The Mary Westmacott Collection, Volume One by Agatha Christie HarperCollins, $217 She was a right card, that Agatha Christie. Thinking an unfolding career as the most widely read novelist of all time wasn't enough, she brought the mystery and intrigue of her fiction to life when disappearing for 10 days in 1926. Later she adopted a pseudonym to give herself a breather from the pressure that came with success. As Mary Westmacott, Christie produced six novels, all dealing with love going off the rails. The first three are collected here. In Giant's Bread, composer Vernon Deyre, reportedly killed in the first world war, returns home to find his wife remarried. Unfinished Portrait tells the story of a female novelist whose marriage hits the rocks and who attempts suicide as a result. Catharsis follows as she pours out her story to her rescuer. Absent in the Spring delves into the identity crisis of a woman stranded in Mesopotamia. With time to reflect comes the realisation that hers is a life of self-deception. The collection constitutes a sometimes searing examination of Christie's mental state - a 'case' Poirot could never crack.