Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Happy Birthday Dame Agatha!

Agatha Christie is the undisputed goddess of mystery for all mystery genre writers and readers the world over.

The Guinness Book of World Records lists Christie as the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly 2 billion copies, and her estate claims that her works come third in the rankings of the world's most-widely published books,behind only Shakespeare's works and the Bible. According to Index Translationum, she remains the most-translated individual author – having been translated into at least 103 languages. And Then There Were None is Christie's best-selling novel with 100 million sales to date, making it the world's best-selling mystery ever, and one of the best-selling books of all time. (From Wiki)

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, was born into a wealthy family on September 15, 1890 and died on January 12, 1976.

She was the consummate English crime novelist, short story writer and playwright. She also wrote six romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best known for the 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections that she wrote under her own name, most of which revolve around the investigative work of such characters as Hercule Poirot, Jane Marple, Parker Pyne, Harley Quin/Mr Satterthwaite and Tommy and Tuppence Beresford. She wrote the world's longest-running play, a murder mystery, The Mousetrap. In 1971 she was made a Dame for her contribution to literature.

Christie served in a hospital during the First World War before marrying Archibald Christie and starting a family in London. She was initially unsuccessful at getting her work published, but in 1920 The Bodley Head press published her novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring the character of Hercule Poirot.


In late 1926, Archie asked Agatha for a divorce. He was in love with Nancy Neele. In December of 1926, the Christies quarrelled, and Archie left their house, Styles, to spend the weekend with his mistress. That same evening Christie disappeared from her home, leaving behind a letter for her secretary saying that she was going to Yorkshire. Her car was later found above a chalk quarry, with an expired driving licence and clothes.

Her disappearance caused an outcry from the public. A newspaper offered a £100 reward. Over a thousand police officers and 15,000 volunteers scoured the land. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gave a spirit medium one of Christie's gloves to find the missing woman. Dorothy L. Sayers visited the house in Surrey, later using the scene in her book Unnatural Death.

 On December 14, 1926, she was found at the Swan Hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire, registered as Mrs Teresa Neele (the surname of her husband's lover) from Cape Town.

Two doctors diagnosed her as suffering from amnesia. Why did she disappear? She's never said. She was known to be in a depressed state from overwork, her mother's death earlier that year, and her husband's infidelity. Public reaction at the time was largely negative, supposing a publicity stunt or attempt to frame her husband for murder.

Christie makes no mention of the event in her autobiography, but it is now largely believed that she disappeared to embarrass her husband. They divorced and he went on to marry Neele. Agatha married her second husband, Max Mallowan. She had met the archeologist at an archeology dig.

So, Agatha, the great mystery writer, remains shrouded in, quite naturally, a mystery.

I lay my love for mystery reading and writing at her clever feet. She was, and still is, the best.

Gerrie Ferris Finger



Happy Reading, and
Trust you are resting in peace, Dame Agatha.