Absent in the Spring

Absent in the Spring

Dust-jacket illustration of the first UK edition
Author Mary Westmacott (pseudonym of Agatha Christie)
Cover artist Not known
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Tragedy
Publisher Collins
Publication date
August 1944
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 160 pp
Preceded by Towards Zero
Followed by Death Comes as the End

Absent in the Spring is a novel written by Agatha Christie and first published in the UK by Collins in August 1944 and in the US by Farrar & Rinehart later in the same year. It was the third of six novels Christie wrote under the nom-de-plume Mary Westmacott.

Explanation of the novel's title

The title is a quotation from Shakespeare's sonnet 98: "From you have I been absent in the spring,..."

Plot introduction

Stranded between trains, Joan Scudamore finds herself reflecting upon her life, her family, and finally coming to grips with the uncomfortable truths about her life.

Literary significance and reception

The Times Literary Supplement's review of 19 August 1944 by Marjorie Grant Cook stated positively, "The writer has succeeded in making this novel told in retrospect, with its many technical difficulties, very readable indeed. She has not made Joan, with her shallow, scrappy mind, sympathetic, and the other characters in the tale, seen through her eyes, lack the charm they had for each other and withheld from her."[1]

J. D. Beresford's review in The Guardian of 25 August 1944 concluded, "It is a very clever and consistently interesting study of a character that not even a desert vision could permanently change."[2]

Publication history

The novel was first serialised in the US in Good Housekeeping in two abridged instalments from July to August 1944.


  1. The Times Literary Supplement, 19 August 1944 (p. 401)
  2. The Guardian, 25 August 1944 (p. 3)

External links

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