Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Agatha Mary Clarissa, Lady Mallowan, DBE (15 September 189012 January 1976), mainly known as Agatha Christie, was an English crime fiction writer. She also wrote romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but is chiefly remembered for her 66 detective novels. Her work with these novels, particularly featuring detectives Hercule Poirot or Miss Jane Marple, have given her the title the 'Queen of Crime' and made her one of the most important and innovative writers in the development of the genre.
Christie has been called—by the Guinness Book of World Records, among others—the best-selling writer of books of all time, and the best-selling writer of any kind second only to William Shakespeare. An estimated one billion copies of her novels have been sold in English, and another billion in 103 other languages.

Agatha Christie's first novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles was published in 1920 and introduced the long-running character detective Hercule Poirot, who appeared in 30 of Christie's novels and 50 short stories.
Her other well known character, Miss Marple, was introduced in The Murder at the Vicarage in 1930, and was based on Christie's grandmother.
During World War II, Christie wrote two novels intended as the last cases of these two great detectives, Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple—respectively, Curtain, in which Poirot is killed, and Sleeping Murder. Both books were sealed in a bank vault for over thirty years, and were released for publication by Christie only at the end of her life, when she realised that she could not write any more novels. These publications came on the heels of the success of the film version of Murder on the Orient Express in 1974.
Like Arthur Conan Doyle, Christie was to become increasingly tired of her detective, Poirot. In fact, by the end of the 1930s, Christie confided to her diary that she was finding Poirot "insufferable", and by the 1960s she felt that he was an "an ego-centric creep". However, unlike Conan Doyle, Christie resisted the temptation to kill her detective off while he was still popular. She saw herself as an entertainer whose job was to produce what the public liked, and what the public liked was Poirot.
In contrast, Christie was fond of Miss Marple. However it is interesting to note that the Belgian detective's titles outnumber the Marple titles by more than two to one.
Poirot is the only fictional character to have been given an obituary in The New York Times, following the publication of Curtain in 1975.
Following the great success of Curtain, Christie gave permission for the release of Sleeping Murder sometime in 1976, but died in January 1976 before the book could be released. This may explain some of the inconsistencies in the book with the rest of the Marple series—for example, Colonel Arthur Bantry, husband of Miss Marple's friend, Dolly, is still alive and well in Sleeping Murder (which, like Curtain, was written in the 1940s) despite the fact he is noted as having died in books that were written after but published before the posthumous release of Sleeping Murder in 1976—such as, The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side. It may be that Christie simply did not have time to revise the manuscript before she died. Miss Marple fared better than Poirot, since after solving the mystery in Sleeping Murder, she returns home to her regular life in Saint Mary Mead.
On an edition of Desert Island Discs in 2007, Brian Aldiss recounted how Agatha Christie told him that she wrote her books up to the last chapter, and then decided who the most unlikely suspect was. She would then go back and make the necessary changes to "frame" that person. [2]

Hercule Poirot & Miss Marple
On 10 August 2007, it was announced that Christie, played by actress Fenella Woolgar, would appear as a character in the 2008 season of the science fiction TV series Doctor Who.

In popular culture

List of works


1924 Poirot Investigates (eleven short stories)
1929 Partners in Crime (fifteen short stories; featuring Tommy and Tuppence)
1930 The Mysterious Mr. Quin (twelve short stories; introducing Mr. Harley Quin)
1933 The Hound of Death (twelve short mysteries)
1933 The Thirteen Problems (thirteen short mysteries; featuring Miss Marple, also known as The Tuesday Club Murders)
1934 Parker Pyne Investigates (twelve short mysteries; introducing Parker Pyne and Ariadne Oliver, also known as Mr. Parker Pyne, Detective)
1934 The Listerdale mystery (twelve short mysteries)
1937 Murder in the Mews (four short stories; featuring Hercule Poirot, also known as Dead Man's Mirror)
1939 Regatta Mystery and Other Stories (nine short stories)
1947 The Labours of Hercules (twelve short mysteries; featuring Hercule Poirot)
1948 The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories (eleven short stories)
1950 Three Blind Mice and Other Stories (nine short stories)
1951 The Under Dog and Other Stories (nine short stories)
1960 The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (six short stories)
1961 Double Sin and Other Stories (eight short stories)
1971 The Golden Ball and Other Stories (fifteen short stories)
1974 Poirot's Early Cases (eighteen short mysteries)
1979 Miss Marple's Final Cases and Two Other Stories (eight short stories)
1991 Problem at Pollensa Bay and Other Stories (eight short stories)
1997 The Harlequin Tea Set (nine short stories)
1997 While the Light Lasts and Other Stories (nine short stories)
1997 Death is not the Worst Thing (twelve short stories) Collections of Short Stories

1930 Behind The Screen written together with Hugh Walpole, Dorothy L. Sayers, Anthony Berkeley, E. C. Bentley and Ronald Knox of the Detection Club. Published in 1983 in The Scoop and Behind The Screen.
1931 The Scoop written together with Dorothy L. Sayers, E. C. Bentley, Anthony Berkeley, Freeman Wills Crofts and Clemence Dane of the Detection Club. Published in 1983 in The Scoop and Behind The Screen.
1931 The Floating Admiral written together with G. K. Chesterton, Dorothy L. Sayers and certain other members of the Detection Club. Co-authored works

1998 Black Coffee
2001 The Unexpected Guest
2003 Spider's Web Plays adapted into novels by Charles Osborne

1930 Giant's Bread
1934 Unfinished Portrait
1944 Absent in the Spring
1948 The Rose and the Yew Tree
1952 A Daughter's a Daughter
1956 The Burden Works written as Mary Westmacott

1928 Alibi
1930 Black Coffee
1936 Love from a Stranger
1937 or 1939 A Daughter's a Daughter (never performed)
1940 Peril at End House
1943 Ten Little Indians
1945 Appointment with Death
1946 Murder on the Nile/Hidden Horizon
1949 Murder at the Vicarage (dramatized from her novel by Moie Charles and Barbara Toy)
1951 The Hollow
1952 The Mousetrap
1953 Witness for the Prosecution
1954 Spider's Web
1956 Towards Zero
1958 Verdict
1958 The Unexpected Guest
1960 Go Back for Murder
1962 Rule of Three
1972 Fiddler's Three (originally written as Fiddler's Five. Never published. The final play she wrote)
1973 Aknaton (written in 1937)
1977 A Murder is Announced
1981 Cards on the Table
1992 Problem at Pollensa Bay
1993 Murder is Easy
2005 And Then There Were None Plays

1937 Yellow Iris
1947 Three Blind Mice Christie's celebrated stage play 'The Mousetrap' was based on this radio play.
1948 Butter In a Lordly Dish
1960 Personal Call (A BBC Radio recording of this play is known to exist) Radio Plays

1937 Wasp's Nest Television Plays

1946 Come Tell Me How You Live
1977 Agatha Christie: An Autobiography Nonfiction

2007 Murder on the Orient Express Adapted by Francois Riviere, Illustrated by Solidor
2007 The Murder on the Links Adapted by Francois Riviere, Illustrated by Marc Piskic
2007 Death on the Nile Adapted by Francois Riviere, Illustrated by Solidor Television and Movie Adaptions

1988 The Scoop (published by Spinnaker Software and Telarium)
2005 Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None
2006 Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express
2007 Death on the Nile "I-Spy" hidden-object game
2007 Agatha Christie: Evil Under the Sun (announced) Video games

Eugenia and Eugenics (stage play)
Snow Upon the Desert (romantic novel)
The Greenshore Folly (detective novella, featuring Hercule Poirot, expanded into the novel Dead Man's Folly)
Personal Call (supernatural radio play, featuring Inspector Narracott - a recording is in the British National Sound Archive)
The Woman and the Kenite (horror) An Italian translation is available on the internet La moglie del Kenita
Butter in a Lordly Dish (horror/detective radio play, adapted from The Woman and the Kenite)
The Green Gate (supernatural)
The War Bride (romantic/supernatural)
The Case of the Dog's Ball (short story, featuring Poirot, expanded to the novel Dumb Witness and related to the short story How Does your Garden Grow?)
Stronger than Death (supernatural)
Being So Very Wilful (romantic)
The Last Seance (stage play)
Someone at the Window (detective stage play, adapted from the short story The Dead Harlequin) Unpublished material
In 2004, the Japanese broadcasting company Nippon Housou Kyoukai turned Poirot and Marple into animated characters in the anime series Agatha Christie's Great Detectives Poirot and Marple, introducing Mabel West (daughter of Miss Marple's mystery-writer nephew Raymond West, a canonical Christie character) and her duck Oliver as new characters.
Agatha Christie
See also