Agatha Christie’s art of writing remains unparalleled in the world of fiction and mystery. With more than 100 million copies sold in 100 languages, she has revolutionized the mystery genre. Her books still rank on the charts as best sellers even decades after release. She was renowned as the Queen of Crime for writing two masterpieces Monsieur Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. Read the full blog to know more about Agatha Christie and her most famous novels that transformed English literature.
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Did you know? Agatha Christie’s books have only been Outsold only by the bible and Shakespeare, making Christie the best-selling fiction writer of all time, with total global sales exceeding 2 billion!
Life of Agatha Christie
Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born on September 15, 1890, in, England, to Frederick Alvah Miller, an American stockbroker, and Clara Miller née Boehmer. She was the youngest of three siblings. Her mother, who educated her at home, frequently encouraged her to write. She had rich dreams as a kid, and at the age of 16, she was sent to Paris for a brief period of time to get singing and piano training.
In December 1914, she married Archibald Christie, a Royal Flying Corps aviator but their relationship didn’t go well and they got divorced in 1928. Later on, she married archaeology professor Max Mallowan in 1930. The Mysterious Affair at Styles, her debut novel, was released in 1920. Hercule Poirot, a Belgian detective, was the main attraction. The novel was inspired by the murder of a rich heiress.
‘Curious things, habits. People themselves never knew they had them.’
Critics praised her novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd as a one-of-a-kind classic when it was published in 1926, at a period of severe personal struggle for the author. She travelled on several expeditions with Mallowan and documented her experiences in the memoir Come, Tell Me How You Live, published in 1946. Murder at the Vicarage was published in 1930. It portrayed an inquisitive village lady named Miss Jane Marple, and the novel went on to become a classic.
Agatha Christie worked at the University College London Pharmacy during WWII, which provided her with murder plots for her books. Her paintings gained international acclaim at that time frame.
‘Every murderer is probably somebody’s old friend.’
Creating the World of Engrossing Mysteries
According to some reviewers, many of her novels’ plots were based on a distinctive formula. Murders were carried out using ingenious techniques, which frequently included the use of poison, something Christie was well-versed in. The detective interviewed the key suspects, summoned the important people into a drawing parlour, and disclosed who was the killer in many of her stories. Her books were psychological thrillers, and readers were frequently challenged to solve the crimes as they read. Her play The Mousetrap was performed at London’s Ambassadors Theatre in 1952. Since then, it has been performed on and off. For her creative achievements, she was awarded Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1971.
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She created two detective characters – Poirot and Miss Marple, who became world-famous for solving murder mysteries.. Poirot appears in a number of her books, including Ackroyd, The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928), and Death in the Clouds (1929). (1935). Miss Marple was a part of The Moving Finger (1942) and A Pocket Full of Rye (1943). (1953). Other well-known characters from Christie’s mystery world were Tuppence and Tommy Beresford, Colonel Race, Parker Pyne, and Ariadne Oliver.
She has almost 70 detective books to her credit, earning her the nicknames “Queen of Mystery.” She also authored romantic novels under the pen name Mary Westmacott, such as Unfinished Portrait and A Daughter’s a Daughter. Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile are two of her books that have been adapted into films. She died at the age of 85 in 1976.
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Interesting Facts About Agatha Christie
- Her play ‘The Mousetrap’ holds the distinction for being the world’s longest-running play. It first launched in the West End of London in 1952 and has been running ever since. In November of 2012, it celebrated its 25,000th performance.
- Christie’s mother felt she should not learn to read until she was eight years old and persisted in homeschooling her until she was fifteen. She did, however, teach herself to read and was eventually sent to a school in Paris.
- Madge, Christie’s older sister, encouraged her to create a novel. She took up the challenge and penned The Mysterious Affair at Styles as her novel. Her famous character Hercule Poirot was also featured in this work. The work was ultimately published in 1920 after being rejected by six publishers at first.
- The character of Hercule Poirot was based on a real person. Christie noticed an unusual Belgian guy coming off a bus in early 1910, who had a puzzled expression. Later, Agatha Christie re-imagined the Belgian guy and then created one of the most famous characters Hercule Poirot.
‘I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming… suddenly you find – at the age of 50, say – that a whole new life has opened before you.’
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The Top Murder Mysteries by Agatha Christie
- The Murder of Roger Ackroyd(1926)
- The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928)
- Murder at the Vicarage (1930)
- The Thirteen Problems (1932)
- The Witness for the Prosecution (1933)
- Murder on the Orient Express (1934)
- Death on the Nile (1937)
- Appointment with Death (1938)
- And Then There Were None (1939)
- Evil Under the Sun (1941)
- The Hollow (1946)
- A Murder is Announced (1950)
- After the Funeral (1953)
- Dead Man’s Folly (1956)
- 4.50 from Paddington (1957)
- A Caribbean Mystery (1964)
- Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case (1975)
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