Agatha Christie was born on September 15, 1890, as Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller. She was born in Torquay, England. Despite a New Yorker father, Agatha never claimed American citizenship.
Agatha had two siblings; a sister called Margaret Frary Miller or Madge and a brother called Louis Montant. On the Christmas Eve of 1914, Agatha married an aviator, Archibald Christie. They had one daughter named Rosalind Hicks. On discovering her husband's extramarital affair, she divorced him in 1928.
Life and Works
In 1920, Agatha Christie published her first novel, 'The Mysterious Affair at Styles'. She was introduced to the concept of murder by poison, which she used in many murder mysteries, during her tenure at a pharmacy.
Her disappearance in 1926 and a note mentioning Yorkshire as her destination brought on public outcry against her husband, who was by now living with his mistress, Nancy Neele.
Eleven days later, Cristie was discovered as Mrs Teresa Neele at the Swan Hydropathic Hotel, Harrogate, Yorkshire. She never succumbed under pressure to reveal the true account of her disappearance.
There was a double diagnosis of amnesia and depression. While many believed that this was just a publicity stunt, fans remained loyal, urging her to write more. Four years later, in 1930, Agatha Christie married Max Mallowan, an archaeologist.
Her extensive travel with Mallowan enriched the backdrops of many novels, such as 'And Then There Were None', 'Murder on the Orient Express', 'The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding' and 'After the Funeral'. She flaunted the country life she so loved and kept the grandeur and servants in all her plots.
She was the 1956 recipient of the Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She also served as President of Detection Club and was made the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1971.
Between 1971 to 1974, her health deteriorated tremendously. Continuing to write, she signed over the rights of 'The Mousetrap', in1975, to her grandson. Agatha Christie died of natural causes on January 12, 1976.
She is buried in Cholsey, at St. Mary's Churchyard. Mathew Prichard, Christie's grandson, remains heir to the copyrights to her literary work. The characters of Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple still captivate the reader and justify her title as 'Queen of Crime'.
Awards and Recognition
Christie shares the Guinness Book of World Record title of 'Best-selling Writer', with none other than William Shakespeare. Records have it that the Bible is the only other book to have sold more copies than her books!
Posthumously, she holds the UNESCO record for 'Author of Most Translated Works', with translations surpassing at least 55 languages, world wide. 'The Mousetrap' enjoys a world record of 'Longest Initial Run', at the Ambassadors Theater, London, with over 23,000 performances.
The biography of Agatha Christie also highlights that she was the first recipient of Grand Master Award, by the Mystery Writers of America Association. She also earned an Edgar Award by MWA for 'Witness for the Prosecution', in the 'Best Play' category.
Most of her works have hit the big screen and viewed many times over, especially 'Murder on the Orient Express', '4.50 From Paddington' and 'Death on the Nile'. Her plays and filmed versions are adapted for radio, television, comics, and even video games.
Her other popular novels include:
- The Tuesday Night Club
- Curtain Sleeping Murder
- The Murder at the Vicarage
- Death Comes as the End
- Ten Little Indians
- The Unexpected Guest
- Taken at the Flood