Unfinished Portrait by Agatha Christie

Unfinished Portrait by Agatha Christie is an autobiographical novel. The blurb was misleading, so avoid reading it. Without reading the blurb I would have appreciated the book more. Nevertheless, it was a clear 4 stars, mainly because of the spoilers in the blurb and of the ending, which is a bit hazy. At the same time, considering how close the things that happened in the book are to her own life, it’s understandable why she would not be able to have a stronger ending.

Unfinished Portrait by Agatha Christie

The book follows Celia’s life, with ups and downs. There are some differences with Christie’s life, during the war. It’s interesting why she decided to let out those. The novel has a lot to offer, the connection or lack of between parents and children, choices, role of women in society and within the marriage, expectations from them, from their husbands, and from others. It also offers an insight into life before the war and the interwar period. As a story, it is not fast-paced, but I enjoyed it.

I think this novel, because of its connections with Christie’s life might be interesting for those who like her mystery novels too. I don’t want to say too much about it, as I really want to avoid any spoilers.

Books under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott (links to reviews):
Giant’s Bread (1930)
Unfinished Portrait (1934) – 4 Stars
Absent in the Spring (1944) – 5 Stars
The Rose and the Yew Tree (1948) – 3 Stars
A Daughter’s a Daughter (1952) – 3 Stars
The Burden (1956) – 3 Stars

A Daughter’s a Daughter by Agatha Christie

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 3/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes-ish
Published by: HarperCollins
Year it was published: first published in 1934
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): Fiction
Pages: 223

About the author: Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Torquay, Devon, as the youngest of three. Before marrying and starting a family in London, she had served in a Devon hospital during the First World War, tending to troops coming back from the trenches. During the First World War, she worked at a hospital as a nurse; later working at a hospital pharmacy, a job that influenced her work, as many of the murders in her books are carried out with poison. During the Second World War, she worked as a pharmacy assistant at University College Hospital, London, acquiring a good knowledge of poisons which feature in many of her novels.
Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, came out in 1920. During her first marriage, Agatha published six novels, a collection of short stories, and a number of short stories in magazines. In 1930, Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan (Sir Max from 1968) after joining him in an archaeological dig. Their marriage was especially happy in the early years and remained so until Christie’s death in 1976.
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2 thoughts on “Unfinished Portrait by Agatha Christie”

  • I’ll probably pass on this one since I’d rather spend time reading her popular mysteries. Our bookclub read a novel that had Christie as a character in it which introduced me to some of her history (though it wasn’t all accurate, just loosely based for the novel). It was The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford.
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    • For me these novels are interesting as a primary source too, to see the views of women’s role in society at that point. On top of that they are nice to read, even if the ending might not be clear or to my liking.

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