Guess who owns the title of best-selling novelist in history, having written more than 100 novels as well as short story collections and plays, and selling over a billion copies of her books in English and another billion in over 100 foreign languages? Yup, Agatha Christie. I’ve been a fan of this prolific writer for years, so when I recently came across her autobiography, I scooped it up.

The book, written over 15 years from 1950 to 1965, is a fascinating revelation of the woman and her work. Beginning with her childhood in England, Christie, born in 1890, then writes of her service as a nurse in World War I, peppering her prose with details of her dating life and first marriage. Divorce changes her life dramatically, but she continues to develop her writing career, and a second marriage to an archaeologist many years her junior will last the rest of her life.

Christie candidly writes of her family, her travels–including on the famed Orient Express–excavations in Ur and Mosul, and insights about life in general. Philosophical, canny, and with a sharp sense of humor, she leads the reader on a delightful journey until she reaches the age of 75, where the book ends. She would go on to live another 10 years, dying in 1976 of natural causes at home in England.

The book is a treasure for many reasons, but as a follower for so long, it was a special treat to learn how plots and characters (my personal favorite is quirky, egg-headed Hercule Poirot) popped up in her imagination and onto the printed page.

Highly recommended for mystery and history aficionados, writers, and anyone who enjoys autobiographies.