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Synopsis

A fascinating exploration of the contents of Agatha Christie's seventy-three private notebooks, including illustrations and two unpublished Poirot stories

When Agatha Christie died in 1976, at age eighty-five, she had become the world's most popular author. With sales of more than two billion copies worldwide, in more than one hundred countries, she had achieved the impossible—more than one book every year since the 1920s, every one a bestseller.

So prolific was Agatha Christie's output—sixty-six crime novels, twenty plays, six romance novels under a pseudonym and more than one hundred and fifty short stories—it was often claimed that she had a photographic memory. Was this true? Or did she resort over those fifty-five years to more mundane methods of working out her ingenious crimes?

Following the death of Agatha's daughter, Rosalind, at the end of 2004, a remarkable legacy was revealed. Unearthed among her affairs at the family home of Greenway were Agatha Christie's private notebooks, seventy-three handwritten volumes of notes, lists and drafts outlining all her plans for her many books, plays and stories. Buried in this treasure trove, all in her unmistakable handwriting, are revelations about her famous books that will fascinate anyone who has ever read or watched an Agatha Christie story.

How did the infamous twist in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd really come about? Which very famous Poirot novel started life as an adventure for Miss Marple? Which books were designed to have completely differ-ent endings, and what were they? What were the plot ideas that she considered but rejected?

Full of details she was too modest to reveal in her own autobiography, this remarkable new book includes a wealth of excerpts and pages reproduced directly from the notebooks and her letters, plus, for the first time, two newly discovered complete Hercule Poirot short stories never before published.

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