Most readers would be aware of the great Agatha Christie, aptly called the Queen of Crime. Her books have sold over a hundred million copies worldwide and have been translated into over a hundred languages. Despite being one of the most famous authors worldwide, she was by no accounts an open book. She preferred to live a quiet life under the radar of public scrutiny because she was painfully shy, as she described in her autobiography. This, however, did not mean that she led a boring life; oftentimes, her real-life experiences served as inspiration for her novels. Here are some facts about the Queen of Crime that every fan should know to have a portrait of her as a person.
Interesting Agatha Christe Facts!
1. She had no playmates when she was young, as she was timid and her siblings were much older than her. She had to rely on her imagination for fun and taught herself how to read books at the age of four, as she was very fond of stories—a trait which would stick around life-long and eventually become her mode of income and fame.
2. She was also a sensitive child, and once, on a horseback expedition with her father, their Guide presented her with a beautiful butterfly he had trapped. He fixed it to her hat with a pin, and she was horrified but did not say anything not to hurt the Guide’s feelings. She suffered in silence the whole day, and no one knew the reason except for her mother, who immediately realized what was bothering young Agatha and removed the butterfly from her hat, ending her suffering. This anecdote is retold in one of her Mary Westmacott, The Unfinished Portrait, which is her semi-autobiography.
3. She claimed in her autobiography that she gets story and title ideas from random snippets of conversation in public she overhears. Her second book, The Secret Adversary (1922), was also based on an idea she got when she overheard two women conversing about someone called Jane Fish. The conversation gave her an idea for a plot, which led to the creation of her lesser-known young detective couple, Tommy and Tuppence.
4. She was a debutante in Egypt, where her experiences prompted her to write her first novel, Snow Upon the Desert, which unfortunately was rejected by many publishers and never published. She also wrote short stories during this period, such as The House of Beauty, The Call of Wings, and The Lonely God. All of these short stories, though rejected at first, were revised and published in later years in her short story collections titled The Hound of Death (1933) and While The Light Lasts (1997).
5. She had a whirlwind romance with her first husband, Archibald (Archie) Christie, and married him on Christmas Eve in 1914, during World War I. This marriage led to a daughter in 1919, Rosalind, her only child. It ended in divorce (1928) after her husband had an affair with another woman.
6. She learned about her husband’s betrayal in 1926, soon after her beloved mother’s death. Both these shocking incidents led to Christie’s mental health crisis, and she went missing for eleven days. A nationwide search was conducted as she was a famous author by then. She was found in a hotel booked under the alias Theresa Neele, Neele being her husband’s affair partner’s surname. She never revealed the reason behind her disappearance and claimed she was in a fugue state.
7. The book that she most hated writing was The Mystery of the Blue Train, which she wrote immediately after her divorce.
8. Her propensity for being shy was such that one time, when she was not allowed entry to the premiere party of her stage play Witness for the Prosecution, she was too reticent to reveal her identity and demand access.
9. Her most famous and the longest-running play in the world, The Mousetrap, was originally written as a radio play titled Three Blind Mice for Queen Mary’s birthday (grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II). She gifted the rights for this play to her only grandson, Mathew Prichard, for his birthday. She was always generous and gifted the rights to many of her books to her family and friends.
10. Agatha Christie wanted to explore her literary creativity outside the bounds of detective fiction. Therefore, she decided to write books under the nom du plume, Mary Westmacott (a combination of her middle name and a relative’s family name). She wrote six books using this pseudonym between 1930 and 1956 and had managed to hide her identity for twenty years. These books received moderate success and praise and proved that she was a versatile author.
Agatha Christie was an enigmatic woman with a keen intellect and a great sense of humor. These facts are just a few that showcase that there is more to her persona than just being an author of wildly successful detective novels. To learn more exciting truths about the lady, check out her two autobiographies, Agatha Christie: An Autobiography and Come, Tell Me How You Live, the latter being a detailed account of her life during her second husband Max Mallowan’s archaeological expeditions.
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