AN ENGLISH MYSTERY
Hardback published by Headline Review 2007
"...No doubt Agatha's inner life would have developed less freely had she been born into a different kind of family. Perhaps it would not have existed at all. But the Millers of Torquay were not as conventional as their appearance suggested, and the dynamic of the family left Agatha protected yet separate, which was ideal for the growth of her particular personality. Agatha Mary Clarissa was the last of three children, born on 15 September 1890, eleven years after her sister Margaret (Madge) and ten after her brother Louis Montant (Monty). Her father, Frederick, was far too much the gentleman to interfere in his children's inner lives. Clarissa, her mother, whose inquisitiveness would have been far greater, had the instinctive wisdom of knowing just how much of this interest to show...Clara, as she was known, was an original. Her influence upon Agatha - both by omission and involvement - was almost absolute. A distinguished-looking little person, with the near-black eyes of a clever bird, she was the centre of the Ashfield world, the person who made imagination both possible and safe. She was also, probably, the love of Agatha's life..."
'Laura Thompson’s outstanding biography... is a pretty much perfect capturing of a life.' Kate Mosse, Book of the Year 2007, The Guardian, The Independent and The Independent on Sunday
'A triumphant success', A.N. Wilson, Daily Mail
'Laura Thompson has certainly written the last word on Agatha Christie. Her book is a superb piece of biography.' Literary Review
'Affectionate, admiring, perceptive and absolutely convincing'. Sunday Telegraph.
'This splendid account of [Christie’s] life and work is unlikely to be bettered.' Evening Standard