Hodder & Stoughton has commissioned a major new book about Agatha Christie from historian and biographer Lucy Worsley, promising a new perspective on the crime master.
Worsley said she wanted to place Christie as a female author in the wider context of “a troubled 20th century”. Research for her currently untitled book on Christie will include access to the author’s papers held in the family archive and travel to places where the writer lived and worked.
Hodder non-fiction publisher Rupert Lancaster acquired world rights from Worsley’s literary agent Felicity Bryan, for publication in 2022.
Worsley said: “I’m interested in the ways in which – subtly, stealthily and remaining outwardly conventional – she broke its rules for women. Twentieth-century women are supposed to be thin, earn less than their husbands, adore and nurture their numerous offspring, and constantly give themselves to others. The only one of these which Agatha completely fulfilled is the last, and that in an unusual way. She gave the best of herself – her industry and her quiet pleasure in providing top-notch entertainment – to her readers. No wonder they love her for it.”
The historian has previously written a history of the detective fiction genre, A Very British Murder (BBC Books), and a biography of another successful female author who apparently lived a “life without incident”: Jane Austen at Home, published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2017.
Lancaster said: “Publishing Lucy Worsley is an honour and a pleasure. The success of Jane Austen and Queen Victoria in the UK and international markets is a tribute to the power of her meticulous scholarship, coupled with the fresh insights she brings to her subjects.”