Agatha Christie Monument via Pixabay
CAIRO – 15 September 2017: September 15 marks the birthday of English mystery novelist Agatha Christie, one of the world’s bestselling authors, her works having sold billions of copies worldwide.
Agatha Christie via Wikimedia
Christie was born in 1890 in South Western England to a conservative family as Clarissa Agatha Miller. Her home life was comfortable, and she was preoccupied with telling stories since a young age. She was home-schooled by her father, who was American. She never attended school proper, so young Christie spent her time reading, which greatly nourished her creativity.
When she was 16, she moved to Paris to pursue an education in music, and later on she would marry a pilot named Colonel Archibald Christie, from who she got her iconic last name. Though short on money, the two were fascinated by each other as strangers and were desperate to get married.
As her husband fought during World War I, Christie took to working as a nurse, which is where she began thinking of her first detective novel, “The Mysterious Affair at Styles”, published in 1920. Thus the world was introduced to Hercule Poirot, a Belgian detective who was investigating the murder of a rich heiress.
The book helped pioneer the murder mystery genre and was one of Christie’s personal favorites from her body of work, and audiences loved it. Unfortunately for Christie, six years later, her husband fell for another woman and asked for a divorce. The timing could not have been worse, as Christie’s mother had just died recently. The author vanished for quite some time, causing alarm among the public eye. Weeks later, she resurfaced at a hotel, unable to remember much of what had happened to her during the time she disappeared.
After her divorce from her husband in 1928, Christie would later marry an archaeologist named Max Mallowan, who she met on a trip to Mesopotamia. She traveled with him on his expeditions, which helped inspire many of her novels.
In 1930, Christie’s novel, “Murder at the Vicarage”, introduced an elderly detective named Miss Jane Marple, who solved mysteries in her quiet English village. Miss Marple would feature in over a dozen novels and helped define a new genre of mystery fiction.
Christie continued writing until her death, producing an impressive body of work, which consisted of more than 70 novels, 30 short story collections, 15 plays and even 6 romances she published under a pseudonym. One of her plays, “The Mousetrap”, held the record for having the longest unbroken run in London theaters, played over 8,800 times.
Her work has been adapted into feature films countless times, the most famous being the 1974 “Murder on the Orient Express”, starring Ingrid Bergman, who won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. The premiere of the film was Christie’s last public appearance, and she commented that while the film was a fine adaption, Poirot’s moustache could have been more luxurious.
Christie was knighted in 1971, becoming a Dame of the British Empire. She passed away peacefully on January 12, 1976.