Murder She Wrote...

Sep 16, 2015 By Anita R
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Writer, Traveler, Playwright, Wife, Mother, Surfer. These are words that describe Agatha Christie on her official website.

To her fanatical readers, she was the ultimate "Queen of Crime" - one who would weave murder mysteries while keeping her readers filled with suspense until the very end. 

Agatha Christie was a prolific writer. During her lifetime she published 83 books - including novels, romances written under the pseudonym (pen name) Mary Westmacott, short stories and plays. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Christie was the best-selling novelist of all times. Her novels have sold about 2 billion copies and she is ranked third among the most-widely published books after the Bible and Shakespeare!

Agatha died in 1976. Had she been alive, on September 15th this year, she would have turned 125 years. On this landmark anniversary, Agatha Christie Ltd. - the company that manages her estate, celebrated the occasion by organizing walking tours and murder mystery weekend outings.

Her Life

Agatha Miller was born in Torquay, England in 1890. Growing up in a household surrounded by strong independent women like her mother and grandmother greatly influenced her. She was a voracious reader and despite her mother's disapproval, taught herself to read at a very young age. Once when she was unwell and had read all the books she could lay her hands on, her mother encouraged her to write and thus began her journey with the pen (and typewriter).

Agatha married Archibald Christie, an army officer and toured the world with him. She was a keen observer and listener and would take down extensive notes which she would often weave into her plots.

During World War I, Agatha volunteered to be a nurse. Working with the local pharmacist, she learned a lot about poisons, dosage, and their effects, all of which would feature in her many crime novels. Her fascination with human character, combined with her love for mystery would often reveal themselves in her plots. Later in life, Agatha married an archeologist Sir Max Mallowan. Her travels with her second husband to various excavation sites served as fodder for her later novels.

A Unique Style

Christie introduced some unique classic mystery structure to her detective novels. Her style of writing was simple and would usually be sparked by simple everyday conversations or observations.

A murder is committed, there are multiple suspects who are all concealing secrets, the detective gradually uncovers the secrets over the course of the story, with many shocking twists. In the end, the detective usually gathers the surviving suspects into one room, explains the reasoning and reveals the guilty party.

Agatha created and immortalized the fictional characters Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, who are celebrities in their own right. To honor her many literary works, Agatha Christie was knighted in 1971. Among her extensive and carefully preserved notes, Dame Agatha has captured the essence of her writing in six simple words - Who? Why? When? How? Where? and Which?

Thinking of writing your own mystery novel? Don't forget the secret formula of Dame Agatha! 

Courtesy: Agathachristie.com, BBC, Others