Christie is the world's best-known mystery writer. Her books have sold over a
billion copies in the English language and another billion in over 45 foreign
languages. She is outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare.
Christie was born in 1890 in Torquay in England. Her father was called
Frederick Miller so she was born as Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller. She was
educated at home and studied singing and piano in Paris. In 1914 she married
Archibald Christie, but then World War I had broken out. Agatha worked as a
nurse in a Red Cross hospital in Torquay at that time and that experience was
useful later on.
first book was published in 1920, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. There,
readers met Hercules Poirot, the eccentric Belgian detective with the
funny-looking moustache. But Agatha's books first attracted attention in 1926
when she published The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.
made news herself when she disappeared for a few days after her husband wanted
a divorce. She was soon found to be staying in a hotel under an alias. Her
disappearance is still a mystery! She and Archibald divorced in 1928 (he died
in 1962). When she was around 40 years old she went on a holiday and visited
e.g. Iraq where she met young archaeologist Max Mallowan, who was 14 years
younger. They married in 1930 and Agatha Christie became Agatha Christie
Mallowan. During World War II Agatha worked in the dispensary of University
College Hospital in London. She often assisted her husband on excavations, e.g.
in Iraq and Syria.
Christie wrote nearly seventy novels in her career and more than a hundred
short stories. Her most famous characters are Hercules Poirot and Miss Marple,
and the latter one was her personal favourite. She also wrote a few books about
Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, and in some books there was no particular main
character, e.g. in Ten Little Niggers. Agatha Christie also wrote six romantic
novels under the name Mary Westmacott. Agatha's plays have also made her famous
and her best known play, The Mousetrap, is most likely the best known mystery
play in the world.
was the president of the Detection Club. She became Dame Agatha in 1971.
is best known for her detective stories, largely centred around two detectives;
the elderly Miss Marples and the pompous Poirot. Apart from her plots, today it
is the period detail of her books that fascinates; the English village, the spa
hotel, the country house and the cruise-ship. She chronicles a vanished pre-
WW2 upper middle class Britain which enhances the staginess of her characters
Christie was sure the world’s best selling crime writer. Moreover, she was an
immensely prolific writer. 79 shot stories, 4 non-fiction ones and 19 plays
were written by that strange woman. They were translated into 136 languages.
Over 3 billion books by Agatha Christie were sold worldwide. She is popular for
ingenuity of plots, which are classical murder mysteries: marooned places and a
well-mannered murderer. Her way to present the stories was quite definite from
that of her colleagues. At first her stories appealed to the readers’ detective
inside, so you can’t find much blood and violence in her stories.
Christie created two major characters for her stories. Hercule Poirot, a
Belgian, used to work in the Police, but by the time of the action he was
already retired. He can be described as a funny little man taken by many
readers as a comic. He had luxurious moustaches and he was really proud of
Marple was absolutely opposite to Poirot. She wasn’t a professional and had
never been one. She was just an old spinster, very modest but perceptive and
not a flamboyant personality, who acted as a detective just by virtue of taking
Christie’s favourite way of murdering was by poisoning. She accurately
described the process because she had learned a lot about poisons and other
chemicals during World War II, while working in a hospital.
reader has to solve the mystery and decide who the murderer is hand-in-hand
with the author. Most of the crimes were committed in some closed surroundings
with a limited number of people to suspect. Finally the identity of the
murderer is revealed and a hooked reader starts looking for another book by
Christie lived between 1890 and 1976. She started writing stories at a very
early age, at first to entertain herself. However, she managed to become
famous. Not many people know that she used to write under a pen-name of Mary
Westmacott. Later, already being a world-known writer, she tried to avoid
publicity and stayed out of public eye.