Agatha Christie? Alec de Montmorency? Sam Farver? Apocryphal? Anonymous?
Dear 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:
- An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her.
- 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: 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) 1952 January 14, The Decatur Herald, Archeologist Husband, Quote Page 8, Column 7, Decatur, Illinois. (Newspapers_com)
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.