Giant's Bread

  • Mary Westmacott
  • Novel
  • 1930

Vernon Deyre is a sensitive and brilliant musician, even a genius. But there is a high price to be paid for his talent, especially by his family and the two women in his life. His sheltered childhood in the home he loves has not prepared Vernon for the harsh reality of his adult years, and in order to write the great masterpiece of his life, he has to make a crucial decision with no time left to count the cost.

More about this story

The first of six novels Agatha Christie published under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, Giant’s Bread tells the story of Vernon Deyre a young composer reported dead in WWI, who reinvents his identity.

Having finally accepted writing as her profession, by 1930 Christie wanted to experiment with her skills, “the eternal longing to do something which was not my proper job, was sure to unsettle me; in fact it would be a dull life if it didn’t.” So she moved momentarily away from the detective novel and began what she would later describe as “a straight novel”. “Bittersweet tales of the heart” was her daughter, Rosalind Hicks’ description, and Giant’s Bread is certainly bittersweet.

The original blurb on the book described the author as having previously written successful books under her own name, but seeking to have this one judged separately. The New York Times Book Review wrote “Who she is does not matter, for her book is far above the average of current fiction”.

Giant’s Bread was adapted in 2022 for BBC Sounds. It was adapted by Malcolm McKay, directed by Annabel Arden and is a Catherine Bailey production.

Did you know?

  1. Mary Westmacott's true identity remained a secret for fifteen years after Giant's Bread was published.

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