It is easy to find people who know Agatha Christie, the famous english mystery author. But when A.L. Rowse talks about her, his biggest interest is her life, which he thinks is a far more interesting study.
Mrs. Christie’s husband once told Mr. Rowse that «she was an exceptional combination of outer diffidence and inner confidence», it means she had been so modest about herself, even though she was a famous writer all over the world.
Agatha Christie used to say that there was nothing immoral in her books, only murder, and there was no gloating over the crime in there. Her mais interest in writing a story was the unravelling of the puzzle and she had done it with splendour. She was an author with a strong combination of two gifts: her original talent at constructing plots and her notable gift for dialogue. These together with her instinctive understanding of human behavior made Agatha Christie a famous name and a succesful writer.
Mr. Rowse tells us that even though Agatha Christie had to be a friendly woman, nobody knew the inner woman and just a few understood her. As he wrote, «her reticence and reserve were instinctive and absolute, no one penetrated beyond them(…). As a real writer, not just a detective story machine, she had a secret life in the fantasy world of the imagination.»
Agatha Christie had bad moments in her life when, after eleven years of marriage and a much loved daughter, just after her mother’s death, her husband declared that he had fallen in love with another woman, demanding a divorce. Some years after her shock, she met Max Mallowan, an archeologist who felt in love with her. He was patient and this, together with friendship, companionship and love gave her the basis for her second and happy marriage.
With her new mariage, a world of experience came into her life therefore she had a new creative inspiration that could hardly have been hoped for and a far richer life than it could ever have been with her first husband.
Reading about Agatha Christie’s life is a pleasure. She used to be the first writer of our lives, when we were younger and had all the time to spend nights awake reading page after page, working together with Mr. Poirot, with Mrs Marple, to discover things that we couldn’t believe possible.
In my youth, Agaha Christie taught me how to think about different possibilities and how to look at the many sides of the same picture. This kind of thinking has been useful for real life when we have to make decisions about something ad sometimes is hard to choose.
MPV – outubro 1990 – UCSD – Report based on the article “Ah, Sweet mystery, the Agatha I knew” written by A.L.Rowse, published on the New York Times Book Review, on october 14, 1990.