Ms. Thompson’s is not, of course, the first excavation. There have been many previous portraits and studies of Christie, the most satisfying perhaps being Janet Morgan’s measured, conscientious biography, published in 1984. Where Ms. Morgan is restrained, however, Ms. Thompson is ardent and opinionated ... Stepping back more often to view Christie in this historical context would have been worthwhile. But Ms. Thompson’s is an avowedly intimate analysis. And of a subject who expertly deflected investigation.
But derivative works and adaptations can’t fully explain why Christie’s work endures. A splendid biography by Laura Thompson, however, does. Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life was published in Britain over a decade ago and took an inexplicable amount of time to cross the pond. Yet the timing is perfect because Thompson’s thorough yet readable treatment of Christie’s life, in combination with artful critical context on her work, arrives at the reason for her endurance.