Thursday, September 15, 2011

Agatha Christie - Queen of Crime

In the realm of female novelists, it would be hard to find a woman of greater achievement than Agatha Christie. After William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie is the best-selling fiction writer in the world, having sold approximately four billion copies of her novels. She is also the most widely translated individual author, with her books translated into 103 languages. Her play, The Mousetrap, is the world’s longest-running play with more than 24,000 performances since it opened in London on November 25, 1952.

In addition to being named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, she collected literary awards the way other women collect bracelets. Her stellar career was long and prolific, encompassing 66 detective novels, 14 collections of short stories, and 14 plays. But did you know she also wrote 6 romances under the pen name of Mary Westmacott? Here are some other interesting facts about Dame Agatha.

· She was born in Torquay, Devon, England in 1890, and never had any formal schooling, having been tutored at home by her mother and governesses.
· During WWI, she worked as a hospital nurse.
· On Christmas Eve, 1914, she married Archibald Christie, an aviator in the Royal Flying Corps. They had one daughter, Rosalind.
· In 1926, after her husband announced he had fallen in love with another woman, Agatha disappeared for 11 days. When she was finally located at a hotel in Yorkshire after a massive national manhunt, she refused to give any account of her disappearance. There has been much speculation on the cause, from hysterical amnesia to an attempt to convince the police her husband had murdered her.
· In 1930, she married archaeologist Max Mallowan and accompanied him on many of his digs in the Middle East, which she used as a setting for several of her novels.
· During WWII, she worked in the pharmacy at University College, London, where she picked up an intimate knowledge of poisons that she later put to good use in her stories.
· Her detective, Hercule Poirot, is the only fictional character to be memorialized in an obituary in the New York Times.
· It took 5 years and 6 rejections before her first book was published.

And my favorite Agatha Christie quote: “The best time to plan a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”


Jannine Gallant said...

The Case of the Missing Novelist! You got my curiosity going, Alison. I want to know where Agatha was for those 11 days!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Chris
Great blog. Agatha Christie is my sisters favourite author, although her stories don't really appeal to me. Don't mind watching the TV show though.



Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Allison,

Sorry, I wasn't thinking clearly, got your blog mixed up with the one Chris did.



Brenda Whiteside said...

I really need to read a Christie novel again. It's been years ago and I didn't like it. The rest of the world can't be wrong! I love it took her 5 years to get published. And look how it turned out.

Barbara Edwards said...

Agatha Christie's work is a great example we can all admire and emulate. Thanks for the wonderful post.

Laura Breck said...

Hey, Alison. How many of us now days take time to wash dishes? I'm going to try that next time I'm stuck on a plot!

Jerri Hines/Carrie James-Haynes said...

Have to admit although I know Agatha Christie, I never realized all her accomplishments. Intersting. I didn't realize that even Agatha Christie had to endure a rejection or two.

Vonnie Davis said...

I don't do dishes. Calvin mans the dishwasher. My best plotting happens when I wash my hair, the massaging of the brain, perhaps. So, Agatha wrote romances, too. Hmm, would love to read one of those. Thanks for educating us on this great writer.