John Curran's AGATHA CHRISTIE'S SECRET NOTEBOOKS is a monumental effort to bring into a cohesive volume a trove a working notebooks that Ms. Christie used to plot, develop, and sketch her numerous mystery novels.
They were working notes, which were utilized, refined, discarded, or ignored. Whatever was on her mind even her grocery lists were included in the little notebooks. The said notebooks were boxed up and stored at her death and rediscovered when the National Trust began work on her home to entice tourists to visit the scene of many of her famous stories.
For the reader to make sense of the work it might be advisable to have the works to which they pertain near at hand for reference.
This is not a general read, but a wonderful dip for old favorites. It also contains to previous unpublished Poirot stories which are always a treat.
Nash Black, author of Indie finalists WRITING AS A SMALL BUSINESS and HAINTS.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed


Autobiography, An
Autobiography, An by Agatha Christie (Paperback - September 11, 2012)
$16.89
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.