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Agatha Christie

"Her detection skills were based on feminine sensitivity, knowledge of the human character and keen observation. It is said that Christie was inspired by her grandmother"
Agatha Christie
John Moffat as Hercule Poirot
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Born in 1890 in Torquay to an English mother and American father, Agatha was educated at home and encouraged by her mother to write from a very early age.

She married Archibald Christie, an officer in the Royal Flying Corps in 1914 and during World War I she worked in a Red Cross Hospital in Torquay where, it has been said, she picked up a knowledge of poisons which was to serve her well in her future writing career.

Hercule Poirot, one of her most famous characters, made his first appearance in The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920), her first detective novel. Poirot, an amiable, faintly comic character, appears in more than 40 books, the last of which was Curtain (1975). With success of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd in 1925, her fame as a novelist was assured.

Miss Marple, the elderly spinster who was born and lived in the village of St Mary Mead, made her fictional debut in Murder in the Vicarage in 1930 and her last in Sleeping Murder in 1977. Her detection skills were based on feminine sensitivity, knowledge of the human character and keen observation. It is said that Christie drew inspiration from her own grandmother.

The Christie marriage took a downward turn in 1926 when her husband announced that he was in love with a younger woman, called Nancy Neele, and asked Agatha for a divorce.

A bizarre episode now ensued, which has never been truly explained: Agatha Christie, by now a national figure, disappeared for ten days. She was discovered, after much newspaper publicity, registered as Mrs Neele in a hotel in the Lake Harrogate and claimed that she was suffering from amnesia.

Agatha Christie met Max Mallowan, an archaeologist, on her travels in the Near East in 1927 and they married in 1930. On being married to an archaeologist, Christie said "an archaeologist is the best husband any woman can have. The older she gets, the more interested he is in her."

It was in the late 1920s and 1930s that Christie began her prolific writing pattern: four mystery novels, 14 Poirots; two Marples; two Superintendent Battle books; a book of stories featuring Harley Quin and another featuring Parken Pyne; and two original plays. In 1936 she published the first of six psychological thrillers under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott.

Christie maintained that writing pattern until her death in 1976, having written 100 novels in 56 years.

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