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What is Agatha Christie known for?

How did agatha christie begin writing detective fiction, what are agatha christie’s most famous works, did agatha christie disappear.

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Agatha Christie

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Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie was an English detective novelist and playwright. She wrote some 75 novels, including 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections. Christie is perhaps the world’s most famous mystery writer and is one of the best-selling novelists of all time. Her works are reportedly outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible .

Agatha Christie began writing detective fiction while working as a nurse during World War I (1914–18). She began her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles , in 1916 and published it after the end of the war, in 1920. The novel introduced Hercule Poirot , one of Christie’s most enduring characters.

Agatha Christie’s most famous novels include And Then There Were None (1939), Murder on the Orient Express (1933), and The ABC Murders (1936). Her novels have sold more than 100 million copies and have been translated into some 100 languages. Many of Christie’s works have been adapted for television and film.

After her husband, Col. Archibald Christie, asked for a divorce, Agatha Christie mysteriously disappeared for nearly two weeks. On December 4, 1926, her car was found abandoned on a roadside. It was reported that she committed suicide. Detectives turned to her manuscripts for clues. Eventually, Christie was found alive at a spa in Yorkshire, England.

Agatha Christie , in full Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, née Miller , (born September 15, 1890, Torquay, Devon , England—died January 12, 1976, Wallingford, Oxfordshire), English detective novelist and playwright whose books have sold more than 100 million copies and have been translated into some 100 languages.

Agatha Christie

Educated at home by her mother, Christie began writing detective fiction while working as a nurse during World War I . Her first novel , The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920), introduced Hercule Poirot , her eccentric and egotistic Belgian detective; Poirot reappeared in about 25 novels and many short stories before returning to Styles, where, in Curtain (1975), he died. The elderly spinster Miss Jane Marple , her other principal detective figure, first appeared in Murder at the Vicarage (1930). Christie’s first major recognition came with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926), which was followed by some 75 novels that usually made best-seller lists and were serialized in popular magazines in England and the United States .

British actor Basil Rathbone, as Detective Sherlock Holmes who he portrayed in several movies based on the detective created by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Christie’s plays included The Mousetrap (1952), which set a world record for the longest continuous run at one theatre (8,862 performances—more than 21 years—at the Ambassadors Theatre, London) before moving in 1974 to St Martin’s Theatre, where it continued without a break until the COVID-19 pandemic closed theatres in 2020, by which time it had surpassed 28,200 performances; and Witness for the Prosecution (1953), which, like many of her works, was adapted into a successful film (1957). Other notable film adaptations included And Then There Were None (1939; film 1945), Murder on the Orient Express (1933; film 1974 and 2017), Death on the Nile (1937; film 1978), and The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side (1952; film [ The Mirror Crack’d ] 1980). Her works were also adapted for television.

In 1926 Christie’s mother died, and her husband, Colonel Archibald Christie, requested a divorce. In a move she never fully explained, Christie disappeared and, after several highly publicized days, was discovered registered in a hotel under the name of the woman her husband wished to marry. In 1930 Christie married the archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan; thereafter she spent several months each year on expeditions in Iraq and Syria with him. She also wrote romantic nondetective novels, such as Absent in the Spring (1944), under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. Her Autobiography (1977) appeared posthumously. She was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1971.

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie


Who Was Agatha Christie?

Best-selling author 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.

Early Life and Background

Christie was born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller on September 15, 1890, in Torquay, Devon, in the southwest part of England. 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, she 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.

Books and Disappearance

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 tumult that same year, however, as her mother died and her husband revealed that he was in a relationship with another woman. Traumatized by the revelation, 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 would recover, with her and Archibald divorcing in 1928. In 1930, she married archaeology professor Max Mallowan, with whom she traveled on several expeditions, later recounting her trips in the 1946 memoir Come, Tell Me How You Live . The year of her new nuptials also saw the release of Murder at the Vicarage , which became another classic and introduced readers to Miss Jane Marple, an enquiring village lady.

Cast of Characters

Poirot and Marple are Christie's most well-known 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.

Later Life and Death

Writing well into her later years, Christie wrote more than 70 detective novels as well as short fiction. Though she also wrote romance novels like Unfinished Portrait (1934) and A Daughter's a Daughter (1952) under the name Mary Westmacott, Christie's success as an author of sleuth stories has earned her titles like the "Queen of Crime" and the "Queen of Mystery." Christie can also be considered a queen of all publishing genres as she is one of the top-selling authors in history, with her combined works selling more than 2 billion copies worldwide.

Christie was a renowned playwright as well, with works like The Hollow (1951) and Verdict (1958). Her play The Mousetrap opened in 1952 at the Ambassador Theatre and—at more than 8,800 showings during 21 years—holds the record for the longest unbroken run in a London theater. Additionally, several of Christie's works have become popular movies, including Murder on the Orient Express (1974) and Death on the Nile (1978).

Christie was made a dame in 1971. In 1974, she made her last public appearance for the opening night of the play version of Murder on the Orient Express . Christie died on January 12, 1976.



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Biography of Agatha Christie, English Mystery Writer

The best-selling author of all time

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a biography of agatha christie

Agatha Christie (September 15, 1890 – January 12, 1976) was an English mystery author. After working as a nurse during World War I , she became a successful writer, thanks to her Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple mystery series. Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time, as well as the most-translated individual author of all time.

Fast Facts: Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie was the youngest of three children born to Frederick Alvah Miller and his wife, Clara Boehmer, a well-off upper-middle-class couple. Miller was the American-born son of a dry goods merchant whose second wife, Margaret, was Boehmer’s aunt. They settled in Torquay, Devon, and had two children before Agatha. Their oldest child, a daughter named Madge (short for Margaret) was born in 1879, and their son, Louis (who went by “Monty”), was born in Morristown, New Jersey, during an 1880 visit to the United States. Agatha, like her sister, was born in Torquay, ten years after her brother.

By most accounts, Christie’s childhood was a happy and fulfilling one. Along with her immediate family, she spent time with Margaret Miller (her mother’s aunt/father’s stepmother) and her maternal grandmother, Mary Boehmer. The family held an eclectic set of beliefs—including the idea that Christie’s mother Clara had psychic abilities—and Christie herself was homeschooled, with her parents teaching her reading, writing, math, and music. Although Christie’s mother wanted to wait until she was eight to begin teaching her to read, Christie essentially taught herself to read much earlier and became a passionate reader from a very young age. Her favorites included the work of children’s authors Edith Nesbit and Mrs. Molesworth, and, later, Lewis Carroll .

Because of her homeschooling, Christie didn’t have as much of an opportunity to form close friendships with other children in the first decade of her life. In 1901, her father died from chronic kidney disease and pneumonia after being in failing health for some time. The following year, she was sent to a regular school for the first time. Christie was enrolled at Miss Guyer's Girls' School in Torquay, but after years of a less-structured educational atmosphere at home, she found it hard to adjust. She was sent to Paris in 1905, where she attended a series of boarding and finishing schools.

Travel, Marriage, and World War I Experience

Christie returned to England in 1910, and, with her mother’s health failing, decided to move to Cairo in hopes that a warmer climate might help her health. She visited monuments and attended social events; the ancient world and archaeology would play a role in some of her later writings. Eventually, they returned to England, just as Europe was drawing nearer to a full-scale conflict .

As an apparently popular and charming young woman, Christie’s social and romantic life expanded considerably. She reportedly had several short-lived romances, as well as an engagement that was soon called off. In 1913, she met Archibald “Archie” Christie at a dance. He was the son of a lawyer in the Indian Civil Service and an army officer who eventually joined the Royal Flying Corps. They fell in love quickly and married on Christmas Eve, 1914.

a biography of agatha christie

World War I had begun a few months before their marriage, and Archie was sent to France. In fact, their wedding took place when he was home on leave after being away for months. While he was serving in France, Christie worked back at home as a member of the Voluntary Aid Detachment. She worked for over 3,400 hours at the Red Cross hospital in Torquay, first as a nurse, then as a dispenser once she qualified as an apothecary’s assistant. During this time, she encountered refugees, particularly Belgians, and those experiences would stay with her and inspire some of her early writing, including her famous Poirot novels.

Fortunately for the young couple, Archie survived his stint abroad and actually rose through the military ranks. In 1918, he was sent back to England as a colonel in the Air Ministry, and Christie ceased her VAD work. They settled in Westminster, and after the war, her husband left the military and began working in London’s financial world. The Christies welcomed their first child, Rosalind Margaret Clarissa Christie, in August 1919.

Pseudonym Submissions and Poirot (1912-1926)

Before the war, Christie wrote her first novel, Snow Upon the Desert , set in Cairo. The novel was summarily rejected by all the publishers she sent it to, but writer Eden Philpotts, a family friend, put her in touch with his agent, who rejected Snow Upon the Desert but encouraged her to write a new novel. During this time, Christie also wrote a handful of short stories, including “The House of Beauty,” “The Call of Wings,” and “The Little Lonely God.” These early stories, which were written early in her career but not published until decades later, were all submitted (and rejected) under various pseudonyms.

As a reader, Christie had been a fan of detective novels for some time, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. In 1916, she began working on her first mystery novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles . It was not published until 1920, after several failed submissions and, eventually, a publishing contract that required her to change the ending of the novel and that she later called exploitative. The novel was the first appearance of what would become one of her most iconic characters: Hercule Poirot , a former Belgian police officer who had fled to England when Germany invaded Belgium. Her experiences working with Belgian refugees during the war inspired the creation of this character.

Over the next few years, Christie wrote more mystery novels, including a continuation of the Poirot series. In fact, over the course of her career, she would write 33 novels and 54 short stories featuring the character. In between working on the popular Poirot novels, Christie also published a different mystery novel in 1922, titled The Secret Adversary , which introduced a lesser-known character duo, Tommy and Tuppence. She also wrote short stories, many on commission from Sketch magazine.

a biography of agatha christie

It was in 1926 that the strangest moment in Christie’s life occurred: her infamous brief disappearance. That year, her husband asked for a divorce and revealed he’d fallen in love with a woman named Nancy Neele. On the evening of December 3, Christie and her husband argued, and she disappeared that night. After nearly two weeks of public furor and confusion, she was found at the Swan Hydropathic Hotel on December 11, then left for her sister’s home soon after. Christie’s autobiography ignores this incident, and to this day, the actual reasons for her disappearance remain unknown. At the time, the public largely suspected that it was either a publicity stunt or an attempt to frame her husband, but the real reasons remain forever unknown and the subject of much speculation and debate.

Introducing Miss Marple (1927-1939)

In 1932, Christie published the short story collection The Thirteen Problems . In it, she introduced the character of Miss Jane Marple, a sharp-witted elderly spinster (who was somewhat based on Christie’s great-aunt Margaret Miller) who became another of her iconic characters. Although Miss Marple would not take off quite as quickly as Poirot did, she was eventually featured in 12 novels and 20 short stories; Christie reputedly preferred writing about Marple, but wrote more Poirot stories to meet public demand.

The following year, Christie filed for divorce, which was finalized in October 1928. While her now-ex husband almost immediately married his mistress, Christie left England for the Middle East, where she befriended archaeologist Leonard Woolley and his wife Katharine, who invited her along on their expeditions. In February 1930, she met Max Edgar Lucien Mallowan, a young archaeologist 13 years her junior who took her and her group on a tour of his expedition site in Iraq. The two fell in love quickly and married just seven months later in September 1930.

a biography of agatha christie

Christie often accompanied her husband on his expeditions, and the locations they visited frequently provided inspiration or a setting for her stories. During the 1930s, Christie published some of her best-known works, including her 1934 Poirot novel Murder on the Orient Express . In 1939, she published And Then There Were None , which remains, to this day, the best-selling mystery novel in the world. Christie later adapted her own novel for the stage in 1943.

World War II and Later Mysteries (1940-1976)

The breakout of World War II did not stop Christie from writing, although she split her time working at a pharmacy at University College Hospital in London. As a matter of fact, her pharmacy work ended up benefitting her writing, as she learned more about chemical compounds and poisons that she was able to use in her novels. Her 1941 novel N or M? briefly placed Christie under suspicion from MI5 because she named a character Major Bletchley, the same name as a top-secret codebreaking operation’s location. As it turned out, she had simply been stuck nearby on a train and, in frustration, gave the place’s name to an unlikeable character. During the war, she also wrote Curtains and Sleeping Murder , intended as the last novels for Poirot and Miss Marple, but the manuscripts were sealed away until the end of her life.

Christie continued writing prolifically in the decades after the war. By the late 1950s, she was reportedly earning around ₤100,000 per year. This era included one of her most famous plays , The Mousetrap , which famously features a twist ending (subverting the usual formula found in most of Christie’s works) that audiences are asked to not reveal when they leave the theater. It is the longest-running play in history and has been running continuously on the West End in London since its debut in 1952.

a biography of agatha christie

Christie continued writing her Poirot novels, despite growing increasingly tired of the character. Despite her personal feelings, though, she, unlike fellow mystery writer Arthur Conan Doyle , refused to kill off the character because of how beloved he was by the public. However, 1969’s Hallowe’en Party marked her final Poirot novel (although he did appear in short stories for a few more years) aside from Curtains , which was published in 1975 as her health declined and it became increasingly likely that she would write no more novels.

Literary Themes and Styles

One subject that frequently appeared in Christie’s novels was the topic of archaeology—no real surprise, given her own personal interest in the field. After marrying Mallowan, who spent large amounts of time on archaeological expeditions, she often accompanied him on trips and assisted with some of the preservation, restoration, and cataloging work. Her fascination with archaeology—and, specifically, with the ancient Middle East —came to play a major role in her writings, providing everything from settings to details and plot points.

In some ways, Christie perfected what we now consider the classic mystery novel structure . There is a crime—usually a murder—committed at the beginning, with several suspects who all are concealing secrets of their own. A detective slowly unravels these secrets, with several red herrings and complicating twists along the way. Then, at the end, he gathers all the suspects (that is, the ones who are still alive), and gradually reveals the culprit and the logic that led to this conclusion. In some of her stories, the culprits evade traditional justice (although adaptations, many subject to censors and morality codes, sometimes changed this). Most of Christie’s mysteries follow this style, with a few variations.

a biography of agatha christie

In hindsight, some of Christie’s works embraced racial and cultural stereotypes to an occasionally uncomfortable degree, particularly with regard to Jewish characters. That being said, she did often portray “outsiders” as potential victims at the hands of British villains, rather than placing them into the roles of villain. Americans, too, are the subject of some stereotypes and ribbing, but overall do not suffer from wholly negative portrayals.

By the early 1970s, Christie’s health began to fade, but she kept writing. Modern, experimental textual analysis suggests that she may have begun suffering from age-related neurological issues, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. She spent her later years living a quiet life, enjoying hobbies such as gardening, but continuing to write until the last years of her life.

Agatha Christie died of natural causes at age 85 on January 12, 1976, at her home in Wallington, Oxfordshire. Before her death, she made burial plans with her husband and was buried in the plot they purchased in the churchyard of St. Mary's, Cholsey. Sir Max survived her by about two years and was buried beside her upon his death in 1978. Her funeral attendees included reporters from around the world, and wreaths were sent by several organizations, including the cast of her play The Mousetrap .

Along with a few other authors, Christie’s writing came to define the classic “whodunit” mystery genre , which persists to this day. A large number of her stories have been adapted for film, television, theater, and radio over the years, which has kept her perpetually in popular culture. She remains the most popular novelist of all time.

Christie’s heirs continue to hold a minority stake in her company and estate. In 2013, the Christie family gave their "full backing" to the release of a new Poirot story, The Monogram Murders , which was written by British author Sophie Hannah. She later released two more books under the Christie umbrella, Closed Casket in 2016 and The Mystery of the Three Quarters in 2018.

a biography of agatha christie

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a biography of agatha christie

Agatha Christie

Overview (5), mini bio (1).

Agatha was born as "Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller" in 1890 to Frederick Alvah Miller and Clara Boehmer. Agatha was of American and British descent, her father being American and her mother British. Her father was a relatively affluent stockbroker. Agatha received home education from early childhood to when she turned 12-years-old in 1902. Her parents taught her how to read, write, perform arithmetic, and play music. Her father died in 1901. Agatha was sent to a girl's school in Torquay, Devon, where she studied from 1902 to 1905. She continued her education in Paris, France from 1905 to 1910. She then returned to her surviving family in England. As a young adult, Agatha aspired to be a writer and produced a number of unpublished short stories and novels. She submitted them to various publishers and literary magazines, but they were all rejected. Several of these unpublished works were later revised into more successful ones. While still in this point of her life, Agatha sought advise from professional writer Eden Phillpotts (1862-1960). Meanwhile she was searching for a suitable husband and in 1913 accepted a marriage proposal from military officer and pilot-in-training Archibald "Archie" Christie. They married in late 1914. Her married name became "Agatha Christie" and she used it for most of her literary works, including ones created decades following the end of her first marriage. During World War I, Archie Christie was send to fight in the war and Agatha joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment, a British voluntary unit providing field nursing services. She performed unpaid work as a volunteer nurse from 1914 to 1916. Then she was promoted to "apothecaries' assistant" (dispenser), a position which earned her a small salary until the end of the war. She ended her service in September, 1918. Agatha wrote "The Mysterious Affair at Styles", her debut novel ,in 1916, but was unable to find a publisher for it until 1920. The novel introduced her famous character Hercule Poirot and his supporting characters Inspector Japp and Arthur Hastings. The novel is set in World War I and is one of the few of her works which are connected to a specific time period. Following the end of World War I and their retirement from military life, Agatha and Archie Christie moved to London and settled into civilian life. Their only child Rosalind Margaret Clarissa Christie (1919-2004) was born early in the marriage. Agatha's debut novel was first published in 1920 and turned out to be a hit. It was soon followed by the successful novels "The Secret Adversary" (1922) and "Murder on the Links" (1923) and various short stories. Agatha soon became a celebrated writer. In 1926, Archie Christie announced to Agatha that he had a mistress and that he wanted a divorce. Agatha took it hard and mysteriously disappeared for a period of 10 days. After an extensive manhunt and much publicity, she was found living under a false name in Yorkshire. She had assumed the last name of Archie's mistress and claimed to have no memory of how she ended up there. The doctors who attended to her determined that she had amnesia. Despite various theories by multiple sources, these 10 days are the most mysterious chapter in Agatha's life. Agatha and Archie divorced in 1928, though she kept the last name Christie. She gained sole custody of her daughter Rosalind. In 1930, Agatha married her second (and last) husband Max Mallowan, a professional archaeologist. They would remain married until her death in 1976.Christie often used places that she was familiar with as settings for her novels and short stories. Her various travels with Max introduced her to locations of the Middle East, and provided inspiration for a number of novels. In 1934, Agatha and Max settled in Winterbrook, Oxfordshire, which served as their main residence until their respective deaths. During World War II, she served in the pharmacy at the University College Hospital, where she gained additional training about substances used for poisoning cases. She incorporated such knowledge for realistic details in her stories. She became a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1956 and a Dame Commander of the same order in 1971. Her husband was knighted in 1968. They are among the relatively few couples where both members have been honored for their work. Agatha continued writing until 1974, though her health problems affected her writing style. Her memory was problematic for several years and she had trouble remembering the details of her own work, even while she was writing it. Recent researches on her medical condition suggest that she was suffering from Alzheimer's disease or other dementia. She died of natural causes in early 1976.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Dimos I Ntikoudis

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Agatha Christie Biography

Agatha Christie

“One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is to have a happy childhood. I had a very happy childhood. I had a home and a garden that I loved; a wise and patient Nanny; as father and mother two people who loved each other dearly and made a success of their marriage and of parenthood.” A. Christie Autobiography

In 1905, she went to Paris where she was educated at finishing schools and hoped to become a singer, however, she realised that her voice was not strong enough to make it a career. She experimented with writing short novels, but not much came of it. She approached several publishers but, in the period before the First World War, received several rejections.

In 1914, Agatha Christie met Archibald Christie an aviator in the Royal Flying Corps – they married a few months after the outbreak of war in December 1914. They had a child, Rosalind in August 1919.

During the First World war, with her husband away in France, she trained and worked as a nurse helping to treat wounded soldiers. She also became educated in the field of pharmacy. She recalled her time as a nurse with great fondness, saying it was one of the most rewarding jobs she ever undertook.

Writing Career of Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie was first published in 1920. Her first book was The Mysterious Affair at Styles , (1920) which featured the detective – Hercule Poirot, who at the time was portrayed as a Belgian refugee from the Great War. Poirot is one of the most recognised fictional characters in English with his mixture of personal pride, broken English and immaculate appearance and moustache. The book sold reasonably well and helped meet the public’s great appetite for detective novels. It was a genre that had been popularised through Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories at the turn of the century. In 1926, she made her big breakthrough with the publication of “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.” This became a best-seller and made Christie famous as a writer.

Mysterious disappearance

“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly despairing, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” – Foreward to Autobiography


After the affair, with created negative publicity towards her, she travelled to the Canary Islands for recuperation. In 1930, she married her second husband, Max Mallowan. This marriage was happier, though her only child, Rosalind Hicks, came from her first marriage. Her second husband Max Mallowan was an archaeologist and she often accompanied him on trips to the Middle East. She learnt to help in archaeological digs, taking photographs and working on the sites. Christie paid her own way and tried to keep out of the limelight, working anonymously.

Writings of Agatha Christie


Agatha Christie preferred her other great detective – the quiet but effective old lady – Miss Marple, who used to solve crimes through her intricate knowledge of how people in English villages behave. The character of Miss Marple was based on the traditional English country lady – and her own relatives. In later life, she increasingly preferred Miss Marple to Poirot.

The plot of Agatha Christies novels could be described as formulaic. Murders were committed by ingenious methods – often involving poison, which Agatha Christie had great knowledge of. After interrogating all the main suspects, the detective would bring all the participants into some drawing-room before explaining who was the murderer. Her writing was quite clear and it is easy to get absorbed in the flow of the story. It also gave readers the chance to try and work out who the murderer was before it was revealed at the end.

Agatha Christie enjoyed writing. For her there was great satisfaction in creating plots and stories. She also wrote six novels in the genre of romance and suspense under a pseudonym – Mary Westmacott.

During the Second World War, Christie worked in the pharmacy of the University College London, which gave her ideas for some of her murder methods. After the war, her books continued to grow in international popularity. In 1952, her play The Mousetrap was debuted at the Ambassador’s Theatre in London and has been performed without a break ever since. Her success led to her being honoured in the New Year’s honour list. In 1971 she was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire.

Personal life

Agatha Christie loved embroidery, travelling and gardening – she won various horticultural prizes. She expressed a dislike of alcohol, smoking and the gramophone. She preferred to avoid the limelight and rarely gave public interviews. To some extent she hankered after the more idyllic days of Edwardian England she experienced in her childhood and was dubious about aspects of modern life.

“The quality of agreeableness is not much stressed nowadays. People tend to ask if a man is clever, industrious, if he contributes to the well-being of the community, if he ‘counts’ in the scheme of things.” -A. Christie, Part I of Autobiography

Religious views

Agatha Christie was baptised in the Anglican Church and remained a Christian throughout her life, though she went through periods of difficulty. She was very close to her mother, who was a practising Christian but also was willing to experiment in following practices of Catholocism and spiritualism. Agatha and her other siblings believed that her mother had a degree of psychic ability. Her own writings are not explicitly Christian, but generally have a theme of justice with the sinners unable to escape the consequences of their bad actions, and the moral universe restored. She kept her mother’s copy of “Imitation of Christ” by Thomas à Kempis – close to her bed. In her own autobiography, she writes about her own awareness and interest in the inner spiritual sense.

“We never know the whole man, though sometimes, in quick flashes, we know the true man. I think, myself, that one’s memories represent those moments which, insignificant as they may seem, nevertheless represent the inner self and oneself as most really oneself.” – A. Christie

She died in 1976 aged 85 from natural causes, though may have experienced some dementia in her final years.

Citation:  Pettinger, Tejvan . “Biography of Agatha Christie”, Oxford,  www.biographyonline.net Last updated 18 March 2020. Originally published 5 February 2013.

Agatha Christie – a biography

by Janet Morgan.

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Agatha Christie Biography

Born: September 15, 1890 Torquay, England Died: January 12, 1976 Wallingford, England English author and playwright

Agatha Christie was the best-selling mystery writer of all time. She wrote ninety-three books and seventeen plays, including the longest-running play of modern-day theater, The Mousetrap. She is the only mystery writer to have created two important detectives as characters, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.

Childhood and family

The daughter of an American father and a British mother, Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born at Torquay in the United Kingdom on September 15, 1890. Her family was comfortable, although not wealthy. She was educated at home, with later studies in Paris, France. Christie taught herself to read at five years old. She grew up in a family environment full of stories—from the dramatic, suspenseful tales her mother told her at bedtime to her elder sister's frightening creations. She began creating her own fictions, too, with the help of her nanny, her dolls, and her pets. In 1914 she was married to Colonel Archibald Christie, with whom she had one daughter.

Early characters

Agatha Christie. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

While writing in imitation of Conan Doyle, Christie experimented with many other versions of the sleuth, a term for a detective or solver of mysteries. Some of Christie's early sleuths included the married couple Tuppence and Tommy Beresford, whose specialty was hunting down spies. The Beresfords first appeared in her book The Secret Adversary (1922), where their breezy and almost offhand approach to detection provided a sharp contrast to the methods of Poirot. Another Christie detective, Colonel Race—a mysterious man of few words—first appeared in The Man in the Brown Suit (1924). However, since his principal area of activity was in the English colonies (territories then under British government control), Christie only used him occasionally afterwards.

Superintendent Battle, who was strong, dependable, and hardworking, came onto the scene in The Secret of Chimneys (1925) and later solved The Seven Dials Mystery (1929). He was not a greatly attractive character, however, so Christie only used him as a minor character after that. Other sleuths who first appeared during this experimental period were the weird pair of Harley Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite, as well as the clever Parker Pyne. Pyne specialized not in solving murders, but in influencing the lives of others so as to bring them happiness or adventure. Pyne was often fortunate enough to have the assistance of Mrs. Ariadne Oliver, a mystery novelist who bore an uncanny resemblance to her creator, Agatha Christie.

A mysterious breakdown

The year 1926 was an important one for Christie. It saw the publication of her first hugely successful novel, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, in which the narrator (the character in whose voice the story is told) is the murderer. It was also a year of personal tragedy. Christie's mother died in 1926, and Christie discovered that her husband was in love with another woman. She suffered a mental breakdown and on December 6 she disappeared from her home, and her car was found abandoned in a quarry. Ten days later, acting on a tip, police found her in a hotel in Harrogate, England, where she had been staying the entire time, registered under the name of the woman with whom her husband was having his affair. Christie claimed to have had amnesia (severe memory loss), and the case was not pursued further. She divorced her first husband two years later.

In 1930 Christie married Sir Max Mallowan, a leading British archaeologist. She often accompanied him on his expeditions in Iraq and Syria and placed some of her novels in those countries. In Come, Tell Me How You Live (1946) she wrote a humorous account of some of her travels with her husband.

Major works

In 1930 Christie also produced what is believed by many to be her best-written novel, Murder at the Vicarage. This mystery also marked the first appearance of Jane Marple, who became one of Christie's favorite sleuths and who showed up frequently thereafter in her books. Miss Marple was one of those complicated characters in whom readers delight. Behind her old-fashioned, grandmotherly appearance, Miss Marple's mind was coldly aware that all human beings are weak and that some are completely immoral.

In the mid-1930s Christie began to produce novels that bore her special manner. In them she arranged a situation that seemed highly unrealistic or unlikely, and then she placed characters, who acted for the most realistic of reasons, into this framework. In Murder in the Calais Coach (1934) the murder is committed through the planning of a dozen people. In And Then There Were None (1939) nine murderers are invited to an island by an ex-judge who kills them out of an unshakeable sense of justice. In Easy to Kill (1939) four murders are committed in a tiny town without any suspicions being aroused, while in A Murder Is Announced (1950) the killer notifies others that the crime will occur in advance. Also interesting in these books is Christie's philosophy that it is quite acceptable to kill a killer, particularly one whose crime is especially horrible.

Christie wrote several works in addition to her fiction, including seventeen plays. Her favorite play was Witness for the Prosecution (1953), but the public disagreed. The Mousetrap opened in London in 1952 and was a huge success, playing there for over thirty years. In addition, many of Christie's mysteries were made into movies. In 1998 her play Black Coffee was adapted into a novel by another writer, Charles Osborne.

In 1971 Christie was named a Dame of the British Empire—a title given by the English king or queen in honor of a person's extraordinary service to the country or for personal merit. Five years later Christie died on January 12, 1976.

For More Information

Bunson, Matthew. The Complete Christie: An Agatha Christie Encyclopedia. New York: Pocket Books, 2000.

Dommermuth-Costa, Carol. Agatha Christie: Writer of Mystery. Minneapolis: Lerner, 1997.

Gill, Gillian. Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries. New York: Free Press, 1990.

Morgan, Janet. Agatha Christie: A Biography. New York: Knopf, 1985.

Osborne, Charles. The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie. London: Collins, 1982, revised edition, 1990.

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In “Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman,” Lucy Worsley revisits the weird story of one of the 20th century’s most popular and enduring authors.

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AGATHA CHRISTIE An Elusive Woman By Lucy Worsley 415 pages. Pegasus Crime. $29.95.

Agatha Christie’s best books have crisp dialogue and high-velocity plots. The bad ones have a Mad Libs quality: feeble prose studded with blank spots into which you can picture the prolific Christie plugging a random “BODY PART” or “WEAPON.” In a 1971 study of English crime fiction, Colin Watson snickered that Christie “seems to have been well aware that intelligence and readership-potential are quite unrelated.”

Watson’s barb was unfair. Few readers turn to detective novels for complex cerebral rewards. Detective novels are games, and require a different method of evaluation (and construction) than works of capital-L Literature. Christie understood this. As with any game-player, an author can be accused of not playing fair , and Christie’s finest novels, like “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd,” tiptoe deliciously close to the cheating line without crossing it. The goal is to leave a reader thwarted and thrilled, not stumped and resentful.

There have been at least a dozen books devoted to Christie in the past two decades, and Lucy Worsley’s “Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman” is a pleasant but inessential addition to the stack. Fans will admire Worsley’s identification of real-life people, places and phrases that Christie upcycled into her fiction. They will delight in seeing photographs of the author surfing in Hawaii, or learning that her favorite drink was a glass of neat cream. (“Cream, neat” should be an acceptable order at a bar. If we work together, maybe we can make it happen.)

But the book also contains a great deal of padding — perhaps because the terrain has been so thoroughly mapped before — and an unsubtle dose of moralizing. A line in the preface sets an ominous tone, warning that Christie’s work “contains views on race and class that are unacceptable today” — a common refrain in recent biographies but totally unnecessary for readers whose knowledge of history extends more than five minutes.

Worsley moves through Christie’s childhood at a brisk pace. Her birth year: 1890. Location: Southwest England. Mother: creative, enigmatic. Father: blessed with a decent inheritance but cursed with a shopping addiction. Siblings: two. Home: sprawling villa with a view of the sea. Education: spotty.

In 1914 Christie married a handsome pilot named Archie and, while he was at war, worked in the wards and the pharmacy of an auxiliary hospital. During work lulls she filled notebooks with story ideas and lists of poisons. In 1919 she gave birth to a daughter, Rosalind. That same year, a publisher invited Christie for a meeting after reviewing the manuscript that would become her first book, “The Mysterious Affair at Styles.”

Along with demonstrating Christie’s gifts for puzzle-crafting and dialogue, “Styles” brought Hercule Poirot into the world. Poirot and Jane Marple, who debuted in late 1927, are two of the most indelible characters ever to grace detective fiction. Observing the similarities between these two offers a glimpse of Christie’s unique project.

Both Poirot and Marple are unglamorous, unmarried and without children. Their strengths are rationality, competence and a lack of squeamishness. The Belgian dandy and the elderly knitter are perpetually underestimated — a social penalty they convert into a deadly weapon. Most important for Christie’s audience, neither Poirot nor Marple are prodigies of technique, which renders them easy stand-ins for the reader. In Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, Sherlock Holmes tested blood, analyzed soil and published a monograph on footprint analysis. If Poirot and Marple issued monographs, they’d be on mustache husbandry and fiber crafts.

Christie’s home life sputtered at approximately the rate her career took off. She seems to have had a take-it-or-leave-it attitude to motherhood, ditching Rosalind for months at a stretch and neglecting to answer the unhappy girl’s letters. Later Christie would describe Rosalind as playing “the valuable role in life of eternally trying to discourage me without success.” Ouch.

Worsley takes a charitable view of the relationship. “Would all this make Agatha that endlessly satisfying target to aim at, the ‘bad mother’? Of course not, for there is no such thing as a ‘bad mother.’” (Berthe Bovary would like a word!)

In 1926, Archie dumped Christie for a hot young golfer named Nancy, which may have been the precipitating event of the author’s notorious 11-day disappearance. After falling into an Archie-induced depression, Christie went for a drive. There was a car crash. The crash may or may not have been a suicide attempt; all we know is that Christie rolled her vehicle down a hill and into a hedge. She then made her way to a spa hotel and registered under the false name of Teresa Neele. (“Neele” was Nancy the golfer’s last name.)

It seems clear, from all available accounts, that Christie lapsed into a fugue of grief after Archie’s betrayal. But elements of her behavior also suggest a kind of psychotic break. During her hotel stay, she placed a newspaper ad requesting that “FRIENDS and RELATIVES of TERESA NEELE, late of South Africa, please COMMUNICATE.” What to make of that?

Equally disconcerting was what occurred toward the end of the incident. On a Sunday evening, two musicians from the hotel band informed local police that one of the guests looked an awful lot like a certain missing celebrity author. The police contacted Archie, who boarded a train toward the hotel. When he arrived, Christie introduced him to guests as her brother . Whatever the true circumstances of Christie’s severance with reality, the media had a field day. Her book sales shot up.

Worsley’s timeline of the disappearance is admirably scrupulous, but the sheer weirdness of the events can’t be brushed away with phrases like “veiled plea for help” (to explain Christie’s bizarre newspaper ad) or “coping mechanism” (to explain the introduction of Archie as her brother).

In a biographer you want someone who finds her subject immensely but not indiscriminately fascinating, and Worsley doesn’t quite clear that bar. The second half of the book is padded with tedious information. Do we need quotations from a letter written by Christie’s second husband to his mother as a teenager, years before he met the subject of this biography? Or a dispatch from Christie about buying furniture on sale?

Meanwhile, the author’s craft is only glancingly studied. We learn what Christie did but not how she did it. In Worsley’s telling, best sellers emerge as suddenly and effortlessly as sneezes. The book makes a bubbly supplement for a reader with prior interest in Agatha Christie, but it doesn’t explain how she became, by some accounts, the most widely read novelist who ever lived. Another unsolved mystery for the ages.

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Agatha Christie Books Opener Saturday Magazine

‘I just wanted my life to end’: the mystery of Agatha Christie’s disappearance

In 1926 the world’s bestselling author vanished for 11 days. Did she really go into hiding to frame her husband for murder? Historian Lucy Worsley reopens a case still shrouded in mystery

A gatha Christie was sitting quietly on a train when she overheard a stranger saying her name. In the carriage, she said, were “two women discussing me, both with copies of my paperback editions on their knees”. They had no idea of the identity of their fellow passenger, and proceeded to discuss the most famous author in the world. “I hear,” said one of the ladies, “she drinks like a fish.”

I love this story because it sums up so much about Agatha Christie’s life. They both had her paperbacks. Of course they did. Christie wrote more than 80 books, outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible, so the cliche runs. And she wasn’t just a novelist, either: she remains history’s most performed female playwright. She was so successful people think of her as an institution, not as a breaker of new ground. But she was both.

And then, in the railway carriage, there’s the watchful presence of Christie herself, unnoticed. Yes, she was easy to overlook, as is the case with nearly any woman past middle age. But she deliberately played on the fact that she seemed so ordinary. It was a public image she carefully crafted to conceal her real self.

If the women on the train had asked her profession, she’d have said she had none. When an official form required her to put down what she did, the woman who is estimated to have sold 2bn copies always wrote “housewife”. Despite her gigantic success, she retained her perspective as an outsider and onlooker. She sidestepped a world that tried to define her.

When I told people I was writing about Christie, their first questions were often about the 11 dramatic days in 1926 when she “disappeared” at the height of her writing career, causing a nationwide hunt for her corpse. It’s a mystery that has obsessed her fans ever since.

By this stage, Christie was already a celebrity. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, her ingenious masterpiece, had just been published and her literary agent was pushing for a follow-up. There were photos of her in the Daily Mail, a new publishing contract with William Collins and a £500 advance for serial rights to The Man in the Brown Suit that paid for a Morris Cowley car.

But by December 1926, her marriage to Archie Christie was in trouble. She herself, she later wrote, was “at the beginning of a nervous breakdown”. The couple had moved to a grand 12-bedroom house in Sunningdale, Berkshire, which they named Styles, but Archie was often absent and Agatha was increasingly unhappy there. The death of her beloved mother, and Archie’s unsympathetic response (he didn’t even go to the funeral), had strained their relationship almost to breaking point when Archie confessed that he was in love with someone else – a young woman called Nancy Neele – and wanted a divorce.

It has often been claimed that Christie went into hiding in order to frame her husband for her murder. Was this true? It’s also frequently said that Christie remained silent about this notorious incident for the rest of her life. But that’s incorrect, and I’ve pieced together the surprising number of statements she did in fact make about it.

What Christie said has the unfortunate effect of sounding like one of her novels, in which the “ loss of memory ” plot would feature time and time again. But her writings about her life have had this novelising tendency all along. It doesn’t mean she is lying.

“I just wanted my life to end,” she explained. “All that night I drove aimlessly about … In my mind there was the vague idea of ending everything. I drove automatically down roads I knew … to Maidenhead, where I looked at the river. I thought about jumping in, but realised that I could swim too well to drown … then back to London again, and then on to Sunningdale. From there I went to Newlands Corner.”

She was tired; she was in deep distress. At last, she put into action a vague plan that had occupied her thoughts for the previous 24 hours.

“When I reached a point in the road which I thought was near the quarry I had seen in the afternoon, I turned the car off the road down the hill towards it. I left the wheel and let the car run. The car struck something with a jerk and pulled up suddenly. I was flung against the steering wheel and my head hit something.”

Christie’s car was found lodged in a hedge, its front wheels “over the edge of the chalk pit”. Had it not been for the hedge, “the car would have plunged over and been smashed to pieces”. It seems that Christie shocked herself into realising that whatever happened, life was worth living.

And so, dazed, distressed, but alive, she got out of her car. With injuries from the impact to her head and chest, she walked through the wintry countryside in a dreamlike state. She was reborn. “Up to this moment I was Mrs Christie,” she explains. Now, she had sloughed off the past like a dead skin. Only that way could she survive. She abandoned her car and walked away, out of her old life. This was the action that would leave her family, friends and the police absolutely flummoxed.

F or a long time, people investigating Christie’s disappearance have tended towards one of two positions. One is that, in the days after the crash, she was experiencing the specific condition of dissociative fugue – a state brought on by trauma and stress, in which you literally forget who you are. The alternative position is that she was faking it, even trying to frame Archie for killing her. Only one thing can be said for certain: on Saturday 4 December 1926, and for some days thereafter, Christie experienced a distressing episode of mental illness, brought on by the trauma of the death of her mother and the breakdown of her marriage. She lost her way of life and her sense of self.

So what should we believe? Christie reported that on that Saturday morning, while the police were investigating her abandoned car, she had “lost her memory”. With the help of a psychotherapist, she would later begin to put together a narrative of the movements she had blanked out. “I remember arriving at a big railway station,” she recalled, eventually, “and being surprised to learn it was Waterloo.”

“It is strange,” she said, that “the railway authorities there did not recall me, as I was covered with mud and I had smeared blood on my face from a cut on my hand.”

Christie’s mind began to protect itself from further pain by inventing a new identity. “I had now become in my mind Mrs Teresa Neele of South Africa,” she says. Someone who had the same surname as Archie’s lover, someone who came from a place where she and Archie had been happy. “You can’t write your fate,” Christie would say, years later, but “you can do what you like with the characters you create”. So she created a new character for herself, a character as which she could do what she wanted. What she wanted most of all was to escape from the unbearable life of Mrs Christie.

“Teresa Neele” went to King’s Cross and bought a ticket for the spa resort of Harrogate.

‘She changed her name, went to King’s Cross and bought a ticket to the spa resort of Harrogate’

The winter light must have faded by the time her train arrived. She took a taxi to a hotel, apparently picked at random, called the Hydropathic. She’d always liked the anonymity of hotels, where she’d often stayed, alone, writing.

Christie arrived with no suitcase, but explained she had recently come from South Africa and had left her luggage with friends. She gave her name as Mrs Teresa Neele, signing the register in her usual handwriting.

Mr W Taylor, the hotel’s manager, stated later that his guest took a “good room on the first floor, fitted with hot and cold water”. The price of seven guineas a week caused her no hesitation: “She seemed to have as much money as she wanted.”

Christie’s room was serviced by a young chambermaid named Rosie Asher, who seems to have kept a particularly close eye on her. Asher spotted that “Mrs Neele” had brought hardly anything with her. But she was desperate for her life to unfold in an orderly fashion. So she went down for dinner, and even took part in the evening’s dancing. The guests, who were also referred to as “patients”, embraced this single woman in their midst. “I danced with Mrs Christie the evening she arrived,” one of them said later. “She does the Charleston, but not very well.”

Christie seemed to enjoy her life in limbo. Her chambermaid noted that on Sunday, while police were searching the Surrey Downs for her, or her body, she “slept until 10am, had breakfast in bed and then went out”.

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On Monday morning, Asher noticed Christie had the “London newspaper taken up with breakfast in bed”. It would have been hard to avoid the story about Mrs Christie’s disappearance, but she somehow managed to set the knowledge aside. She began to equip herself with a new wardrobe. Later that day, after a visit to the shops, packages began to be delivered to her room: “new hat, coat, evening shoes, books and magazines, pencil and fruit, and various toilet requisites”.

People noticed that she usually had a book in her hand. She’d been to the WH Smith Library in Parliament Street, where the librarian “gathered from her selections that she had a taste for novels of sensation and mystery”.

That evening, Christie came down to dinner in a proper evening dress, with a new “fancy scarf”. Hotel staff would report that “she has made a number of friends”. She played billiards and even sang aloud. Miss Corbett, the hotel’s entertainment hostess, spotted that “Mrs Neele” still had the price – 75 shillings – pinned to her new shawl. “Is that all you are worth?” asked one of the guests. “I think I am worth more than that,” was her answer.

At the Hydro, people were beginning to suspect who “Mrs Neele” really was. After all, on Tuesday 7 December, a portrait had appeared on the Daily Express’s front page. The resemblance was unmissable. “When she had been here about four days,” recalled the hotel’s manager, “my wife said to me: ‘I believe that lady is Mrs Christie!’” Mr Taylor thought his wife was being “absurd”, but she wasn’t the only one to have worked it out.

The following day the Westminster Gazette reported that no fewer than 300 police officers and special constables had taken part in a search in Surrey. They were pretty certain they were hunting for a corpse.

But Christie was oblivious. Life was much better now. “As Mrs Neele,” she said later, “I was very happy and contented.”

“At Harrogate,” she said, “I read every day about Mrs Christie’s disappearance … I regarded her as having acted stupidly.” A fellow guest remembered her saying that “Mrs Christie is a very elusive person. I cannot be bothered with her.” Also, according to this witness, Christie was beginning to show signs of mental distress. She “would press her hand to her forehead and say: ‘It is my head. I cannot remember.’” Meanwhile Archie, stressed and terrified that his infidelity would be revealed by the papers, had made an awful mistake. He had given an ill-advised interview to the Daily Mail. Perhaps hoping to divert attention away from Nancy Neele, he introduced the idea that maybe his wife had deliberately disappeared.


“My wife,” he’d said to a reporter, “had discussed the possibility of disappearing at will … engineering a disappearance had been running through her mind, probably for the purpose of her work. Personally, I feel that is what happened.”

And he now defended himself against the charge that he’d been a bad husband: “

It is absolutely untrue to suggest that there was anything in the nature of a row or a tiff between my wife and myself on Friday morning … I strongly depreciate introducing any tittle-tattle into this matter … ”

Readers must have thought he protested far too much.

On the morning of Saturday 11 December, the Telegraph carried a big advert for a forthcoming serialisation of The Murder on the Links. It was trumpeted as the work of “Agatha Christie the Missing Novelist”. These were obviously the words of Christie’s publishers, not Christie herself. But readers could be forgiven for thinking the author was somehow cashing in on her new notoriety.

The author herself had had enough of reading the papers. At the Hydro, on the Sunday morning, no newspaper was taken up to the bedroom.

On the Tuesday, the Daily Mail ran an editorial. If Christie were alive, its writer argued, “she must be ready to inflict intense anxiety on her relatives and heavy expenditure on the public” in “a heartless practical joke”.

Agatha Christie

Unfortunately for Christie’s lasting reputation, many of her biographers, notably her male ones, have been as heavily invested in this narrative as the male police officers and journalists who made it into such a sensation at the time. “She set out deliberately – the facts shout it – to throw murder suspicion upon her husband,” says one of these writers.

From there, the idea has spread into films and novels. The milder have her down as a woman wronged, with an understandable desire for revenge. The more extreme – notably the feature film Agatha, made in 1979 – present her as the would-be murderer of Nancy Neele. And so the injustice has been perpetuated.

It’s time to do something radical: to listen to what Christie says, to understand she had a range of experiences unhelpfully labelled as “loss of memory”, and, perhaps most importantly, when she says she was suffering, to believe her.

Unbeknown to the police and public who were looking for her in Surrey, matters in Yorkshire were moving swiftly towards a denouement. That Sunday evening, two men went to Harrogate police station to report their suspicion that Mrs Christie was staying in the hotel where they worked.

Christie’s “disappearance” had the impact it did because of the 1920s context that saw a new kind of media celebrity being created. She wasn’t alone in becoming an author-as-celebrity. It may have been accidental, and deeply unpleasant, but it would also become a central plank of her massive success.

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I was disappointed with this biography as I didn’t feel that the author left me feeling as if I knew Agatha Christie any better than I did before I read it. However this was a family authorized ... Read full review

Excellent biography of Christie, though a bit heavy on her theatrical writings and a little light on her later years. Read full review

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About the author  (2017).

Janet Morgan is a writer and consultant who worked in the government’s ‘Think Tank’ from 1978 to 1981 and now advises governments, companies and other organizations on long-range planning, new technology and different strategies. Her books include The House of Lords and the Labour Government 1964-70 and the acclaimed biography of Edwina Mountbatten. She was the editor of the three-volume edition of The Diaries of a Cabinet Minister and of Backbench Diaries 1951-63 by Richard Crossman and was the co-editor, with Richard Hoggart, of The Future of Broadcasting. Agatha Christie was her first biography.

Bibliographic information

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100 Facts About Agatha Christie

These facts were compiled by Agatha Christie experts John Curran and Chris Chan, alongside Agatha Christie Ltd

a biography of agatha christie

Childhood and Youth

a biography of agatha christie

a biography of agatha christie

Film, television and radio


a biography of agatha christie

This post originally appeared as John Curran's 75 Facts About Agatha Christie. It has been updated in September 2020 for the 100th anniversary of The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

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  1. Agatha Christie: A biography: Amazon.co.uk: Janet Morgan: 9780007296637: Books

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  1. Agatha Christie

    Agatha Christie, in full Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, née Miller, (born September 15, 1890, Torquay, Devon, England—died January 12, 1976, Wallingford, Oxfordshire), English detective novelist and playwright whose books have sold more than 100 million copies and have been translated into some 100 languages. Agatha Christie

  2. Agatha Christie

    Christie was made a dame in 1971. In 1974, she made her last public appearance for the opening night of the play version of Murder on the Orient Express. Christie died on January 12, 1976....

  3. Agatha Christie

    Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, DBE ( née Miller; 15 September 1890 - 12 January 1976) was an English writer known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, particularly those revolving around fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.

  4. Biography of Agatha Christie, English Mystery Writer

    Agatha Christie (September 15, 1890 - January 12, 1976) was an English mystery author. After working as a nurse during World War I, she became a successful writer, thanks to her Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple mystery series. Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time, as well as the most-translated individual author of all time.

  5. About Agatha Christie

    Born in Torquay in 1890, Agatha Christie became, and remains, the best-selling novelist of all time. She is best known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, as well as the world's longest-running play - The Mousetrap. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and a billion in translation.

  6. Agatha Christie

    Agatha received home education from early childhood to when she turned 12-years-old in 1902. Her parents taught her how to read, write, perform arithmetic, and play music. Her father died in 1901. Agatha was sent to a girl's school in Torquay, Devon, where she studied from 1902 to 1905.

  7. Agatha Christie Biography

    Agatha Christie (15 September 1890 - 12 January 1976) was an English writer of crime and romantic novels. She is best remembered for her detective stories including the two diverse characters of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. She is considered to be the best selling writer of all time.

  8. Agatha Christie Biography

    Agatha Christie Biography Born: September 15, 1890 Torquay, England Died: January 12, 1976 Wallingford, England English author and playwright Agatha Christie was the best-selling mystery writer of all time. She wrote ninety-three books and seventeen plays, including the longest-running play of modern-day theater, The Mousetrap.

  9. Agatha Christie's Latest Biographer Plumbs a Life of Mystery

    In 1914 Christie married a handsome pilot named Archie and, while he was at war, worked in the wards and the pharmacy of an auxiliary hospital. During work lulls she filled notebooks with story...

  10. Agatha Christie: A Biography by Janet Morgan

    First published in 1984 and now available in paperback, having been unavailable for more than two years, a biography of Agatha Christie based on family papers and other protected material, which describes the writer's life, work and relationships. Genres Biography Nonfiction Mystery History Womens British Literature 20th Century ...more

  11. Agatha Christie: A Biography Paperback

    Agatha Christie : A Biography $5.39 (87) Only 1 left in stock - order soon. Traces the life of the popular British mystery writer, discusses her famous disappearance, and attempts to depict her complex personality Print length 393 pages Language English Publisher HarperCollins Publication date January 1, 1986 Dimensions 6.11 x 1.11 x 8.11 inches

  12. Agatha Christie: A Biography by Janet Morgan

    The only authorized biography of Agatha Christie is a snoozer. So dull and so disappointing. I adore Agatha Christie and was excited to finally read her biography, my excitement was dulled almost immediately. Janet Morgan was given full access to Christie's notes, diaries, pictures, etc. And from those, and interviews with people who knew her ...

  13. 'I just wanted my life to end': the mystery of Agatha Christie's

    Christie wrote more than 80 books, outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible, so the cliche runs. And she wasn't just a novelist, either: she remains history's most performed female playwright....

  14. AGATHA CHRISTIE ~ A Biography by Janet MORGAN

    London: Collins, 1984. FINE condition in FINE dust jacket. London. Collins. HARDCOVER. 1984. FIRST EDITION , FIRST Printing . AS NEW, bound in grey cloth with silver titles in grey pictorial dust jacket. Square and tight, UNREAD, original…

  15. Agatha Christie: A biography

    Agatha Christie: A biography Hardcover - January 1, 1984 by Janet P Morgan (Author) 87 ratings Hardcover $10.50 9 Used from $10.48 1 Collectible from $54.40 Paperback $19.78 8 Used from $11.75 11 New from $13.81 Agatha Christie: A Biography Print length 393 pages Language English Publisher Collins Publication date January 1, 1984 ISBN-10 0002163306

  16. Agatha Christie: A Biography

    Janet Morgan's definitive and authorised biography of Agatha Christie, with a new retrospective foreword by the author. Agatha Christie (1890-1976), the world's bestselling author, is a public institution. Her creations, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, have become fiction's most legendary sleuths and her ingenuity has captured the imagination of generations of readers.

  17. 100 Facts About Agatha Christie

    Christie's novel The Pale Horse and its vivid description of poisoning helped lead to the arrest of the real-life serial killer Graham Young in 1971. There is an Agatha Christie Memorial in Covent Garden, 2.4 metres high and in the form of a book. It was created to mark the 60 th anniversary of The Mousetrap.