Agatha Christie was a British crime writer of novels, short stories, and plays. She is best remembered for her 66 detective novels and more than 15 short story collections, most of which revolve around the investigations of such characters as Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple and Tommy and Tuppence.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records,Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly four billion copies, and her estate claims that her works rank third, after those of William Shakespeare and the Bible, as the world's most widely published books.
Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born on 15 September 1890 in Torquay, England. Her father, Frederick, was an outgoing American with an independent income.Her mother, Clara, was rather shy; Agatha resembled her greatly in personality. There were two other children - Madge and Monty, both older than Agatha.
Although Madge received a formal education, Clara decided Agatha should not. She intended that Agatha be taught to read when she was eight; however, by the age of five Agatha had already taught herself to read. The rest of her education wasthrough a mixture of tutors, part-time schooling and French finishing schools. She also trained as a singer and pianist and had it not been for her extreme shyness, she had the talent to have made this her career.
Christie would describe her childhood as "very happy", and was surrounded by a series of strong and independent women from an early age. Her time was spent alternating between herDevonshire home, her grandmother's house in Ealing, West London and parts of Southern Europe, where her family would holiday during the winter. Nominally Christian, she was also raised in a household with various esoteric beliefs, and like her siblings believed that their mother Clara was a psychic with the ability of second sight. Her mother insisted that she receive a home education,and so her parents were responsible for teaching her to read and write, and to be able to perform basic arithmetic, a subject that she particularly enjoyed. They also taught her about music, and she learned to play both the piano and the mandolin. A voracious reader from an early age, among her earliest memories were those of reading the children's books written by Mrs Molesworth, including TheAdventures of Herr Baby (1881), Christmas Tree Land (1897) and The Magic Nuts (1898). She also read the work of Edith Nesbit, including The Story of the Treasure Seekers (1899), The Phoenix and the Carpet (1903) and The Railway Children (1906). When a little older she moved on to reading the surreal verse of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll. Much of her childhood was spent largely alone andseparate from other children, although she spent much time with her pets, whom she adored. Eventually making friends with a group of other girls in Torquay, she noted that "one of the highlights of my existence" was her appearance in a local theatrical production of The Yeoman of the Guard where she starred alongside them.
When Agatha was eleven her father died and she became even closer to hermother. Without Frederick, Clara became restless and began to travel, at times taking Agatha with her; these early trips began Agatha's lifelong love of travel.
Returning to England in 1910, Agatha found that her mother had been taken ill, and so they decided to head for a holiday in the warmer climate of Cairo in Egypt, then a part of the British Empire and a popular tourist destination forwealthy Britons. Staying for three months at the Gezirah Palace Hotel, Agatha – always chaperoned by her mother – spent much of her time attending social functions in search for a potential husband. Although visiting such ancient Egyptian monuments as the Great Pyramid of Giza, she did not exhibit the interest in archaeology and Egyptology that she would in later life. Returning to Britain, she...