The December 1926 disappearance of Agatha Christie created intense interest, and when she was discovered, staying under an assumed name in a Harrogate Hotel, the rumour mill went into meltdown. Christie herself refused to ever be drawn out about what happened during those missing days. Attempts to provide an answer have been many and varied, to the point where even Doctor Who has tried. The blurb for this book suggests that answers, or at least a hypothesis, are to be forthcoming from the pages of this graphic novel. Alas, they are not. What this graphic novel in fact is however is a highly abbreviated biography of Christie’s eighty-five year life.
The artwork is good; solid drawing and inking skills are on display from Alexandre Franc, and the episodes of Christie’s life, which Martinetti and Lebeau have chosen to focus on, are well presented and realised. There is much attention given in the artwork to fine background details, which easily evoke a sense of time and place, as we see the twentieth century progress as Christie’s tale unfolds.
This is very much ‘Christie 101’: there is nothing here that the Christie-phile, or enthusiastic reader of Wikipedia, will not be aware of already. Indeed, the realities of Christie’s two marriages are perhaps glossed over, to portray matters as much more simplistic, and favourable to Christie, than they perhaps were. Christie is never portrayed as anything less than the ‘Queen of Crime’ she came to be considered.
The oft-repeated tale that Christie grew to hate, Hercule Poirot, is re-worked to great effect, with the grey-celled Belgian detective appearing frequently in the narrative as a figment of Christie’s imagination for her to converse with and to advance her thoughts. By the end of her life, she’s been arguing with him for well over forty years, and he does not take her plans to kill him off well. With Poirot’s demise comes the end of Christie’s life, and the end of this Graphic Novel. We would recommend this to the Agatha Christie fan, the reader of Golden Era Detective Fiction who can’t get enough of discovering more about the real life of one of that movement’s most popular authors, or anyone who wants a fantastically quick illustrated tour through the life of the best-selling novelist of all time.
AGATHA: THE REAL LIFE OF AGATHA CHRISTIE / AUTHORS: ANNE MARTINETTI, GUILLAUME LEBEAU / ARTIST: ALEXANDRE FRANC / PUBLISHER: SELFMADEHERO / RELEASE DATE: 10TH MAY