Hear the name Agatha Christie and you immediately conjure up images of the unassuming Miss Marple and ever-dapper Hercule Poirot. These two fabulous, fictional detectives were to become Christie’s most famous characters, leading her to be named the best-selling novelist of all time by The Guinness Book of Records.
Today, she’s sold an incredible two billion books around the world, which have been translated into hundreds of languages. But where did it all begin?
Born in the quiet seaside town of Torquay in September 1890, Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was home-schooled and taught herself to read aged five.
Her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was published in 1920 but only after being rejected by six different publishers. But this was the start of a truly illustrious career that spanned almost five decades and included 75 novels, 28 collections, seven radio broadcast works, 16 plays, two autobiographies and three poems.
We’ve all got our favourite Agatha Christie mysteries – The ABC Murders, The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side and Curtain among them – but Agatha herself named Witness for the Prosecution her most beloved work.
But it wasn’t just her novels that Christie was famous for. She also penned what has now become the longest-running play, The Mousetrap, which started life as a radio play in 1947, and novels Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile went on to become well-loved film adaptations. In fact, filming as already begun on a small screen remake of her 1961 work, The Pale Horse, for BBC1. Starring Rufus Sewell and Sean Pertwee, broadcast dates have yet to be announced, so keep your eyes peeled!
Christie may have been best known for her crime stories, but she also released six romantic novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, which were semi-autobiographical.
Christie was made a Dame (DBE) in 1971 for her contributions to literature and she continued her passion for writing right up until the end. Her final novel – a Miss Marple mystery entitled Sleeping Murder – was published in 1976, the year she died.
In the words of a certain Belgian detective: “It is the little grey cells, mon ami, on which one must rely.” And when you consider all the amazing storylines Agatha Christie created over the years, she must have had plenty of those.
If you are a fan of murder mysteries, Jubilee Lodge and Netley Waterside House host murder mystery nights on our Museums & Galleries weeks.
To find out more information, or to book yourself in for a killer break, contact the team on 0303 303 0145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org