Agatha Christie turns sleuth in novels that weave her colourful real life into murder mysteries: Death In a Desert Land Review

Wearing a chemise and long shorts, the young Agatha Christie surfed the waves in Hawaii and off the coast of Cape Town, declaring it, ‘one of the most perfect physical pleasures’.

She rollerskated on Torquay Pier unfettered by her long Edwardian skirt. She attended dance classes with other comely women dressed as Grecian nymphs.

And not least among her ‘physical pleasures’ were marriages to the unfaithful but handsome pilot Archie Christie and then, at 40, to dashing 26-year-old archaeologist Max Mallowan, when they lied about their dates of birth on the marriage certificate to hide the age difference.

This hardly equates with the dour image of the older Agatha, dreaming up murder most foul at her typewriter, in a Miss Marple costume of tweed and mannish shoes. Like many of her characters, Agatha was not what she seemed.

No wonder author Andrew Wilson began probing her life after dreaming up the idea of making his fictional version of her the centre of his series of murder mystery novels.

A hallmark of Andrew’s Christie novels is that they mirror some of the known elements of her life precisely. Her travels and the people she met are there, providing both skeleton and springboard for his adroitly plotted murders.

His research encompassed reading widely and following in her footsteps. That was, until this latest novel.


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