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  • Agatha Christie

  • A Very Elusive Woman
  • By: Lucy Worsley
  • Narrated by: Lucy Worsley
  • Length: 13 hrs and 46 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (112 ratings)

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Summary

Nobody in the world was more inadequate to act the heroine than I was.

A new and fascinating account of the life of Agatha Christie from acclaimed historian Lucy Worsley.

Why did Agatha Christie spend her career pretending that she was 'just' an ordinary housewife, when clearly she wasn't? As Lucy Worsley says, 'She was thrillingly, scintillatingly modern'. Her life was 'modern' too: she went surfing in Hawaii, she loved fast cars, and she was intrigued by the new science of psychology, which helped her through devastating mental illness.

So why—despite all the evidence to the contrary—did Agatha present herself as a retiring Edwardian lady of leisure? 

She was born in 1890 into a world which had its own rules about what women could and couldn't do. Lucy Worsley's biography is not just of a massively, internationally successful writer. It's also the story of a person who, despite the obstacles of class and gender, became an astonishingly successful working woman.

Agatha's life is fascinating for its mysteries and its passion.

With access to personal letters and papers that have rarely been seen, Lucy Worsley's biography is both authoritative and entertaining and makes us realise what an extraordinary pioneer Agatha Christie was—truly a woman who wrote the 20th century.

©2022 Lucy Worsley (P)2022 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

What listeners say about Agatha Christie

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  • Overall
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Enjoyable

I was apprehensive about getting a 13 hour plus book narrated by Lucy Worsley. I thought that her very perky t.v. presenting style would be a bit wearisome. To my delight, though, she does a great job. Enthusiastic? Of course, it Lucy! But there’s plenty of nuance and even some subtlety in her voice work here and I was a bit ‘awww…not yet’ at her sign off
It is most definitely a life of Agatha Christie rather than the lives of her fictions. I tend to prefer the later but that’s just personal taste. What LW sets out to do, she accomplishes. It’s opinionated but not annoyingly so and there are a quite a few titbits that were new to me. I also like the way that there is a fair bit of social history included though obviously it’s by no means exhaustive. Her perspective on Christie’s daughter Rosalind is intriguing. A lot of the other stuff I’ve read depicts her as rather grabby and unlikeable but LW does not see it that way. Solid, enjoyable read.

7 people found this helpful

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Pronunciation!

I was prepared for her annoying lisp (She kept referring to Agaffa the awfer. Or Deaf on the Nile) but I was surprised at her inability to pronounce quite unchallenging, and easily recognised words. King Fayzal for King Faisal. Onjonyouway for ingenue. And she just can’t pronounce archaeological. It becomes arkological. It became such an irritation (every time she said “Agaffa fought” I thought Mrs Christie was out fighting again, but she meant “Agatha thought”) that I gave up and bought the book. She’s a TV presenter, couldn’t she have had some speech coaching! Plus her delivery is odd which makes it sound as if she’s telling a gothic horror story. “And then they moved to SURREY” as if that’s the most terrifying place on earth and should be accompanied by spooky music. Strange and distracting. I have read a lot of books by and about Christie, so I didn’t really learn a great deal more, (although I appreciated her confirming my belief that Archie Christie was “hot”) which was disappointing as I was hoping for a big reveal after umpteen years of research. Much preferred the book without the perky Ms Worsley skipping about.

3 people found this helpful

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Throughly entertaning

Well researched and produced. I love that Lucy has decided to narrate her work, her voice adds to much to the telling of Agatha Christie's story. Get this book - you won't be disappointed!!

2 people found this helpful

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Life long Christie fan

A brilliant portrait of an ordinary woman. A compassionate injection of humanity and a great appreciation for the wider influences that Agatha Christie's work rippled into the wider world.

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Great story annoying lisp

Big Christie fan but hard to enjoy this with such a distracting impediment. Overall good

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Recommended

Very enjoyable listen although having recently read Agatha Christie's own autobiography I found this did rely on that heavily, particularly for Christie's earlier life (quite possibly there aren't a lot of other sources). I didn't feel like I learned a lot more about Christie (& not a lot of detail about her family members) but an excellent overview (especially if you haven't read the autobiography recently) and well read.

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Two amazing woman in one hit!

Thoroughly enjoyed, Lucy W is fab, both as author & narrator. I like many wish she’d been my history teacher, I was transfixed by the whole book.

Learnt so much, not only about Agatha who continually reinvented herself - what an amazing woman, what an interesting life she led - but also the period in which lived and as for the archeology stuff!

Shamefully never read a Christie (or other), always relied on TV/film but I definitely will now. And who knew she wrote so many books, short stories, plays!

Do yourself a favour, plug in!

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Loved Lucy's reading of this interesting biography

Agatha is a very interesting character and I'm a big fan of Lucy Worsley so no surprise that I enjoyed this biography. I don't believe for a moment that Agatha had amnesia but it is understandable that the stress of her mother's death followed by Archie's betrayal pushed her over the edge. Lucy treats her subject with the kindness and compassion she deserves however I suspect that there are more stories out there of Agatha being truly difficult and Lucy does not really explore this side of Agatha. Also, surely Rosalind has more to say about the negative impact her parent's lack of interest in her must have had.

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What an Excavation!

This detailed, scholarly yet highly readable account of the life of Agatha Christie has much in common with the archaeology which was the lifelong pursuit and passion of her second husband, Max. Lucy Worsley's reading of her own book was, I thought, pitch perfect.

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Loved it!

I really enjoyed this enormously. Fantastic research and I'm glad Lucy Worsley read it herself. I always prefer authors narrating their own work. My only criticism is that it ended.