Agatha Christie is a famous name in every part of the world due to her literary work. Today, 15th September marks her 130th birthday anniversary. Let’s celebrate it by focusing on the highlights of her long life and productive career.
Dame Agatha Christie was born in 1890 into a wealthy upper-middle-class family in Torquay, Devon. She was married to Colonel Archibald Christie from 1914 to 1928 and they had a daughter, Rosalind. After their divorce, she met and ultimately married the renowned archaeologist Max Mallowan.
The writer is well-known worldwide for her innovative detective novels and thus remains the most-translated individual author. Her first published book is The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920), featuring detective Hercule Poirot. Is it worth mentioning that The Mousetrap is the world’s longest-running play on West End, starting from 1952 to 2020?
Mrs. Christie wrote her autobiography in 1965 when she was 75, but she lived another eleven years. She died peacefully at age 85 from natural causes at her home at Winterbrook House.
Interesting facts about Agatha Christie
It might not be surprising that her personal life was as interesting as her novels. Most of the facts listed below are extracted from her autobiography that rests on my desk as I write this article:
1. An Imaginative Child
Agathe Christie was a very quiet, lonely child, with a lively imagination. Having no other children of her age to play with, she spent her time making up characters and stories. Some of them were ”The Kittens” and ”The Girls”. Those games prepared her for her literary career, working both as companions at first and as inspiration for later novels. She kept the habit of muttering to herself while working or editing and even when she was walking on the streets, thinking out loud about a certain plot. It is part of being a writer, she explained humorously.
2. Doctor Who Character
She was featured as a character in the Britsh SF series Doctor Who. The Unicorn and The Wasp episode revolves around a murder that takes place at a 1926 party. One of the guests is the reputable author herself, which plays a major role in uncovering the unusual murderer.
3. A mysterious disappearance
1926 was the hardest year of her life. Her beloved mother, Clara, died in April. Then, in August, Archie Christie asked her for a divorce because he had fallen in love with a mutual friend. At the end of the year, Agatha went missing, which prompted one of the largest manhunts of the country. She was found eleven days later, on the 14th of December, in a hotel, enjoying her holiday. She had no recollection of what had happened or how she got there, therefore, there is no mention of this episode in her autobiography.
4. She was her own worst critic
As most creative persons, she was concerned by the quality of her work. She would send to the publisher only the ideas that she was completely satisfied with. Mrs. Christie admitted she was proud of The Moving Finger (1942), The Crooked House (1949), and Ordeal by Innocence (1958).
5. She felt there was no place like home
Agatha Christie traveled a lot and even lived in the Middle East with her second husband. Even so, her beloved place was her childhood home, The Ashfield manor in Torquay. She lived there until her first marriage. She sold the property in 1940 and a small estate of houses replaced it two decades later. What remains of Agatha’s beloved house and garden is a blue memorial plaque and her own words: I remember, I remember the house where I was born. I go back to that always in my mind. Ashfield. How much that means.
Legacy and importance
Agatha Christie won her place among other 20th-century detective fiction authors, such as Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, Maurice Leblanc, and Raymond Chandler. Readers of all ages love the sharp-minded Hercule Poirot and the inquisitive Miss Marple, making them her most popular characters.
I am currently reading one of her novels now, titled The Labours of Hercules (1947), which comprises twelve short stories as a nod to the mythological namesake of the detective. The tight-written book combines suspense, interesting plots, and diverse characters into an entertaining read and I recommend it to everybody who enjoys this genre. If you are in search of something else, here is a list of interesting reading suggestions.
Quiet, private, yet witty and with the curiosity of a child, Agatha Christie remains one of the most important writers and a model for those who have the same creative calling. Her legacy endures. Her attitude towards loss, global conflicts, and personal struggle are inspiring, making her worthy of admiration.