An Autobiography

by Agatha Christie. Dodd, Mead, $15.00. Dame Agatha began her memoirs in 1950 and finished them fifteen years later at the age of seventy-five. She had announced at the start her intention to write precisely as she pleased, omit things if she chose, elaborate where she wished, and in general be an idiosyncratic, self-indulgent old lady. She did precisely that. As a World War I medical worker, successful author, unexpected divorcee, traveler, playwright, and wife of the distinguished archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan, she had plenty of material to work with. She used it with spirit and intelligence, producing a book with much leisurely charm, full of vivid characterizations, information about the construction of her mystery novels, comic anecdotes, and flashes of satirical asperity. The few dull spots hardly count. Illustrations.