In the Footsteps of Agatha Christie, text by Francois Rivière, photographs by Jean-Bernard Naudin, published by Trafalgar Square, tel: 802-457-1911, $29.95.

If you enjoyed ‘The Literary World of Agatha Christie,’ and would like to learn more, In the Footsteps of Agatha Christie with text by Francois Rivière, and photographs by Jean-Bernard Naudin, provides the perfect follow-up to Jennifer Dorn’s literary tour.

This gorgeous 165-page photographic essay traces the life of England’s best-loved mystery writer throughout the South Devon locales that she called home. Rivière’s detailed text works from the rhetorical premise he raises in the first paragraph: ‘If a writer’s life and work are not parts of one and the same process, what explains the fact that Agatha Christie’s work gradually became universal, able to remove the author body and soul, with almost suspect insistence, from the place of her birth?’

The England that Christie depicts in her novels is none other than the warm, welcoming country she experienced as a child. In the book, photographer JeanBernard Naudin captures this idyllic world with an admirable skill. Breathtaking coastlines, lush green pastures, as well as the nostalgic interiors of English domestic life fill the glossy pages. Interspersed are black-and-white historical photographs featuring Christie at various phases throughout her life: posing as a child with her sister in Ashfield’s garden, dancing as a teenaged girl on the beach at Burgh Island.

But Rivière goes on to raise an interesting paradox. The very same author who in her novels introduces eager readers to this ‘intriguing and kindly England’, remains distinctly detatched from it in her private world. Christie remained notoriously protective of her privacy and few were ever fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of her personal life. How different is our notion of England’s best-loved mystery writer from the true Agatha Christie? In this inquisitive book, Rivière and Naudin attempt to reveal images of both.

Leigh Ann Berry