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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Agatha Christie

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Torquay, Devon on September 15, 1890.

Agatha was privately educated at home via a mixture of tutors and “Nursie,” her nanny.

When Agatha was 11, her father died of a heart attack and she was sent to Miss Guyer’s School in Torquay.

Agatha Christie as a girl, date unknown

Agatha went to a finishing school in Paris where her mother hoped her daughter would become an opera singer. Although good at singing, Agatha suffered from stage fright, which prevented her from publicly performing.

She married Archibald Christie in 1914. According to Agatha, he had “crisp curly hair” and “a rather interesting nose”.

Christie worked at a hospital dispensary between 1915 and 1918 in Torquay, south-west England. She acquired there an extensive knowledge of poisons, which she later used in her detective novels.

Christie published her first detective novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in 1920.

Chrisie vanished in 1926 when her marriage was failing. She was found ten days later in Harrogate, Yorkshire.

Hercule Poirot was introduced in 1920. By 1930, Christie wrote in her diary that she found Poirot "insufferable" She only kept writing books about his adventures at the behest of her editors, because they sold so well.

Miss Marple was introduced in 1927. She is said to have been based on Agatha Christie’s grandmother and was named after the Cheshire railway station, Marple..

The idea for Penguin paperback books came to Sir Allen Lane after a weekend spent with Agatha Christie in Devon. He searched Exeter station’s bookstall for something to read on his journey but found only magazines and reprints of Victorian novels.

And Then There Were None was first published in 1939. It has sold 100 million copies making it the world's best-selling mystery novel.

Agatha Christie’s murder-mystery play The Mousetrap opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in London on November 25, 1952 starring Richard Attenborough and Sheila Sim. It is known for its twist ending, which the audience are traditionally asked not to reveal after leaving the theater. The play is the longest running West End show (of any type) ever.

Christie gave the royalties for The Mousetrap to her grandson Mathew Prichard for his ninth birthday in 1955, funding a trust he later set up to support opera, classical music and the visual arts in his native Wales.

St Martin's Theatre, London in March 2010. By Lisa - Wikipedia

39-year-old Agatha Christie married her second husband,  the 26-year-old archaeologist Max Mallowan on September 11, 1930. For the remaining 45 years of her life she was closely involved with her husband's archaeological activities.

Sir Max Mallowan was knighted in 1968, meaning Christie could be addressed as Lady Mallowan.

In 1971, Christie was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire, for her services to literature.

Christie died on January 12, 1976 at age 85 from natural causes at her Winterbrook House in the north of Cholsey parish, adjoining Wallingford in Oxfordshire (formerly part of Berkshire).

She is buried in the nearby churchyard of St Mary's, Cholsey. Her gravestone includes a quotation from Spenser’s Fairie Queen beginning "sleepe after toyle, port after stormie seas."

Agatha Christie posthumously saved a 12-year-old girl's life in 1977 by having written in one of her stories about a rare poison.  The authoress described the debilitating symptoms of thallium poisoning in her 1961 thriller The Pale Horse. That same poison was killing this girl in real life, and the doctors had no clue, but a nurse happened to be reading that story at the time.

Agatha Christie wrote 84 novels, 157 short stories and 19 plays in total.

Over four billion copies of her books have been sold world-wide. Her book sales are surpassed only by The Bible and by William Shakespeare.

Agatha Christie plaque -Torre Abbey.jpg: Violetriga
She is the all-time best-selling author in France, with over 40 million copies sold in French (as of 2003) versus 22 million for Émile Zola, the nearest contender.

Hercule Poirot is the only fictional character to have had an obituary in the New York Times.

Source Daily Express

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