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Agatha Christie Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (32)  | Personal Quotes (20)

Overview (4)

Born in Torquay, Devon, England, UK
Died in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, England, UK  (natural causes)
Birth NameAgatha Mary Clarissa Miller
Nickname The Queen of Crime

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As a young adult, Agatha aspired to be a writer and produced a number of unpublished short stories and novels.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 Several of these unpublished works were later revised into more successful ones.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

Spouse (2)

Max E.L. Mallowan (11 September 1930 - 12 January 1976) ( her death)
Archibald Christie (24 December 1914 - 1928) ( divorced) ( 1 child)

Trade Mark (1)

All her books and short stories feature some kind of plot twist or surprising ending with the least expected person being the bad guy.

Trivia (32)

She was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1956 Queen's New Year Honours List and the DBE (Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1971 Queen's New Year Honours List for her services to literature.
Wrote several romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott.
Gave birth to a daughter, Rosalind, in 1919.
Disappeared for several days in 1926. Disappearance remains unexplained.
Interred at Cholsey Churchyard, Cholsey, Oxfordshire, England, UK.
On Saturday April 12th, 1958, her play The Mousetrap, which opened in London on November 25, 1952, became the longest running production of any kind in the history of British Theatre, beating out the five-and-a-half years of Chu Chin Chow.
She worked at a chemist's shop between 1915 and 1918 in the seaside resort of Torquay, England.
Her father was from the United States, and her mother was English.
Over two billion copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Her book sales are surpassed only by the Bible and by William Shakespeare. She is the best-selling author of all time.
First novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920), was also the first to feature her eccentric Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.
Last published novel, Sleeping Murder (1976), featured her other world-famous sleuth, the shrewdly inquisitive Miss Jane Marple.
Her work has been translated into more than a hundred languages.
According to her grandson Mathew Prichard, who runs the Agatha Christie estate, she was very keen on using new types of media to help reach fans in new ways. He said this in April 2004 when it was announced that five of her books would be turned into computer games.
Her second husband, Max Mallowan, was an archaeologist, and she chronicled her travels with him in the Middle East in her 1946 book "Come, Tell Me How You Live."
Her novel, And Then There Were None, is also published as Ten Little Indians and is the #1 bestseller.
Although it was not the last novel she published in her lifetime, the last novel that Agatha Christie wrote was Postern of Fate (1973). It featured her re-occurring characters Tommy and Tuppence, and marks their final appearance in a novel.
The last two novels published were Curtain (chronicling Hercule Poirot's last case) and Sleeping Murder (the last Miss Marple novel). She wrote both books in the 1940s, and then locked them in a safe deposit box. It is stated in her biography, that she wrote the two final cases for Marple and Poirot early, in case she was killed in WWII. This way fans would have closure concerning her characters fates.
Wrote six romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott.
She is mentioned in Zwei Männer am Herd: Diebe der Liebe (2001).
She wrote Hercule Poirot's Christmas for her godson James, (an avid fan of her books)after he complained that her murders were getting too refined. He wanted a good solid murder, with lots of blood, and the body positioned in such a way that it couldn't be anything but murder. There is a dedication to him in the book.
Her first husband's brother Campbell Christie was also a writer.
She was played by Vanessa Redgrave in Agatha (1979). Redgrave previously played Mary Debenham in Murder on the Orient Express (1974), an adaptation of her 1934 novel of the same name.
The titles of Agatha Christie's works are often allusions to phrases or lines found in works by other writers. "Sad Cypress" (1940) derives from a line in "Twelfth Night" by William Shakespeare. "Evil Under the Sun" derives from a phrase in "Ecclesiastes", an anonymous work from the 3rd century BC. "The Moving Finger" (1942) derives from a phrase in the poetry collection "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam" by translator Edward FitzGerald. "Absent in the Spring" (1944) derives from a line in "Sonnet 98" by William Shakespeare. "Taken at the Flood" (1948) derives from a phrase in "Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare. "The Rose and the Yew Tree" (1948) derives from a phrase used in "Four Quartets" by T. S. Eliot. "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side" (1962) derives from a phrase in "The Lady of Shalott" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. "By the Pricking of My Thumbs" (1968) derives from a phrase used in "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare. "Postern of Fate" (1973) derives from a line in "Gates of Damascus" by James Elroy Flecker.
Due to being married to archaeologist Max Mallowan, Agatha Christie developed an interest in archaeology herself. She joined him in excavations in Iraq and Syria, and received some training in tasks such as archaeological restoration and reconstructing pottery.
Despite her reputation as a crime novelist, Agatha Christie's literary output actually includes works in several genres. The "Tommy and Tuppence" series mostly consists of spy fiction, as do several of her one-shot novels. "The Mysterious Mr Quin" collection includes the supernatural figure of Mr. Harley Quin (Harlequin) and several fantasy and horror elements. "The Hound of Death" short story collection includes tales of horror and magic. "Death Comes as the End" is a historical novel set in Ancient Egypt, and "Star Over Bethlehem" is a collection of religiously-themed stories featuring Jesus, Mary, Satan, etc.
Ariadne Oliver, a major character in several novels by Christie, is a self-caricature of Agatha Christie. She is a mystery novelist with a strong belief in feminine intuition, has a vast familiarity with literary tropes, and several comical eccentricities.
Despite Agatha Christie intending "Sleeping Murder: Miss Marple's Last Case" (1976) to be the finale to the career of her long-running character Miss Jane Marple, there is nothing final about the fate of the character. Marple survives the tale and there are no apparent changes in her life.
Agatha Christie created several series protagonists during her writing career, but her best known protagonist was Hercule Poirot. He appeared in 33 novels, one theatrical play, and more than 50 short stories He first appeared in "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" (1920) and last appeared in "Curtain: Poirot's Last Case" (1975) which famously features his death.
While her fans loved Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie herself was increasingly fed up with her creation. Late in her career, she described him as "an egocentric creep".
While it is unclear whether Agatha Christie intended it this way, most of her long-running series and stand-alone novels seem to take place in a shared universe. She wrote crossover novels such as "Three Act Tragedy" (1934) and "Cards on the Table" (1936) where major characters from various series meet and interact. But Christie also had the habit of reusing various supporting and/or minor characters, which seem to migrate from series to series.
Her influence even extended to science fiction and her murder mysteries influenced three stories from the television series Doctor Who (1963): Doctor Who: The Robots of Death: Part One (1977), Doctor Who: Black Orchid: Part One (1982) and Doctor Who: The Trial of a Time Lord: Part Nine (1986). She was later portrayed on screen in the story Doctor Who: The Unicorn and the Wasp (2008).
Christie's work had also often been used as uncredited source for other works such as Beverly Hills Cop II, which borrows the entire idea for its plot from her novel "The ABC Murders".

Personal Quotes (20)

An archaelogist is the best husband a women can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her.
I don't think necessity is the mother of invention - invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble.
Every murderer is probably somebody's old friend.
If one sticks too rigidly to one's principles one would hardly see anybody.
Where large sums of money are concerned, it is advisable to trust nobody.
Curious things, habits. People themselves never know they had them.
One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.
The best time to plan a book is while you're doing the dishes.
One doesn't recognize the really important moments in one's life until it's too late.
It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story.
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.
I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.
I specialize in murders of quiet, domestic interest.
It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them.
Evil is not something superhuman, it's something less than human.
Regarding her ability to "grind out" the number of stories she did: "I'm a sausage machine, a perfect sausage machine."
On love: It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous, that you realize just how much you love them.
On childhood: One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is to have a happy childhood.
On experience: We are all the same people as we were at three, six, ten or twenty years old. More noticeably so, perhaps, at six or seven, because we were not pretending so much then.
On the opening of the play 'The Mousetrap' on the 6th October 1952 'I think we might get a nice little run out of it' Now in it's 66th year in London's West end It's still running.

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