Agatha Christie: Queen Of The Mystery Genre

Agatha Christie: Queen of the Mystery Genre
Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born to Mr. and Mrs. Fred Miller of Torquay,
Devon, England. Researchers debate on the year in which she was born, but it was
September 15 in either 1890 or 1891. Her father was an American who lived with his
British wife in Torquay. At the time, her parents did not realize that their daughter would
one day become a famous English author, writing an insatiable amount of novels and
plays. Her focus was mainly on the mystery genre of literature. She was married two
times, and bore one daughter by her first husband. In 1971, five years before her death,
Christie was given the prestigious title of a Dame Commander of the Order of the British
Empire. She died January 12, 1976 at Wallingford in Oxfordshire (Prichard
Agatha Miller was born the third child to her parents, Fred and Mary Miller. She
grew up in Torquay, Devon, England. She was taught at home by her mother and several
tutors and governesses, never attending a real school. As a child, Miller kept herself
occupied by inventing games to play with her siblings. Not being around other children
besides her siblings made Miller a shy child. She was not outspoken in her thoughts, so
she expressed her feelings in music. Later in life, she would turn to writing as a means of
expression (Yaffe [email protected]).
Agatha Miller’s first husband was Archibald Christie, who was a World War I
fighter pilot. The newlywed Mrs. Christie worked as a nurse while her husband was off at
war. Through her nursing experiences, she learned of many new drugs on the market.
These drugs fascinated her, thus prompting her to use them as factors in several of her
Graham 2
works. Her marriage to Christie lasted only twelve years, and they were divorced in
1926. Not long after her divorce from her first husband, Christie disappeared without a
trace for a short period of ten days. She was found at a resort hotel, claiming to be a
victim of amnesia caused by emotional stress. Agatha Christie had checked into the hotel
under the alias Theresa Neele; Neele being the surname of her husband’s mistress. After a
full memory recovery, Christie claimed for the rest of her life that she truly suffered
amnesia. Some critics say that Christie faked her amnesia to do two things. The first was
to get revenge on her ex-husband, Archibald Christie, for running off with another woman.
The second reason of the assumed fake disappearance was possibly to gain publicity for
her new books. Whether Christie really suffered amnesia or not, the so-called publicity
stunt worked. It brought her name into the press then more than it had ever been before
A few years after her recovery, she met and married a man named Max Mallowan.
However, she kept the Christie surname for publicity reasons. Max Mallowan was a
young archaeologist specializing in the Middle East. Christie and Mallowan lived happily
for years in Baghdad, Iraq, while she continued to write and he continued to do
archaeological research. She even accompanied him on some of his archaeological digs in
different parts of the Middle East. Christie’s marriage to Mallowan was a success, for
they stayed together until her death in 1976 (Encarta 1999).
Agatha Christie used her life as the basis of many of her writings. In her first
book, “The Mystery Affair at Styles”, Christie used her nursing experiences to make the
book enjoyable. Several of her books include death by poisoning. Christie gained this
knowledge also from her experience as a nurse during World War I. Two of the main
characters used in most of Christie’s works were Miss Jane Marple, an elderly spinster
with enough spare time on her hands to do a little unprofessional detective work, and
Hercule Poirot, a clever sleuth also created by Christie. The most famous novel depicting
Graham 3
Hercule Poirot is “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd”. This book is a subtle masterpiece of
misdirection, and created quite a public sensation. It was probably the greatest
achievement of this time period. Hercule Poirot is probably best remembered by his
oddly-shaped mustache and his egg-shaped head. Poirot also thought very highly of
himself. Hercule Poirot has been portrayed in Christie films by such actors as Tony
Randall and Albert Finney. Finney received an Academy Award for his portrayal of Poirot
in Murder on the Orient Express (Yaffe [email protected]).
As stated before, Miss Jane