Author Profile – Agatha Christie

Born: September 15, 1890 in Torquay, Devon, England Agatha Christie

Died: January 12, 1976 in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, England

 Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie nee Miller was born into an upper middle-class English family. Her father was an American stockbroker and she had an elder sister and brother. Christie described her childhood happy. Her mother insisted that Christie be home schooled until after her father died in 1901 when she was sent to boarding and then finishing schools. She was a voracious reader from an early age, loving Edith Nesbit and Lewis Carroll.

Christie’s early literary endeavors involved writing and performing in amateur theater. She soon moved on to short stories mainly focused on her interest in spiritualism and the paranormal. These early works were submitted to various magazines but not published until later.

Christie met Archibald “Archie” Christie in 1912. He was a Royal Flying Corps. pilot stationed near Christie’s home in Devon. The couple wed on December 24, 1914 while Archie was on leave from his post in France during the First World War. Christie joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment during the war and attended to wounded soldiers at the local hospital. Archie rose through the ranks and was stationed back in Britain by September 1918. The couple settled in London and had a daughter, Rosalind, in 1919.

During the war, Christie began work on her first detective novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring detective Hercule Poirot. It was published by The Bodley Head in 1920. She was soon publishing regularly both novels and short stories.

In late 1926, Christie’s husband asked for a divorce after falling in love with another woman. On December 3, 1926, Christie disappeared from the couple’s home. She left a note saying that she was traveling to Yorkshire but her car was found in another town. Over a thousand police officers, fifteen thousand volunteers and several airplanes scoured the area looking for Christie for 10 days. She was finally found living in a hotel in Yorkshire under an assumed name. Christie never explained the disappearance but several doctors diagnosed her as having a nervous breakdown. Public reaction at the time chalked the whole thing up to a publicity stunt.

In 1930, Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan and theirs was a happy marriage all the way until Christie’s death in 1976. Christie kept writing, even using her travels with Mallowan as settings for her novels. During the Second World War, Christie worked in the pharmacy at the University College Hospital where she obtained knowledge about poisons that she would later use in her writing.

Christie wrote over 70 novels and hundreds of short stories during her career and received many honors for her literary works. In 1971, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Her husband was also honored being knighted for his archaeological work.

Christie died of natural causes on January 12, 1975. She is buried near her home in Wallingford.

Bibliography: 

As Christie wrote prodigiously throughout her life, I will focus on her novels. If you would like to see a complete list of her work, click here.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
The Secret Adversary (1922)
The Murder on the Links (1923)
The Man in the Brown Suit (1924)
The Secret of Chimneys (1925)
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)
The Big Four (1927)
The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928)
The Seven Dials Mystery (1929)
The Murder at the Vicarage (1930)
The Sittaford Mystery (1931)
Peril at End House (1932)
Lord Edgware Dies (1933)
Murder on the Orient Express (1934)
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (1934)
Three Act Tragedy (1935)
Death in the Clouds (1935)
The A.B.C. Murders (1936)
Murder in Mesopotamia (1936)
Cards on the Table (1936)
Dumb Witness (1937)
Death on the Nile (1937)
Appointment with Death (1938)
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (1938)
Murder is Easy (1939)
And Then There Were None (1939)
Sad Cypress (1940)
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (1940)
Evil Under the Sun (1941)
N or M? (1941)
The Body in the Library (1942)
Five Little Pigs (1942)
The Moving Finger (1942)
Towards Zero (1944)
Death Comes as the End (1944)
Sparkling Cyanide (1945)
The Hollow (1946)
Taken at the Flood (1948)
Crooked House (1949)
A Murder is Announced (1950)
They Came to Baghdad (1951)
Mrs. McGinty’s Dead (1952)
They Do It with Mirrors (1952)
After the Funeral (1953)
A Pocket Full of Rye (1953)
Destination Unknown (1954)
Hickory Dickory Dock (1955)
Dead Man’s Folly (1956)
4:50 from Paddington (1957)
Ordeal by Innocence (1958)
Cat Among the Pigeons (1959)
The Pale Horse (1961)
The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side (1962)
The Clocks (1963)
A Caribbean Mystery (1964)
At Bertram’s Hotel (1965)
Third Girl (1966)
Endless Night (1967)
By the Pricking of My Thumbs (1968)
Halloween Party (1969)
Passenger to Frankfurt (1970)
Nemesis (1971)
Elephants Can Remember (1972)
Postern of Fate (1973)
Curtain (1975)
Sleeping Murder (1976)

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