Agatha Christie was a mystery writer who was one of the world’s top-selling authors with works like Murder on the Orient Express and The Mystery of the Blue Train.
“People often ask me what made me take up writing … I found myself making up stories and acting the different parts. There’s nothing like boredom to make you write”
– Agatha Christie
Born on September 15, 1890, in Torquay, England, Agatha Christie published her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in 1920, and went on to become one of the most famous writers in history, with mysteries like Murder at the Vicarage, Partners in Crime and Sad Cypress. She sold billions of copies of her work, and was also a noted playwright and romance author.
She was born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller on September 15, 1890, in Torquay, Devon. The youngest of three siblings, she was educated at home by her mother, who encouraged her daughter to write. As a child, Christie enjoyed fantasy play and creating characters, and, when she was 16, moved to Paris for a time to study vocals and piano.
In 1914, she wed Colonel Archibald Christie, a Royal Flying Corps pilot, and took up nursing during World War I. She published her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in 1920; the story focused on the murder of a rich heiress and introduced readers to one of Christie’s most famous characters – Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.
In 1926, Christie released The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, a hit which was later marked as a genre classic and one of the author’s all-time favorites. She dealt with upheaval that same year, however, as her mother died and her husband revealed that he cheating on her. Traumatized by the news, Christie disappeared only to be discovered by authorities several days later at a Harrogate hotel, registered under the name of her husband’s mistress.
Christie recovered, divorcing her husband Archibald 1928. Two years later, she married archaeology professor Max Mallowan, with whom she travelled on several expeditions, later recounting her trips in the 1946 memoir Come, Tell Me How You Live. The year of her second marriage also saw the release of Murder at the Vicarage, which became another classic and introduced readers to Miss Jane Marple, an enquiring village lady and future staple of the detective genre.
Poirot and Marple are Christie’s most famous detectives, with the two featured in dozens of novels and short stories. Poirot made the most appearances in Christie’s work in titles that included Ackroyd, The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928) and Death in the Clouds (1935). Miss Marple has been featured in books like The Moving Finger (1942) and A Pocket Full of Rye (1953), and been played on screen by actresses like Angela Lansbury, Helen Hayes and Geraldine McEwan. Other notable Christie characters include Tuppence and Tommy Beresford, Colonel Race, Parker Pyne and Ariadne Oliver.