When it comes to the Queen of Crime, my mother is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge. Thanks to her, I’ve become increasingly familiar with the more personal side of Agatha Christie’s life as it relates to her family relationships—especially with her mother. It certainly puts a different perspective on why many of her books have dominant female characters and tend to emphasize the importance of home and family.
“You sound just like Agatha Christie!” My eighty-five year old mother declared.
“Hardly,” I grumbled as I stared in panic at a blank computer screen.
“Do you know your plot?”
“Of course I do,” I said. “It’s in my head.”
“That’s what I meant, darling.” Mum said. “Agatha gave a radio interview with the BBC in 1955 and was asked about her writing method. She said the real work is done in thinking out the development of the story and worrying about it until it comes right. Then, you just have to find the time to write it.”
“And to think she wrote 66 mystery novels, 153 short stories and six romance novels.”
“Even if I wrote five books a year until I died,” I said. “I’ll never be so prolific.”
“Of course you will!” Mum said firmly. “But only you can do it. No one can do it for you. Just roll up your sleeves and get on with it! That’s what Agatha’s mother would have said.”
[Such certainty is a mother's prerogative...]