Agatha Christie

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Dame Agatha Christie [pseudonym Mary Westmacott] (1890-1976), prolific English ‘Queen of Crime’ author of world-renown created such famous detectives as Hercule Poirot, the eccentric Belgian who relied on his keen grasp of logic to nab crooks;

“Crime is terribly revealing. Try and vary your methods as you will, your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul is revealed by your actions.”—Poirot, in The ABC Murders Ch. 17

and English spinster Miss Jane Marple (partly inspired by her maternal grandmother) who used her feminine intuition to solve crime. Her motto:

“The young people think the old people are fools, but the old people know the young people are fools.”

Some of Christie’s best-known works are The ABC Murders (1936), And Then There Were None [also known as Ten Little Indians] (1945), The Mousetrap (longest ever running stage play in London, first performed in 1952), Hickory Dickory Dock (1955), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), and Death on the Nile (1978). From her first novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920) “This affair must all be unravelled from within.” He tapped his forehead. “These little grey cells. It is ‘up to them’—as you say over here.” (Poirot, Ch. 10) to her last, Sleeping Murder (1976), Christie enjoyed a career that spanned over fifty years and her works have now sold into the billions. They have been translated to dozens of languages, inspired numerous other authors’ works, and have been adapted to radio, the stage, and film. As well as a writer of crime mysteries, she also read stories for BBC Radio, wrote non-fiction, romances, plays, and poetry.

Born in the family home Ashfield in Torquay, Devon, England on 15 September 1890, Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was the youngest of the three children born to Clarissa ‘Clara’ Margaret née Boehmer (1855-1926) and American Frederick Alvah Miller (1846-1901), who died when Agatha was just ten years old. The shy and sensitive Agatha, who was very close to her mother, had an older sister, Margaret ‘Madge’ (1879-1950) and brother Louis ‘Monty’ Montant (1880-1929). The family attended All Saint’s Church where Agatha was baptised. While she received no formal education, her mother and then governesses taught her at home to read before she entered finishing school in Paris, France in 1906. Having long been encouraged by her mother to write, Agatha continued to write there while also studying music (which became a life-long love), singing, and piano.

On 24 December 1914, at the age of twenty-four, Christie married Royal Flying Corps pilot Archie Christie, with whom she would have a daughter, Rosalind (1919-2004). During WWI Agatha worked as a nurse, tending to the ill and injured, many who were displaced Belgians. Their bewilderment and personal sorrows affected her deeply. She amassed a great deal of knowledge about sicknesses and poisons such as strychnine and ricin that she often featured in her novels. Around this time she also started writing her first novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles, an immediate best-seller. In 1926, profoundly grieving the death of her mother, Christie created some mystery of her own, disappearing for a time; when she was found she claimed that she had had a bout of amnesia.

In 1928, Archie divorced Agatha. She then set off on her first of many trips to the Middle East, travelling on the famed Orient Express from Calais, France to Baghdad, Iraq, then on to the ancient city of Ur in Mesopotamia. It was on her second trip there she met her future husband, archaeologist Sir Max Edgar Lucien Mallowan, (1904-1978). They were married in Scotland on 11 September 1930. She often accompanied him on digs as a member of the team, photographing and cataloguing finds. In 1960 Max was honoured as Commander of the British Empire (CBE) and in 1968 knighted for his archaeological work. Christie herself won many awards and honours in her life-time including; 1955, received the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master award; 1961, awarded an honorary degree from Exeter University; 1967, became president of The British Detection Club; and in 1971 she received England’s highest honor, the Order of the British Empire, Dame Commander.

In 1974 Christie appeared for the last time in public on opening night for her play Murder on the Orient Express. When she was not travelling the world, her and Max’s home in England was in the town of Wallingford, Oxfordshire, where she died peacefully on 12 January 1976. Max survived her by two years. They now rest together in the Parish Church cemetery of St. Mary’s in Cholsey, Oxfordshire.

“I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming that comes when you finish the life of the emotions and of personal relations; and suddenly you find—at the age of fifty, say—that a whole new life has opened before you, filled with things you can think about, study, or read about.... It is as if a fresh sap of ideas and thoughts was rising in you.”—An Autobiography (1977).

Partial list of Works by Agatha Christie:

Hercule Poirot:

The Murder on the Links (1923),
Poirot Investigates (1924),
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926),
The Big Four (1927),
The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928),
Peril at End House (1932),
Three Act Tragedy [also known as Murder in Three Acts] (1934),
Death in the Clouds (1935),
Murder in Mesopotamia (1936),
Murder in the Mews (1937),
Appointment with Death (1938),
Sad Cypress (1940),
Evil Under the Sun (1941),
Five Little Pigs (1942),
The Hollow (1946),
The Labours of Hercules (1947),
Mrs. McGinty’s Dead (1952),
After the Funeral (1953),
Dead Man’s Folly (1956),
Cat Among the Pigeons (1959),
Hallowe’en Party (dedicated to P. G. Wodehouse, 1969),
Elephants Can Remember (1972), and
Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case (1975).

Miss Marple:

The Murder at the Vicarage (1930),
The Thirteen Problems (1932),
The Body in the Library (1942),
The Moving Finger (1943),
A Murder Is Announced (1950),
They Do It with Mirrors (1952),
4.50 from Paddington (1957),
The Mirror Crack’d (1962),
A Caribbean Mystery (1964),
At Bertram’s Hotel (1965), and
Nemesis (1971).

As Mary Westmacott:

Unfinished Portrait (1934),
Absent in the Spring (1944),
The Rose and the Yew Tree (1948),
A Daughter’s a Daughter (1952), and
The Burden (1956).

Other Titles include:

The Man in the Brown Suit (1924),
The Road of Dreams (poetry collection, 1924),
plays The Alibi (1928) and Black Coffee (1930),
The Mysterious Mr. Quin (1930),
The Sittaford Mystery (1931),
The Floating Admiral (a collaboration with other authors including Gilbert Keith Chesterton, 1931),
Parker Pyne Investigates (1934),
Murder Is Easy (1939),
They Came to Baghdad (1951),
Destination Unknown (1954),
The Pale Horse (1961),
Star Over Bethlehem (poems and children’s stories, 1965),
Passenger to Frankfurt (1970),
Come, Tell Me How You Live: An Archaeological Memoir (non-fiction, 1976), and
Agatha Christie: An Autobiography (1977).

Biography written by C. D. Merriman for Jalic Inc. Copyright Jalic Inc. 2007. All Rights Reserved.

The above biography is copyrighted. Do not republish it without permission.

Recent Forum Posts on Agatha Christie

Anybody remember this story?

Hi everyone, I'm desperately trying to find a novel (or short story) by Agatha Christie. It is a locked room mystery where there is a gun shot up in the chimney by a rubber band or something similar. If anyone remembers this title, I'd be extremely grateful for it. I can't seem to find it anywhere and it's doing my head in :willy_nilly: Thanks a lot!

Agatha Christie documentary

Hi there, Agatha Christie fans might be interested in this documentary about going out on Irish radio - RTE Radio One - on Saturday 14th August.. Or you can podcast/ listen online on the documentary website:


What do you think about Gerda?

help: "and then there were none"

i want to read And then there were none by Agatha Christie but i don't know where to buy it i've already asked many bokstores if they have a copy of the book does any one know where i can find this book?? a sales lady told me it has another title, does anyone know it's other title??

Will Someone Let The Woman Speak?

There are drastic differences in punctuation, word choices, and scene breaks between the Harper Collins editions and the Dodd Mead editions of Agatha Christie's works. There are further differences between the Dodd Mead editions republished by Random House/Avenel and the Dodd Mead editions republished by Simon & Shuster/Pocket. For every publishing house putting out her works, there seem to be a new batch of editors altering Agatha Christie’s words and the sound of her voice—and, no, I’m not referring only to AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. What’s the matter with these publishers? Whose voice do they think we want to hear when we sit down to a novel by Agatha Christie? And what will she sound like twenty years from now? It’s frightening that her estate has failed to see the importance of guarding her words as she wrote them. Please tell me I’m not the only one here who senses that a crime has been committed.

One of Agatha's fan...

I have recently come across a book written by someone called Anne Hart. The book is titled THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HERCULE POIROT.It sketches the whole biography of our favourite Belgian detective.The book,unfortunately,fails to invoke interest but might be a fascinating read for Poirot's fans who can read almost everything related to him. If you have read books by Anne Hart(I think there is another one on Miss Marple too),what is your opinion about them?

The genre that just won't die

Comics are to be Hercule Poirot's latest incarnation. It's the latest twist to crime fiction, a genre constantly reinvented in its 170-year history. When a story has been told and retold many times, it can wear a little threadbare. So it is with the murder mysteries penned by the original queen of crime, Agatha Christie, now associated with the genteel, sepia-tinged glow of a cosy Sunday in front of the telly. AGATHA CHRISTIE 15 Sept 1890 - 12 Jan 1976 First novel - featuring Poirot - published in 1920 66 novels, 154 short stories and 20 plays in 50-year career Outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare Translated into 70+ languages Cosies - that is what such tales are known as in the crime-writing trade. But to her fans, Christie wrote about far more than murder most horrid in the drawing room. Hers are timeless stories filled with tension and deceit, not to mention richly-detailed portraits of a bygone age. And these make her tales perfect comic book fodder, which is why her publishers of 70 years, HarperCollins, hope that Hercule Poirot et al will appeal to the same young readers who for generations have lapped up the exploits of TinTin, Asterix and more recent heroes of graphic novels - readers who might otherwise be put off the Christie cannon by dated TV repeats. For those who prefer to use their imagination, 12 Christie novels are being given a facelift with new jackets, just six years after the last revamp. For unlike many of her contemporaries, Christie has never been out of print. "She's an incredibly important author for us," says Julia Wisdom, HarperFiction's publishing director in charge of crime titles. "They are still very good stories and very clever. And she translates beautifully into any language - the stories are just there, they are not difficult to put across." IN THE PAPERBACK CHARTS * indicates crime title *1. The Savage Garden, Mark Mills *2. Next, Michael Crichton 3. The House at Riverton, Kate Morton 4. The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards *5. The Naming of the Dead, Ian Rankin 6. Getting Rid of Matthew, Jane Fallon *7. Relentless, Simon Kernick *8. The Last Testament, Sam Bourne 9. A Spot of Bother, Mark Haddon 10. Whitethorn Woods, Maeve Binchy Crime fiction in general is a strong source of sales - five of the top 10 selling paperbacks are thriller titles; two are literary chillers on the Richard and Judy reading list, two are by perennial best-selling authors (Michael Crichton and Ian Rankin) and The Last Testament is a chase mystery, a genre made popular again by The da Vinci Code. "We've also got Val McDermid in the hardback chart with a psychological thriller - quite violent, a lot of forensic detail and she's been televised with Wire in the Blood, which always lifts sales," says Ms Wisdom. McDermid's latest, Beneath the Bleeding, is one of six thrillers in the hardback top 10. "These are very different books, and that's the key to why crime has endured - it's so adaptable, it will never go stale." Locked room While Sherlock Holmes remains one of the world's most famous fictional detectives 120 years after his first appearance, he was by no means the first. In 1841, Edgar Allen Poe wrote a short story titled The Murders in the Rue Morgue. Mystery and suspense had been a staple of fiction long before this - Lynda "Prime Suspect" LaPlante is among those to credit novelists such as the Brontes and Jane Austen as skilled thriller writers - but this was the first "tale of rationation", as Poe described it, in which a fictional detective solved a crime. What Arthur Conan Doyle did some 45 years later was to capture the public's imagination with a flawed central character using the latest techniques to puzzle out a mystery. It is a template that remains popular today, with Holmes's "deductive reasoning" replaced by psychological profiling and forensic technology. And like Holmes, Poirot, Miss Marple and Poe's detective, C Auguste Dupin, reappeared in story after a story. "Best-sellers are always those in a series," says Ms Wisdom. "It's perfect reading for a lot of people - they just love to see a familiar character develop a personal life, happy or unhappy." In the 1980s crime writing began to splinter in all directions. Umberto Eco produced In the Name of the Rose, single-handedly creating a whole new genre of literary historical thriller - and crime writing in translation - and Ruth Rendell, writing as Barbara Vine, invented the one-off psychological thriller with A Dark-Adapted Eye in 1986. Then came books which shifted the action to the forensics lab, largely due to Patricia Cornwall, whose insider knowledge of forensic science provides the visceral veracity popular with crime readers. Gone are the days when women provided virtually gore-free chillers, while men penned the darker stuff. Today women write more than half of all crime novels, a genre read by a predominantly female audience. ...


i haven't read all of her works but i love all those i have read. everyone plzz tell me which novel/story of agatha's is ur own favourite. personally, i like 'The Pale Horse' (novel) and 'The Witness for The Prosecution' ( story)

Agatha as Mary Westmacott

Has anyone read Christie's works under the pseudonym Westmacott? They aren't mysteries but rather are angsty heartwrenching novels that are semi-autobiographical in that they express how she felt about certain aspects in her life.

Agatha's masterpieces on TV

Hello Agatha fans! I know that this is not a forum to post this thread, but we need all support that we can get. I am sure that a lot of you have heard about David Suchet and his famous acting as Hercule Poirot. Almost all of the books with Poirot have been filmed... Almost... Still 12 is missing... So, there are no founds to keep filming the missing 12 books and the TV company decided to cut the expenses and finish the project. So sad :bawling: The next books are missing: The Big Four Murder on the Orient Express Three-Act Tragedy Appointment with Death Mrs McGinty's Dead Dead Man's Folly Cat Among The Pigeons The Clocks Third Girl Hallowe'en Party Elephants Can Remember Curtain The Labors of Hercules (Short Story Collection) The Lemesurier Inheritance (Short Story) A group of fans have created the next online petition to keep filming Poirot with Suchet. You can go to the next link and see people all around the world signing... Please, if you can spare a 5 minutes of your time, do sign the petition. Also, if there is a chance to resend this message to everybody you know that will support us, do so. We fans of the Poirot on TV appreciate your help. P.D. I do appologise for my bad English, it is not my native language.

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