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The queen of mystery, Agatha Christie

By: Marley Freitas

The queen of mystery, Agatha Christie will forever be immortalized as the greatest novelist of all time. Even outside of writing timeless novels Agatha had a rich and interesting life. As a child, Agatha lived in America then later moved to France with her family due to money troubles. In France, Agatha attended several boarding schools and even became proficient in piano and music. At the age of 18, Agatha and her family then moved to Cairo seeking relief for her mother’s health issues and to seek more economic support. Agatha, a charismatic and beautiful young woman, was presented with many marriage proposals but only accepted the hand of her dear friend Reginald Lucy. He refused to marry her for two years knowing that should she find better he would want that for her. In 1912, Agatha met Archie Christie. Agatha broke off her engagement to Reginald and married Archie on Christmas Eve 1914. But their newlywed phase was short-lived as World War I began. 

During the First World War Agatha worked as a Red Cross Hospital nurse in Torquay and Archie was a soldier in France. The war was not ideal for their first years of marriage and left them seeing each other minimally in those years but when Archie was posted in the War Office in London their newlywed life could truly begin, then came the creation of Hercule Poirot. 

Agatha’s sister Madge bet that she couldn’t write a good detective mystery, but Agatha was not one to back down from the challenge. While working in Torquay, Agatha met a Belgian refugee who served as the inspiration for the famous Hercule Poirot. The first Hercule Poirot novel is about a murder by poison. The description of the poisoning was so well described that she received a review in the Pharmaceutical Journal, a high praise at the time. After Agatha finished her manuscript, every publisher rejected it, postponing Agatha’s claim to fame. 

The year 1919 became a very fortunate time for the young Christie family. August 5th, 1919 Agatha and Archie welcomed their daughter Rosalinda. Archie also found a job in the city getting them enough money to rent and furnish a flat. Publisher John Lane of The Bodley Head contracted Agatha to write five more books and thus Hercule Poirot and more iconic characters of mystery were able to thrive. 

In 1922, Agatha and Archie journeyed across the British Empire to prompt the Empire Exhibition of 1924. On her journey, Agatha became memorialized as the first British woman to surf standing up. After the trip, Agatha Archie and Rosalinda settled in Sunningdale where Agatha produced her second Poirot novel. Unfortunately, the domestic peace did not last long. 

In 1926 Agatha lost her mother taking a grave toll on her family. Archie fell in love with family friend Nancy Neele, and the affair and Agatha’s deteriorating mental state led to their divorce. One night Agatha left Rosalinda and her house and went on a strange journey. Her car was found abandoned several miles from her house, she then somehow made it to Kings Cross station where she traveled to Harrogate by train and checked into the Swan Hydropathic Hotel under the name Theresa Neele. She was eventually found but did not recognize Archie or know who she was, she suffered from temporary amnesia and never spoke of these events again with friends or family. Agatha, though the process was a struggle as she found it difficult to continue writing, found the strength to produce books to provide for herself and Rosalinda. In 1928 she wrote under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, a fictional story breaking away from her usual mystery genre, allowing her to write something more heartfelt and personal.  

In 1928 Agatha traveled by the Orient Express to the Middle East for a trip on her own as a single woman. It was at the archeological site at Ur where she became dear friends with archaeologist Leanoard Wolley and his wife Katherine. The Wolleys appointed the new archaeologist Max Mallowan with the pleasure of showing Agatha the many historical sites. It was here that Agatha and Max fell in love. The couple was married on September 11, 1930. Traveling with her husband Agatha became an important part of the dig team. Agatha wrote two to three books a year, drawing much inspiration from the atmosphere of the Middle East. 

Agatha began working as a nurse in Torquay again during World War II as Max volunteered for the Home Guard. Agatha continued to write many novels this time using her writing as her escape from the horrors of the war. 

Following the war Agatha lived out peacefully with her husband Max, She continued writing books and plays. The last Poirot novel was released in 1975 The Curtain. Agatha passed away on January 12, 1976. 

Agatha Christie is a truly inspiring woman and author. She lived a rich and full life full of travel and adventure. And she shared it with the world through her novels. The title of the greatest best-selling novelist of all time has been earned.

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