Appointed the title of “Dame” by the Queen of England, Agatha Christie was, and always will be the ruler of all things mystery. Known for The Mousetrap, the world’s longest-running play, Christie was talented beyond her time. The Mysterious Afair at Styles, And Then There Were None, and The Murder of Rodger Ackroyd—to name a few—were all major hits and are still read today.
Let’s celebrate her 126th birthday by getting to know more about this powerful literary icon:
Christie: The Early Years
- Born into a wealthy upper-middle-class family, Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was the daughter of a wealthy stockbroker.
- Her household held esoteric beliefs, like that her mother was a psychic.
- Other than piano and mandolin, Christie’s main hobby was reading.
- For the most part, Christie kept to herself, rather than making friends. She preferred to spend time with her pets.
- When her mother grew ill, Christie spent time with her in Cairo, and developed an interest in archaeology and Egyptology, which would later become prominent in her work.
An Artsy Inclination
- Christie returned home and continued writing, sometimes putting on amateur plays wth friends.
- She later served in a hospital during the First World War.
- In search of a husband, Christie attended the equivalent of mixers today, always with her mother. She dated four men, engaged to one, before getting married to Archibald “Archie” Christie, a British businessman and military officer.
- Initially, she had no luck getting published, until 1920, when The Bodley Head press published The Mysterious Affair at Styles.
- It was in 1926, after having a daughter together that Archie asked Agatha for a divorce. He’d fallen for another woman, Nancy Neele, a friend of a Major in the war. It was in December that the Christie’s argued, and Archie left home to spend the weekend with his mistress.
- Christie disappeared after this, leaving behind a letter for her secretary, saying she was going to Yorkshire. But her car was later found abandoned, with an expired license and some clothes.
- Mayhem occurred after this with rewards and volunteers looking for her. Arthur Conan Doyle even gave a spirit medium one of Christie’s gloves to help find her.
- Ten days later, she was found in a hotel under the surname of her husband’s mistress. There is speculation as to why she did all this, but remember, her husband was unfaithful, her mother had died by this point, and she’d been overworked—putting out story after story.
- The divorce occurred in 1928, and Archie married Nancy Neele. Agatha kept their daughter and the name, for her writing.
A Happy Ending
- Two years later, Christie married archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan. They lived happily ever after, until Christie’s death in 1976. She was 85.
- She is the world’s best-selling author, literally of all time. The only works punished more than her books are Shakespeare’s and the Bible.
Agatha Christie is proof that a woman can do great things, despite what society says. She achieved success during a time in which men ruled the world.