Biographical graphic novel about famous crime fiction novelist
I picked up this book at a Lifeline Bookfair, I think. I haven’t read much of Agatha Christie, but a lot of my family members enjoy her work, especially her books about the Belgian detective Poirot. A graphic novel sub-genre I’ve enjoyed previously is graphic novel biographies with one of the best being “Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Graphic Biography” which includes the incredible story of her father Otto Frank. I must have picked this one up some time ago, and decided to read it during my Short Stack Reading Challenge. I actually had a lot of trouble getting the right photograph for this review. I’ve been in the UK and Belgium, and tried to take photos at a library hotel, a comic book museum and even a comic-themed hotel. I’m not really happy with any of them (and was disappointed I didn’t see any Poirot statutes or anything in Brussels) so I’ll just include them all and be done with it.
“Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie” by Anne Martinetti, Guillaume Lebeau and Alexandre Franc, and translated from French by Edward Gauvin is a biographical graphic novel about the famous crime fiction author Agatha Christie. The story opens with Agatha’s mysterious disappearance in 1926 and the grilling of her husband by police. The story then turns to Agatha’s childhood to follow the journey of how she became a bestselling writer and the events that led up to her disappearance, discovery and life afterwards.
This is an interesting presentation of a biography that takes some creative liberties to share Agatha’s story in a unique way. The art style, while simple, is easy to follow and captures the mood and key details of the era Agatha lived in. Agatha’s life is depicted as colourful and rich, full of inspiration for her stories. The authors made the interesting narrative choice to have Agatha converse with her character Poirot throughout the book: sometimes seeking creative and emotional support, sometimes using him as a soundboard, and sometimes arguing with him about his own character arc.
I think while in many ways it is an original way to tell a story, I wasn’t sure that Agatha and Poirot’s conversations always added to the overall story. I appreciate what the authors were trying to achieve but I felt that their characterisation of Poirot, someone very invested in his own story, didn’t really match with Agatha’s own characterisation. The simplicity of the art style and the limited colour palette did make it difficult at times to distinguish between the characters.
A quaint and engaging way to present a biography and one that has inspired me to read more of Agatha Christie’s work.