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The British writer Agatha Christie (1890-1976) kept countless readers awake until the wee hours with over 2 billion printed copies of her books. On occasion, the mystery of her personal life – including a high-profile disappearance in the 1920s – has rivaled the best of her fiction. Let’s take a look at some of the verifiable details of the famous crime writer’s life and times.

1. Agatha Christie’s mother was against her daughter’s learning to read.

Before Agatha Christie became a best-selling writer, she was really in danger of becoming illiterate. Her mother allegedly opposed her daughter, who studied to read by the age of eight (Christie taught herself) and insisted on homeschooling the budding writer. Ms. Christie refused to give Agatha a formal education until she was 1

5 when her family sent her to a Paris high school.

2. Agatha Christie’s first novel was written on a challenge.

After a youth spent reading books and writing stories, Christie’s sister Madge dared her sibling to attack a novel project. Christie accepted the challenge and wrote The mysterious thing about Styles, a puzzle involving a sick soldier who is involved in poisoning on a friend’s estate. The novel with Hercule Poirot was rejected by six publishers before it was printed in 1920.

3. Hercule Poirot was based on a real person.

The preppy Poirot, a mustache detective who pursued a gentleman solving a crime, might be Christie’s most famous creation. Christie is said to have been inspired when she spotted a Belgian getting on a bus in the early 1910s. He supposedly looked a bit strange, had strange facial hair style and a questioning expression. The debut of his fictional counterpart in The mysterious thing about Styles would be Poirot’s first of more than 40 appearances.

4. Agatha Christie disappeared once for 10 days.

In 1926 Christie, who already had a large and loyal fan base, left her home in London without a trace. It could have been the start of one of their dirty stories, especially since her husband Archie recently announced that he had fallen in love with another woman and was about to get a divorce. A police manhunt ensued, but it was unnecessary: ​​Christie had simply driven out of town to a spa, possibly to distract herself from her turbulent private life. The author did not mention it in her later autobiography; Some speculated it was a publicity stunt while others believed the family’s claim that they had experienced an amnesia event.

5. Agatha Christie was not particularly violent at work.

While murder is usually required to start a crime thriller, Christie’s preferred method of killing her characters was poison: she had worked in a pharmacy during the war and had an in-depth knowledge of medicines. Their protagonists seldom carried a weapon; Her two most famous detectives, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, were virtual pacifists.

6. Agatha Christie had an alias.

Not all of Christie’s work had a death rate. From 1930 to 1956 she wrote six romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. The pseudonym was a construct of her middle name Mary, with Westmacott being the last name of her relatives.

7. Agatha Christie loved surfing.

The image of Christie as the matronly writer of mysteries is the most easily recognized by readers, but there was a time when Christie could catch waves. Together with her husband Archie, Christie took a trip in 1922 that began in South Africa and ended in Honolulu. With each step, the couple became increasingly able to ride surfboards. Some historians believe that they may even have been the first British surfers to learn to ride standing up.

8. Agatha Christie did not take a picture of an author.

Although she wasn’t specifically camera shy – Christie often took photos while traveling – she didn’t seem to like the fact that her photo appeared on the dust jackets of her novels and once insisted that they be displayed without resemblance. It is likely that Christie chose not to be publicly recognized.

9. Agatha Christie took a detective oath.

The London Detection Club or Famous Detection Club was founded in 1928 by the writer Anthony Berkeley and was a social gathering of well-known crime writers in England. The members “swore” (tongue mostly on the cheek) never to withhold important information from their readers and never to use completely fictitious poisons as a crutch. Christie was a well-respected member and assumed the role of Honorary President in 1956 on condition that she never spoke.

10. Agatha Christie tried her best to quit smoking.

While it soon gained a reputation for killing its followers, smoking was once so revered that it seemed uncommon not to take a puff. Shortly after the end of World War I, Christie was quoted as saying she was disappointed that she couldn’t accept the habit even though she tried.

11. Agatha Christie wrote a piece that may never stop playing.

The curtain was drawn first mousetrap 1952 in the West End of London. More than 60 years later, it is still performing regularly, surpassing 25,000 shows in 2012. The play – about a group of people trapped in a snow-covered hut with a murderer among them – was originally a radio story, Three blind micewritten in 1947 at the behest of Queen Mary.

12. Agatha Christie loved archeology.

After the divorce of the alleged Cad Archie, Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan in 1930 and accompanied him on regular expeditions to Syria and Iraq. In 2015, HarperCollins released Come tell me how you live, the author’s long-forgotten 1946 memory of her travel experiences. Although she helped her husband dig, she never stopped working on her writing: her preferred mode of transport was often the Orient Express, a fact that likely inspired her Murder on the Orient Express.

13. At least one of Agatha Christie’s fictional “victims” was inspired by a real nuisance.

When Mallowan married Christie, he was an assistant to the renowned archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley. This fact angered Woolley’s wife, who refused to let Christie stay in an excavation camp in Mesopotamia. Mallowan had to take a train to Baghdad every evening to see her. Christie was soon writing Murder in Mesopotamia: The victim was the wife of an archeology field director who was struck with an ancient mace. Christie dedicated the book to the Woolleys, who never joined Mallowan on an expedition again.

14. You can rent Agatha Christie’s old house.

If you want to live in the same property as Christie, you can rent her former home in Devonshire, England. The centuries-old house was Christie’s summer vacation in the 1950s; Parts of it are rented to individuals or groups for $ 500 per night. Some furniture and a piano that once belonged to the author remain in the residence.

fifteen. The New York Times ran an obituary for Hercule Poirot when he “died”.

Like Arthur Conan Doyle before her, Christie eventually tired of her trademark and set about killing Hercule Poirot in the 1975 novel curtain. The reaction to his death was so violent that The New York Times published a front page “Obituary” on the figure on August 6. Christie died the following year.

This story has been updated for 2020.

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