Christie wrote poetry for most of her life and the first traceable published works by her are three poems in 1919 - World Hymn in The Poetry Review issue for March/April, Dark Sheila in Poetry Today issue for May/June and A Passing in the same journal for November/December. All three poems are reprinted in The Road of Dreams (with the first of these three under the slightly amended title of World Hymn, 1914).
The book is divided into four sections:
- A Masque from Italy
- Dreams and Fantasies
- Other Poems
The final section includes a poem entitled In a Dispensary which mentions many of the poisons that Christie would use in her long fictional career.
The Times Literary Supplement in its issue of February 26, 1925 praised A Masque from Italy and other selected poems whilst stating that "her talent, however, is too delicate to turn a ballad convincingly" and World Hymn, 1914 was a "subject too large for her hand to grasp". It did conclude however by stating that in poems such as Beatrice Passes (from Dreams and Fantasies) her "real poetic gift is best displayed".
The Scotsman of March 23, 1925 said, "Miss Agatha Christie, in her book of poems, The Road of Dreams, reveals a pleasing lyrical sense. The movement of her verse is light and graceful, and its substance, though not of the 'thought compact,' is not empty. Such lines, however – and there are a few-as:-
- "The South Wind comes a-whispering, a-whispering from the sea,"
are banal. Flow in verse is not everything. A stronger note is struck in some of the ballads, for instance, The Ballad of the Flint. Here Miss Christie has a story to tell, and along 'the road of reality' she swings quite vigorously. In the first collection of songs grouped together as A Masque from Italy – the players are the old and over-new Harlequin and company – Miss Christie is perhaps happiest. The poem is quite a charming bubble.
Christie does not mention the book in her autobiography. Her official biography recounts that Eden Phillpotts, a family friend, wrote to her and told her she "had great lyric gifts". He also warned her that it would not sell well and was proven right when copies remained unbound and unsold well into the 1960s.
- 1925, Geoffrey Bles, Hardcover, January 1925, 112 pp, OCLC 12657447