Biography of Famous English Author Agatha Christie

About the famous English author Agatha Christie, history and biography of the writer.

Agatha Christie (1890- ). Except for Georges Simenon, Agatha Christie is the only writer of fiction whose works have sold over 300 million copies throughout the world. In the United Kingdom alone, just the paper-back editions of her books sell over 1.5 million copies a year. And her singular triumphs are not confined to the world of books. Her play The Mousetrap has enjoyed the longest continuous run of any show at one theater. On November 25, 1952, this melodrama opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in London, and it broke the record on February 28, 1972, with its 8,000th performance. Next to Shakespeare, Agatha Christie is the 2nd most-translated English author.

These staggering achievements have been made by a generally retiring woman who gets her best ideas while eating apples in her bathtub. Agatha Christie was born in Torquay, Devon, England. Her father, Frederick Alvah Miller of New York, died when she was very young, and she was reared by her mother and educated privately. It was her mother who encouraged her writing. One day young Agatha had a cold and could not go out. Her mother suggested that she amuse herself by writing a story. Later, she studied singing in Paris but was disappointed when she realized that her voice was not of star quality. To console herself Agatha Christie wrote a novel, which she showed to a literary neighbor, and he encouraged her to continue her efforts.

From time to time she was fortunate enough to have a short story published. However, her 1st great success did not come until after her marriage to an English army officer, Archibald Christie. While he was away fighting in W.W. I, she wrote a detective novel in her free time away from her work as a volunteer nurse. After many rejections, it was finally published in 1920 under the title The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The book was a success, and it introduced one of the greatest fictional sleuths of all time, Hercule Poirot, a worthy successor to Sherlock Holmes. Like Holmes, Poirot relies not on gimmickry but on what he calls the "little gray cells" to solve the crime. This clever Belgian is matched by Miss Jane Marple, another Christie creation, who deftly spots murderers by drawing on her knowledge of the people in her own small English village. People are the same everywhere, she says, and it is best to suspect the worst of everyone in a murder case.

In real life Agatha Christie herself was once the subject of a mystery. She disappeared from her home in December, 1926, and a nationwide search was launched for her. An anonymous letter brought her searchers to a hotel where they found her suffering from amnesia and living under the name of the woman who was to become her husband's 2nd wife. After her divorce, she subsequently met and married Max Mallowan, an archaeologist, whom she has accompanied on his expeditions to Egypt and the Near East. These excursions have often provided backgrounds for her novels.

Now in her middle 80s, she still writes at least one novel a year, adding to a total that matches her age. Her works offer murder in pleasant surroundings. She emphasizes plot and character and eschews violence for its own sake. Among her greatest triumphs are The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, a tale that brilliantly defied all the canons of detective fiction, and Ten Little Indians, also published as And Then There Were None. To the public and critics alike, she remains the world's greatest mystery writer.

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