Tag Archives: Agatha Christie

An Archaeologist Is the Best Husband a Woman Can Have

Agatha Christie? Alec de Montmorency? Sam Farver? Apocryphal? Anonymous?

agatha08Dear Quote Investigator: Agatha Christie remains one of the most popular writers in history. She constructed engagingly clever and innovative mysteries as a novelist and playwright. Would you please research a humorous remark that has often been attributed to her? She was married to an archaeologist from 1930 until her death in 1976, and the jest nicely conformed to this biographical detail. Here were two versions:

  1. An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her.
  2. One of the joys of being married to an archaeologist is that the older you get the more interest he takes in you.

What do you think?

Quote Investigator: The earliest evidence located by QI appeared in multiple U.S. newspapers in January 1952. The story was reprinted from the “Gothenburg Trade and Shipping Journal” of Gothenburg, Sweden. Agatha Christie was visiting London from Baghdad where she lived with her husband who was pursuing archaeological excavations. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 1 2

At a party, a curiosity bitten guest inquired if it were right for such an imaginative person to be married to a student of antiquities.

“An archeologist,” Agatha Christie said with conviction, “is the best husband any woman can get. Just consider: The older she gets, the more he is interested in her.”

Interestingly, a biographical work about Christie published in 1967 asserted that the famous author denied making the quip, and she believed the episode was invented by some pundit. A detailed citation is given further below.

QI has found this topic confusing. The additional selected citations in chronological order below provide a snapshot of current research.

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Notes:

  1. 1952 January 10, The Milwaukee Journal, Lighter Side of the News From the World Press, Quote Page 24, Column 5, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Google News Archive)
  2. 1952 January 14, The Decatur Herald, Archeologist Husband, Quote Page 8, Column 7, Decatur, Illinois. (Newspapers_com)

Starting To Write a Book: There Is No Agony Like It

Agatha Christie? Apocryphal?

agatha11Dear Quote Investigator: The acclaimed mystery writer Agatha Christie wrote more than sixty novels and sold an enormous number of copies. Yet, I was told that somewhere she had claimed that writing was agony for her. Is this possible? Would you please examine this question?

Quote Investigator: In 1977 “Agatha Christie: An Autobiography” was published posthumously. Christie described the difficulties she experienced when she was beginning to compose a new mystery story. Bold face has been added to excerpts: 1

There is always, of course, that terrible three weeks, or a month which you have to get through when you are trying to get started on a book. There is no agony like it. You sit in a room, biting pencils, looking at a typewriter, walking about, or casting yourself down on a sofa, feeling you want to cry your head off.

Christie revealed that her feelings of inadequacy and fear recurred despite her long record of success:

You forget every time what you felt before when it comes again: such misery and despair, such inability to do anything that will be in the least creative. And yet it seems that this particular phase of misery has got to be lived through.

Below are one more citation and a conclusion.

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Notes:

  1. 1977, Agatha Christie: An Autobiography by Agatha Christie, Part 9: Life with Max, Quote Page 458, Dodd, Mead, & Company, New York. (Verified with scans)