Agatha Christie: The Best Selling Mystery Writer of All Time
Agatha Christie was born Mary Clarissa Miller on September 15, 1890. Her family was part of the financially comfortable middle class. Christie was homeschooled by her father. This was unusual for the time. Her mother didn't want Christie to learn to read until she was eight. Christie taught herself to read by the time she had reached the age of five.
When she was eleven: Agatha Christie’s family had financial difficulties. Her father died after having more than one heart attack. After this, she and her mother became good friends. The two eventually worked out the family's financial problems. Starting at the age of 15, Christie lived in a series of boarding schools. She took piano lessons and was told by instructors she could be a professional pianist. Agatha Christie refused to pursue this as she suffered from intense shyness when playing in front of people she didn't know.
When she was 18, Christie attempted writing a number of short stories. Some of them were published during the 1930s. Her first short story was called The House of Dreams. Its subject was dreams and madness. Other short stories she wrote during this time were This Little Lonely god, This Call of Wings and others. A family friend was an author; her name was Eden Philpotts. Christie always remembered how Philpotts provided some constructive as well as shrewd advice when it came to her writing. It was advice Christie valued highly as she started her writing career.
Marriage And Divorce
Christie met her future husband, Archie Christie, in 1912. He was an aviator who joined the Royal Flying Corps. They got married in 1914 on Christmas Eve. Both had experiences during World War I. She as a volunteer working in a hospital attending to sick and wounded soldiers. Archie fought in France. They didn't see one another too often during the war years. In January of 1918, Archie Christie was assigned duty at the War Office in London. This is when the couple felt their married life began. In August of 1919, the couple had their only child. A daughter they named Rosalind Margaret. The couple divorced in 1928. Agatha Christie met her next husband, Max Mallowman, late in 1928. The two married in September of 1930. The couple remained married until Christie passed away in 1976.
Creation of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple
Two of the best-known characters in mystery novels are Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Hercule Poirot was based on Belgian refugees Agatha Christie met during World War I. After meeting a few Belgian policemen, she figured a Belgian detective would be an excellent private detective. She first wrote Hercule Poirot into her novel, The Mysterious Affair. During this time, Agatha Christie worked hard to develop different characters. The next one she really liked was Miss Marple. This character was based on her smart and cunning grandmother. The first appearance of Miss Marple in print was a short story published in The Royal Magazine in 1927. The Murder at the Vicarage was the first book written by Christie that featured the Miss Marple character. It was published in 1930.
World War II
During this time, Christie’s husband Max Mallowman worked in Cairo. He had language skills that enabled him to assist in the war effort. Agatha Christie stayed in England. She volunteered to work at the University College Hospital in London. Agatha Christie worked in the hospital’s dispensary. This is where she obtained an extensive knowledge about poisons. This knowledge she was able to use in many of her crime novels. People in the medical profession were impressed that her descriptions of poisons were so accurate. During one incident, physicians were able to identify a person suffering from thallium poisoning based on how Agatha Christie described it in one of her books.
In 1942, Agatha Christie was investigated by British intelligence. The reason is a character that appeared in her novel titled N or M? The characters name was Major Bletchley. In the book, he as a deadly spy working against England. British Intelligence worried that Agatha Christie had connections to a spy working at the government code-breaking center. Everything associated with it was top secret. The fears were over when Agatha Christie told a code-breaking friend how she was stuck on a train because of the army and sought revenge by giving the name to one of her book’s least likable characters.
This is a play written by Agatha Christie. The Mousetrap has the world record for the longest initial run of any theatrical play. On November 25, 1952, the play was first seen at the Ambassadors Theatre in London's West End. As of 2018, it is still being performed. It has had more than 26,000 performances over the years.
In 1956, Agatha Christie was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her many successful works of literature. In 1957, she was elected President of the Detection Club. She continues to hold the title of the most-translated individual novel writer. It's estimated her work has been translated into more than 102 languages. Her book, And Then There Were None, is her best selling book. Estimates have it selling over 100 million copies. This makes it the world's best selling mystery book in the history of novels. It is also one of the highest selling novels of all time. Over thirty-two of her books have been made into feature films or movies based on her writing.
Agatha Christie, who gave so much to the world of mystery writing, died from natural causes on January 12, 1975. She was in her home located in Oxfordshire, England. Agatha Christie was 85 years old. Her final resting place is in the churchyard of St. Mary's, Cholsey. The plot where she is buried was chosen by her and her husband a decade before she died. Her funeral service was attended by more than 19 Television as well as newspaper reporters. Some of the reporters came from distant places like South America. Many wreaths were placed on her grave including one from the cast of her play Mousetrap and several from book publishers.
Agatha Christie is considered by many mystery writers and publishers to be the true Queen of Crime. During her career, she created many innovative mystery writing structures that are still being used. It was the way she concealed secrets in a story and how a detective was able to slowly discover them. Gathering all the suspects in a room to identify the guilty party is still a popular tool for many mystery writers. Her legend and stature in the world of mystery writing seems to only grow with the passage of time.