Agatha Christie, Writer Best Known for Detective Novels
Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born on September 15, 1890, in Torquay, Devon, England. Her father was American and her mother British, and she had two older siblings, Margaret Frary Miller and Louis Montant Miller. Her mother schooled her at home, and she learned to read at five years old. Agatha was encouraged to pursue the arts and write from a young age, creating fantasy worlds, and she moved to Paris at age 16 to study singing and piano.
In 1914, she married Colonel Archibald Christie, who was a Royal Flying Corps pilot, and she practiced nursing during World War I. They were married during the First World War, so for the beginning of their marriage, he was away in France much of the time. They were happily married and had a daughter, Rosalind. Agatha soon published her first book The Mysterious Affair at Styles after being rejected by 6 publishers in 1920. This story introduced her most famous character, Hercule Poirot, who recently moved to Britain after fleeing Belgium during WW1, investigates the murder of his neighbour, a rich heiress. She realized that she could make a career from these stories and started to write full-time.
In 1924, Archibald was hired to travel the world as the director of the British Empire Mission’s business manager. Agatha and Rosalind traveled too, and over 10 months, they visited Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, which Agatha claimed was “one of the most exciting things that ever happened to [her]” Their marriage started to deteriorate after the trip with Archibald spending more time playing golf than with his family, and Agatha decided to go on holiday. When she returned, she discovered her mother Clara was ill with bronchitis and died shortly after. Archibald did not want anything to do with the death or funeral, as he hated illness, death and trouble, and demanded everyone go to Spain. A month after Clara’s death, he announced he was in love with Nancy Neele, who he used to work with. He demanded a divorce, though after a small separation he came back before promptly leaving again.
In 1926, Agatha released The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which went on to be a genre classic and one of Christie’s personal favorites. Grappling with the death of her mother and recent divorce, she disappeared for 11 days, only to be found in the Harrogate hotel under the name Nancy Neele. In 1930, she remarried to Max Mallowan, an archaeology professor, and released Murder at the Vicarage. She went on to write more than 70 detective novels and short fiction, earning the titles “Queen of Crime” and “Queen of Mystery,” making her one of the top selling authors in history. She also wrote plays such as “The Hollow,” “Verdict,” and most famously “The Mousetrap” (seven strangers are trapped at a Manor in a blizzard when a police sergeant arrives worried about a possible murder) — which was the longest unbroken run in a London theatre.
In 1971, she was made a Dame for her literary works, a title given by the Queen in honour of someone’s extraordinary service or merit. She made her last public appearance in 1974 at the opening night of the theatre adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express. She died on January 12, 1976, from natural causes, and London’s West End theatres dimmed their lights for an hour to mark her death.
Her books and plays are still being adapted, produced and shared after nearly 50 years, and her character Hercule Poirot is second only to Sherlock Holmes.
“Very few of us are what we seem.” — Agatha Christie
by Daisy O’Connor
Agatha Christie: The world’s best-selling author of all time (2021) The Home of Agatha Christie, Retrieved from https://www.agathachristie.com
Notable Biographies (2010) Agatha Christie Biography. Retrieved from https://www.notablebiographies.com/Ch-Co/Christie-Agatha.html
Biography (Jan 8 2020) Agatha Christie Biography. Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/writer/agatha-christie
Legacy (2018) Agatha Christie: 35 Facts. Retrieved from http://www.legacy.com/news/united-kingdom/agatha-christie-35-facts/305/