Young Agatha Christie | Review
Young Agatha Christie
by William Augel, translated by Benjamin Croze
I don’t really know how to sum up this book. It’s got a number of interesting features, and together they make for an enjoyable read, but I would never have predicted all of them in the same graphic novel.
Some of the full-page, nine-panel comic strips feature a morbid girl, as when she has one doll give another arsenic at a tea party. These have the humor of any young goth character, with the surprise contrast between youth and being macabre. Some of the comics feature her being creative or thinking about writing. Those are a bit more specific to the idea of famous mystery writer Agatha Christie.
My favorite strip type are the slightly longer mysteries. There are seven, with solutions presented in the back, also in comic strip form, narrated by Agatha’s doll Miss Marple. There are also several comics where Agatha rewrites classic fairy tales to include mystery elements.
Another longer strip has Agatha inventing surfing. That’s completely silly, although she was an early adopter of the practice. Others are jokes about siblings or toys that could apply to any family. The final type of comic involves Agatha’s travel to France with her family and nursemaid.
In summary, there are a lot of different kinds of jokes here, and only some are specific to the character. All are drawn in a soft, old-fashioned, caricature art style, though, that suits the material.
The final section has a few puzzles, a very brief biography, and a teaching guide with more information on the characters and themes, discussion questions, and project and activity ideas.
I found Young Agatha Christie entertaining, but I’m familiar with the author and have read all her books. I’d be curious to know how a young reader reacted to this book, whether they would find Agatha an interesting character or one they had nothing in common with. Perhaps the idea of a mystery writer shaped that way from childhood is attractive on its own.
Johanna Draper Carlson has been reviewing comics for over 20 years. She manages ComicsWorthReading.com, the longest-running independent review site online that covers all genres of comic books, graphic novels, and manga. She has an MA in popular culture, studying online fandom, and was previously, among many other things, webmaster for DC Comics. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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