A TALENT FOR MURDER by Andrew Wilson

A TALENT FOR MURDER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Bestselling mystery writer Agatha Christie's real-life 1926 disappearance is reimagined as fiction by biographer Wilson (Alexander McQueen, 2015, etc.).

The known facts are here, including Christie’s unfaithful husband, Archie, and the fight they had about his affair with Nancy Neele on the night the writer’s car was later found abandoned in Surrey. But in Wilson’s telling, Christie is accosted in the London Underground by the sociopathic Dr. Kurs, who demands that she kill his wife for him. Why would she do that? Well, Kurs has obtained compromising letters from Archie to Nancy, and he also threatens unspeakable harm to Christie’s 7-year-old daughter. As always with such premises, the only answer to the question “why doesn’t she go to the police?” is that there would be no book if she did. Christie follows Kurs' orders to disappear and check into a hotel in Harrogate, at which point the narrative splinters into three parts. The only one with any plausibility, albeit little interest, concerns an aging, alcoholic chief constable who is convinced Christie was murdered by her husband. The increasingly baroque developments as Christie cooks up a plot to fool Kurs with the help of his (understandably aggrieved) wife are matched by the ridiculous shenanigans of Una Crowe, a society girl at loose ends who decides to investigate Christie's disappearance and sell the results to a newspaper. No one’s motivations make any sense, least of all those of Christie, who whipsaws between quivering terror of Kurs and resourceful plotting to stymie him. The framing device pretends that a man named John Davison wrote this account of the real story behind Christie’s disappearance, which he used to recruit her to work for his shadowy secret branch of the British civil service. That’s as believable as anything else in this silly tale—which is to say, hardly at all.

Not worth bothering with, even for die-hard fans of Dame Agatha.

Pub Date: July 11th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-5011-4506-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2017




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