Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born
September 15, 1890, in Torquay in southwest
England. She was home schooled by her
mother, who encouraged her to write. Her
father died when she was 10.
A lonely child, she made up stories and wrote them
down. She invented an entire railway system in her
large yard and garden, rolling her hoop and calling out
stops along the route.
In 1914, she married Colonel Archibald Christie, a
Royal Flying Corps pilot. She worked as a nurse during
World War I, gaining knowledge about illnesses and
In 1920, she published her first novel, The Mysterious
Affair at Styles, in which she introduced her most
famous detective, Hercule Poirot. It was an immediate
In 1926, her mother died, and her husband revealed
that he’d had a relationship with another woman.
Christie disappeared, checking into a hotel in
Harrogate. When she was found, she claimed to have
She divorced her husband in 1928 and set off on the
first of many trips to the Middle East, traveling on the
famed Orient Express. Two years later, she married the
archaeology professor Max Mallowan and traveled with
him on several of his expeditions.
In her Autobiography, she wrote:”I have enjoyed greatly
the second blooming that comes when you finish the
life of the emotions and of personal relations; and
suddenly you find—at the age of fifty, say—that a whole
new life has opened before you, filled with things you
can think about, study, or read about. . . . It is as if a
fresh sap of ideas and thoughts was rising in you.”
In 1968, her husband was knighted for his archaeology
work. In 1971, she received England’s highest honor,
the Order of the British Empire, Dame Commander.
She wrote more than 70 detective novels in a career
spanning over 50 years, earning her the title “Queen of
Her final public appearance was on opening night for her
play Murder on the Orient Express. Before her death in 1976,
she had become one of the world’s best-selling authors,
having sold over two billion copies of her works and having
seen them made into plays and movies.
In addition to Poirot, she also created Miss Marple, who
solved crimes in the villages of the English countryside;
Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, a stylish 20s couple who
worked together with great enthusiasm; Ariadne Oliver, an
alter ego of Christie herself; Christie's favorite, the
mysterious Harley Quin; and former secret agent turned
detective Parker Pyne.
She believed in fair play, writing detective stories in which all
the clues are available and the reader can seek to best the
detective. She set the formula for mysteries, and for the
quirky detectives like Nero Wolfe, Columbo and Monk. Her
And Then There Were None, where the cast of characters is
murdered one-by-one, is a direct inspiration for the slasher
film genre, according to my movie buff son, Robert.
Christie also wrote plays. One, The Mousetrap, has run
continuously in London's West End since 1952.
Statues of Agatha Christie appear in Covent Garden and in
'Queen of Crime'
Agatha Christie Statue in Torquay.