Dame Agatha Christie DBE (15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976) was a British crime writer of novels, short stories, and plays. She also wrote romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best remembered for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections (especially those featuring Hercule Poirot or Miss Jane Marple), and her successful West End plays.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly four billion copies, and her estate claims that her works rank third, after those of William Shakespeare and the Bible, as the most widely published books. According to Index ...view middle of the document...
Booker later increased its stake to 64 percent. In 1998, Booker sold its shares to Chorion, a company whose portfolio also includes the literary estates of Enid Blyton and Dennis Wheatley.
In 2004, a 5,000-word story entitled The Incident of the Dog's Ball was found in the attic of the author's daughter. This story was the original version of the novel Dumb Witness. It was published in Britain in September 2009 in John Curran's Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years Of Mysteries, alongside another newly discovered Poirot story called The Capture of Cerberus (a story with the same title, but a different plot, to that published in The Labours Of Hercules). On 10 November 2009, Reuters announced that The Incident of the Dog's Ball will be published by The Strand Magazine.
Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Torquay, Devon, England, UK. Her mother, Clarissa Margaret Boehmer, was the daughter of a British Army captain but had been sent as a child to live with her own mother's sister, who was the second wife of a wealthy American. Eventually Margaret married her stepfather's son from his first marriage, Frederick Alvah Miller, an American stockbroker. Thus, the two women Agatha called "Grannie" were sisters. Despite her father's nationality as a "New Yorker" and her aunt's relation to the Pierpont Morgans, Agatha never claimed United States citizenship or connection.
Agatha was the youngest of three. The Millers had two other children: Margaret Frary Miller (1879–1950), called Madge, who was 11 years Agatha's senior, and Louis Montant Miller (1880–1929), called Monty, 10 years older than Agatha. Later, in her autobiography, Agatha would refer to her brother as "an amiable scapegrace of a brother".
Agatha described herself as having had a very happy childhood. While she never received any formal schooling, she did not lack an education. Her mother believed children should not learn to read until they were eight, but Agatha taught herself to read at four. Her father taught her mathematics via story problems, and the family played question-and-answer games much like today's Trivial Pursuit. She had piano lessons, which she liked, and dance lessons, which she did not. When she could not learn French through formal instruction, the family hired a young woman who spoke nothing but French to be her nanny and companion. Agatha made up stories from a very early age and invented a number of imaginary friends and paracosms. One of them, "The School", with a dozen or so imaginary young women of widely varying temperaments, lasted well into her adult years.
During the First World War, she worked at a hospital as a nurse; she liked the profession, calling it "one of the most rewarding professions that anyone can follow". She later worked at a hospital pharmacy, a job that influenced her work, as many of the murders in her books are carried out with poison.
Despite a turbulent courtship, on Christmas Eve 1914 Agatha married...