"One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is to have a happy childhood. I had a very happy childhood." Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie was born on September 15th 1890, in Ashfield, Torquay, Devonshire. Christie would describe her childhood as "very happy", and was surrounded by strong and independent women from an early age. Agatha was raised with various beliefs, and like her siblings believed that their mother Clara was a psychic with the ability of second sight. Agatha’s mom instisted on her home education, so her parents were responsible to teach her how to read and write in life. Agatha especially enyojed in subject named arithmetic. So they taught her to perform that. They also teached her about music, and she played piano and the mandolin. She showed her love for reading in her early age, and from her childhood memories were those of reading the children's books written by Mrs Molesworth, including The Adventures of Herr Baby (1881), Christmas Tree Land (1897) and The Magic Nuts (1898). Because of homeschool, she was separated from the other children, and spent most of her time alone, or with pets, whom she adored. Eventually making friends with a group of other girls in Torquay, she noted that “one of the highlights of my existence” was her appearance with them in a youth production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Yeomen of the Guard, in which she played the hero, Colonel Fairfax . This was to be her last operatic role, for as she later wrote, “an experience that you really enjoyed should never be repeated”.
Her father suffered from a series of heart attacks, and was ill very often. He died in age of 55, leaving his family devastated and in extremely bad economic situation. Agahta later said that her father’s death, when she was 11, marked the end of her childhood. Later, she was sent to Miss Guyer's Girls School in Torquay, to recive formal education and continue it like most of the kids. But she found it really hard to adjust to discipline in school. In 1905 she was then sent to Paris, where she was educated in three pensions – Mademoiselle Cabernet's, Les Marroniers and then Miss Dryden's – the last of which served primarily as a finishing school.
First writing attempts
When Agatha came back to England, she discovered that her mother Clara was very ill. She and her mother decided to spend quality time in popular tourist destination with beautiful weather called Cairo.Returning to Britain, she continued her social activities. Writing and performing in amateur theatrics, she also helped put on a play called The Blue Beard of Unhappiness with female friends. Her writing extended to both poetry and music. Some early works saw publication, but she decided against focusing on either of these as future professions. Her first short story "The House of Beauty" was made while she was recovering in bad from illnes. This story was inspired by her fascination with subject “madness and dreams” and had 6000 words. Biographer Janet Morgan later commented that despite "infelicities of style", the story was nevertheless "compelling".Other shorts followed, most of them illustrating her interest in spiritualism and the paranormal. These included "The Call of Wings" and "The Little Lonely God". Many of magazines rejected all her submissions, even though, many of these stories are later published, but with new tittles. Christie then set her first novel, “Snow Upon the Desert”, in Cairo, and drew from her recent experiences in that city. Under the pseudonym Monosyllaba, she was perturbed when various publishers all declined. Agatha’s mom, suggested her daughter to ask for advice family friend, successful writer Eden Philpotts. Philpotts obliged her enquiry, encouraged her writing, and sent her an introduction to his literary agent, Hughes Massie. However, he also rejected “Snow Upon the Deser”, and suggested a second novel.
Agatha,meanwhile, continued search for a husband. She met Archibald Chriestie at at a dance given by Lord and Lady Clifford of Chudleigh at Ugbrooke. Archie had been born in India, the son of a judge in the Indian Civil Service. He was an army officer who was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps in April 1913. The couple quickly fell in love. Later ,Archie proposed to Agatha and she accepted.
In August, with outbreak of World War I, Archie was sent to fught German forces in August 1914. Agatha involved herself in the war effort, joining the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) in 1914, and attending to wounded soldiers at a hospital in Torquay.
Christie had long been a fan of detective novels, having enjoyed Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White and The Moonstone as well as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's early Sherlock Holmes stories. She wrote her own detective novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles featuring Hercule Poirot. “The second adversary”, Christie’s second novel, featured a new detective couple Tommy And Tuppence. A third novel again featured Poirot, “Murder on the Links”
When her husband fell in love with other women and asked Agatha for divorce she started changing. The same day Archie left the house to live with his new love, she disappeared from the house leaving only a letter saying she’s going to Yorkshire. Her car was later found by the lake with an expired driving licence and clothes. Despite over a thousand police officers, 15,000 volunteers, newspapers and news she was not found for 10 days. Her missing was featured on the front page of The New York Times. On 14 December 1926, she was found at the Swan Hydropathic Hotel, in Harrogate, Yorkshire, registered as Mrs Teresa Neele from Cape Town. Two doctors diagnosed her suffering from depression. Her mother's death earlier that year and her husband's infidelity were main reason for her disappearance. Public comments were mainly negative supposing a publicity stunt.
Interests and influences
Agatha was interested in Archaeology even when she was very little girl. On a trip to Ur 1930, she met her future husband Sir Max Mallowan, a distinguished archaeologist. Christie had not anything with archeology but once they got married they made sure to only go to sites where they could work together.
“The lure of the past came up to grab me. To see a dagger slowly appearing, with its gold glint, through the sand was romantic. The carefulness of lifting pots and objects from the soil filled me with a longing to be an archaeologist myself.”
“Many years ago, when I was once saying sadly to Max it was a pity I couldn't have taken up archaeology when I was a girl, so as to be more knowledgeable on the subject, he said, "Don't you realize that at this moment you know more about prehistoric pottery than any woman in England?"
Christie not only wrote novels and short stories, but also contributed work to the archaeological sites. From 8 November 2001 to 24 March 2002, The British Museum had an exhibit named Agatha Christie and Archaeology: Mystery in Mesopotamia, which presented the secret life of Agatha Christie and the influences of archaeology in her life and works.
Murder in Mesopotamia (1936) – The most archaeologically influenced of all her novels.
Death on the Nile (1937) – One of the main characters, Signor Richetti, is an archaeologist.
They Came to Baghdad (1951) – Involves an archaeologist as the heroine's love interest.
Christie's life within the archaeological world shaped not only the settings and characters for her books but also the issues she highlights. One of the stronger influences is her love of the mystical and mysterious. Many of Christie's books and short stories set both in the Middle East and back in England have a decidedly otherworldly influence in which religious sects, sacrifices, ceremony, and seances play a part. Such stories include "The Hound of Death" and "The Idol House of Astarte". This theme was greatly strengthened by those times Christie spent in the Middle East where she was consistently surrounded by the religious temples and spiritual history of the towns and cities they were excavating during Mallowan's archaeological work.
And so a lifelong passion began…
She spent most of her time alone, imaging her frends, painting her own world and running trough garden. That is how she fostered an extraordinary imagination. Agatha was alntgways saying that she didn’t have any ambition to became a writer, even though her first poem was printed in a local London newspaper. And so a lifelong passion began.. By her late teens she had had several poems published in The Poetry Review and written a number of short stories. But it was her sister’s challenge to write a detective story that would later spark what would become her illustrious career. Agatha Christie is the only mystery writer to have created two world famous detectives - Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple.
Poirot is born
During First World War Agatha discovered her love for detectives and started writing detective novels. She had some trouble finishing her first story The Mysterious Affair at Styles, and even more trouble finding a publisher. 1919 was a momentous year for Agatha. With the end of the war, Archie had found a job in the City and they had just enough money to rent and furnish a flat in London. Later that year, on the 5th August, Agatha gave birth to their only daughter, Rosalind. It was also the year that a publisher, John Lane of The Bodley Head, and the fourth to have received the manuscript, accepted The Mysterious Affair at Styles for publication and contracted Agatha to produce five more books. Inspiration for Detective Poirot came during the First World War. There were Belgian refugees in most parts of the English countryside. He was not based on any particular person, Agatha thought that a Belgian refugee, a former great Belgian policeman, would make an excellent detective for The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Hercule Poirot was born.
Miss Jane Marple doesn’t look like your average detective. Quite frankly, she doesn’t look like a detective at all. But looks can be deceiving... For a woman who has spent her life in the small village of St Mary Mead, Miss Marple is surprisingly worldly. But as she often points out she has had every opportunity to observe human nature.
"There was no unkindness in Miss Marple, she just did not trust people. Though she expected the worst, she often accepted people kindly in spite of what they were." - Agatha Christie, An Autobiography
Tomy and Tuppence
The Secret Adversary was the first Christie novel to be adapted for film in 1928. It's a partnership that begins as young Tuppence Cowley bumps into her old friend Tommy Beresford at Dover Street tube station. After war Agatha experienced struggling from work finding a new sense of purpose was a common plight for the upper middle class of their generation. Tuppence’s idea, to hire themselves out as adventurers, becomes a lifelong journey for the duo and takes them through four novels and one short story collection.
4. Lists of works and adaptations
List of short stories by Agatha Christie
She wrote 153 stories in 14 collections and List of short stories contains all of them . Just some of them are:
"The Adventure of 'The Western Star'"
"The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor"
"The Adventure of the Cheap Flat"
"The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge"
"The Million Dollar Bond Robbery"
"The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb"
"The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan"
"The Kidnapped Prime Minister"
"The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim"
"The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman"
"The Case of the Missing Will"
Partners in crime
"A Fairy in the Flat" Partners in Crime
"A Pot of Tea"
"The Affair of the Pink Pearl"
"The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger"
"Finessing the King/The Gentleman Dressed in Newspaper"
"The Case of the Missing Lady"
"The Man in the Mist"
"The Sunningdale Mystery"
"The House of Lurking Death"
"The Unbreakable Alibi"
"The Clergyman’s Daughter/The Red House"
"The Ambassador’s Boots"
The Mysterious Mr Quin
"The Coming of Mr. Quin"
"The Shadow on the Glass"
"At the 'Bells and Motley'"
"The Sign in the Sky"
"The Soul of the Croupier"
"The Man from the Sea"
"The Voice in the Dark"
"The Face of Helen"
"The Dead Harlequin"
"The Bird with the Broken Wing"
"The World’s End"
The Thirteen Problems
"The Tuesday Night Club"
"The Idol House of Astarte"
"Ingots of Gold"
"The Blood-Stained Pavement"
"Motive v. Opportunity"
"The Thumb Mark of St. Peter"
"The Blue Geranium"
"The Four Suspects"
"A Christmas Tragedy"
"The Herb of Death"
"The Affair at the Bungalow"
Love from a Stranger (Based on the stage play of the same name from the short story Philomel Cottage)
The Murder at the Vicarage
Why Didn't They Ask Evans?
Partners in Crime
Spider's Web (Based on the stage play of the same name)
A Caribbean Mystery
Murder with Mirrors
The Murder on the Links (2007)
Murder on the Orient Express (2007)
Death on the Nile (2007)
The Secret of Chimneys (2007)
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (2007
The Mystery of the Blue Train (2007)
The Man in the Brown (2007)
Dumb Witness (2009)
Cards on the Table (2010)
Five Little Pigs (2010)
Dead Man's Folly (2012)
Evil Under the Sun (2013)
Agatha Christie's estate and subsequent ownership of works
Agatha set her own private company Agatha Christie Limited to hold rights to her work, and around 1959 she had also transferred her 278-acre home, Greenway Estate, to her daughter Rosalind. When Christie was almost 80 years old, she sold a 51% stake in Agatha Christie Limited to Booker Books (better known as Booker Author's Division), a subsidiary of the British food and transport conglomerate Booker-McConnell, the founder of the Booker Prize for literature, which later increased its stake to 64%. Agatha Christie Limited remains the owner of the worldwide rights for over 80 of Christie's novels and short stories, 19 plays, and nearly 40 TV films.
Last public appearance and peaceful death
She had her last public appearance at opening night of the 1974 film version of Murder on the Orient Express starring Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot. Her verdict: a good adaptation with the minor point that Poirot's moustaches weren't luxurious enough.
Dame Agatha Christie died on 12 January 1976 at age 85 from natural causes at her Winterbrook House. After very happy life and extremely successful carrier, she closed her eyes peacefully because she knew that she accomplished everything she wanted.