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Includes a new introduction from Sophie Hannah, bestselling author of THE MONOGRAM MURDERS and HAVEN’T THEY GROWN

Agatha Christie was not only the biggest selling writer of detective stories the world has ever known, she was also a mystery in herself, giving only the rarest interviews, declining absolutely to become any sort of public figure, and a mystery too in the manner in which she achieved her astonishing success.

H R F Keating, a crime novelist and respected reviewer of crime fiction, brought together a dozen distinguished writers from both sides of the Atlantic to throw light on this double mystery. Some analyse the art itself; some explain the reasons for her success, not just the books, but also in film and theatre.

The approaches are penetrating, affectionate, enthusiastic, analytical, funny – even critical. Together, they give an almost unique insight into the life and work of the First Lady of Crime.


A salute by her fellow thriller writers and by those who know about her plays and films is all that is needed ... Gilbert's summary of Dame Agatha's life strikes just the right note and his handling of the 1926 "disappearance" when Dame Agatha was missing for nine days is informative ... Walter's account of Christie's sales as seen by her London publisher is full of interest