And Then There Were None: Biography: Agatha Christie

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Biography

Agatha Christie is generally recognized as the most famous mystery writer in the world and has sold over two billion books. She was born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller in Torquay, England in 1890, to a British mother and an American father. She was home schooled by a governess and various tutors. She married Colonel Archibald Christie, a World War I fighter pilot, in 1914. The marriage produced one daughter, Rosalind; however, it wasn't successful, and the couple divorced in 1928. During a particularly turbulent time surrounding the death of her mother and the divorce of her husband, Christie "disappeared" for several weeks, an event that captivated the English public. When she was eventually found, Christie claimed amnesia and never openly spoke of the event. During World War I, Christie was employed in a hospital and a pharmacy. No doubt she drew from these experiences for her mysteries, which often involve medications and poisoning. In 1930, Christie married a second time, this time to Sir Max Mallowan, an archaeologist.

Christie was a prolific writer, producing nearly eighty novels, as well as a number of plays and short stories. She is lauded for creating two highly popular detectives: Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple. Poirot is a Belgian detective with a sensitive stomach and a penchant for punctuality. To the casual observer, Miss Marple is a primly dressed, incessantly knitting spinster; however, her keen powers of logic and observation allow her to outdo the so-called professionals. Christie's famous novels include Murder on the Orient Express (1934), Death on the Nile (1936), Appointment with Death (1938), And Then There Were None (1939), and By the Pricking of My Thumbs (1968). Her most famous play, The Mouse Trap, began as a radio play. It is a murder mystery in which a clever detective attempts to set a trap for a murderer. The play opened in London in 1952 and continues to this day. Christie also wrote six romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmaycott; she also penned several works of nonfiction, including an account of an archaeological expedition she undertook with her second husband.

In 1971, Christie was bestowed the Order of Dame Commander of the British Empire, Britain's highest honor; for this reason she is often referred to as Dame Agatha Christie.

Christie died of natural causes in England in 1976, at age 85.

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