“A woman of adventure and intrigue that can conjure and flavor up a mystery in her own creative mind, she works well creating a splendid plot and inventive personalities, and natural born talents.”
Agatha Christie born Agatha May Clarissa Miller in 1890 in Devon, England, the youngest of three children in a conservative wealthy family, her father Frederick Alvah Miller an American writer and English mother Clarissa Beochmer Miller. In her schooling days she never attended an actual school, but was educated at home by a governess and tutors. Her father would teach her arithmetic and her mother would teach her history and a subject called “general knowledge.” At a very young age, she was shy as well as creative, and was adequately about her feelings and would spend part of her time reading detective stories that were Sherlock Holmes novels, newspapers, and books by Eden Phillpotts that was a big influence on her. Eden had lived nearby and would visit with him regularly and he would become her mentor.
Her creative talents were music and writing. At sixteen she was sent to school in Paris where she remained there for two years and spoke languages French and German, and would take gymnastics and tennis lessons but mainly studied signing and piano, which she was considered an accomplished pianist but stage fright prevented her from pursuing a career in music. Young Agatha was very close with her mother, who wanted her to be a concert pianist or a professional opera singer. She was described as a tall Scandinavian with reddish-old hair, a shy, bright, and loyal personality. After finishing school, Agatha spends her three months in Egypt with her mother and had been engaged to Reggie Luey. Instead she marries young fellow officer Archibald Christie.
In 1914, 24-year-old Agatha meets Colonel Archibald Christie, a World War I fighter pilot in the Royal Flying Corps. She had also did her duty in the army as a nurse working at the Red Cross hospital in Torquayas as a hospital dispenser and formed a knowledge of poison and would happen to write her first detective novel. The couple married at the Parish Church of Emmanuel Clifton, Bristol on December 24. They have their only child, their one daughter Rosalind. In 1923, Archibald moves his family to Scotswood, Sunningdale where they stayed for two years and bought a larger house that was called the Styles. The marriage lasted for two more years and then ended in divorce, Agatha had received custody of Rosalind. After the divorce, Agatha goes to southern Iraq to join an archaeological dig.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) was a most popular detective story written. Archie Christie had worked in the city and has fallen in love with another woman named Nancy Neele, and asks Agatha for a divorce. On December 8, after hearing that her beloved mother had passed away and learns of her husband’s affair, suddenly Agatha disappears. The disappearance became a mystery to all of England to what happened to the famous crime writer that was missing for ten days. On the morning of her disappearance, she and her husband had an argument and she leaves a letter for him and one for her secretary to cancel all her engagements.
Three weeks later, Christie is found at the Harrogate Hydropathtic Hotel where she explains to the police that she had lost her memory. She had mistaken her husband for her brother and was diagnosed from suffering an unquestionable loss of memory. She claimed it was because of her mother’s death and other problems. The police had believed that Agatha was mentally distraught and was filled with revenge and misery, and perhaps would want to teach her husband a lesson. Archibald had addmitted to having an affair, and the dissapearance was consider to have been a publicity stunt that caused the taxpayers an substanial amount of money.
Agatha finds happiness with another man Max Mallowan, a young archaeologist that she met on a trip to Mesopotamia. She accompanied him mostly on trips around the Middle East but was mainly seasick on most of her travels. They marry and the marriage was happy in the earlier years, although Mallowan had many affairs later on. Agatha had once told reporters that “An archaeologist is the best husband any woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her.” Agatha writes a play AKHNATON, based on the Egyptian pharaoh Akhnaton who replaces the old gods with monotheism, and Nefertiti his wife. The play had not been published until 1973 and was produced in 1979.
During the second World War, Max is stationed in Tripolitania. Agatha lived in London serving as dispenser in London at the University College Hospital. Her daughter Rosalind then marries Huber deBurgh Prichard. Christie’s grandson Matthew is born and at this time Rosalind was widowed and then later married Anthony Hicks.
Her short story called Three Blind Mice was aired on the radio. Then adapted to a stage play The Mousetrap. The stage play held the world record for the longest run ever in London, opening at the Ambassadors Theater on November 25, 1952; it is today’s runniest longest performances. In 1955, Agatha receives the first Mystery Writers of America highest honor and the Grand Master Award. Witness for the Prosecution was given an Edgar Award by the MWA for best play. Christie had become a limited company, Agatha Christie Ltd, which was acquired in the late 1960’s by Booker Books, and as well as Ian Fleming. She had also won the Commander of the Order of the British Empire decoration in 1956.
Agatha is awarded the high honor of becoming a Dame of the British Empire. She then experiences heart trouble that she had to take bed rest. Once again she had a recurrence of heart trouble. She gives her last interview to Lord Snowdan, explaining she wanted to be remembered as a good writer of detective and thriller books. On January 12, 1976 Agatha Christie dies at the age of 85 of natural causes at Winterbrook House near Wallingford, Oxforshire, and is buried at St. Mary’s Churchyard in Cholsey, Oxon.
All royalties were left to the grandson of Agatha Christie. Two novels that Christie purposely wanted to write after her death were two great detective novels featuring Poirot and Miss Marple that were called the Curtain and Sleeping Murder. In her diary, she described Poirot as insufferable and a great fondness for Miss Marple that was based on her grandmother. The success of Curtain and Sleeping murder was released, there were numerous novels using the name of her first husband Archibald Christie. The Guinness Book of World Records claimed her the best-selling author of all-time and second to William Shakespeare.
She exemplifies the comfortable form of mystery fiction that became favored in the Golden Age of fiction in England during the 1920’s and 1930’s. One of the most notable female crime writers in history who has sold over two billion copies of her books in English and 103 languages, also the best-selling author in France. Sixty-six novels, numerous short stories and screenplays, and a series of romantic novels have been adapted for film, television, and radio. Two of her utmost ones are featuring Poirot and Miss Marple that continue to reach audiences worldwide. Showing the audience the prolonged relevance of the evils of human nature, which speaks to modern society for generation of mystery lovers to follow.
In The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Hercule Poirot a retired Belgium police officer, 30 novels featuring Poirot among those popular were The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926), Murder on the Orient Express (1934), and Death on the Nile (1937). Murder at the Vicarage is Miss Jane Marple, an elderly woman detective who is intrigued by the fashion of crime. The characters in Christie’s fiction are always of the English wealthy class that experience murder after murder. The villains carefully plan their murders without the possibility of getting caught. There is always a logical explanation on the crime, after it has been solved there’s a story happily ever after.