British crime novelist Dame Agatha Christie, DBE sadly passed away on 12th January 1976. Born 15th September 1890 to a wealthy upper middle-class family in Torquay, Devon, Christie served in a hospital during the First World War before settling into married life with her first child in London. Although initially unsuccessful at getting her work published, in 1920, The Bodley Head press published her novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring the character of Poirot. This launched her literary career.
She also wrote short stories, and plays and romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but 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. Among her best known novels are: And then there were none, Final Cases, Poirot and the Regatta, Mystery, The Thirteen Problems, Crooked House, The Murder at the Vicarage/Body in the Library/The Moving Finger, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Five Little pigs, Murder on the Orient Express, Towards Zero, Death on the Nile, A Murder is Announced, Problem at Pollensa Bay, Sleeping Murder, 4.50 From Paddington, Pocket Full of Rye, Endless Night, The Clocks, The ABC Murders, Ordeal By Innocence, Appointment with Death, Cat Among the Pigeons, Endless Night, Evil Under the Sun, Why Didn’t they ask Evans, Towards Zero and Passenger to Frankfurt.
In 1971, she was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in the Queens Honours at Buckingham Palace and In 1955, Christie was the first recipient of the Mystery Writers of America’s highest honour, the Grand Master Award, and in the same year Witness for the Prosecution was given an Edgar Award by the MWA for Best Play. 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. And Then There Were None is Christie’s best-selling novel with 100 million sales to date, making it the world’s best-selling mystery ever, and one of the best-selling books of all time, she is also the most translated individual author, and her books have been translated into at least 103 languages. Due to their enduring popularity Many of Christie’s books and short stories have also been filmed, and many have been adapted for television, radio, video games and comics and Christie’s stage play The Mousetrap also holds the record for the longest initial run: having opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in London on 25 November 1952 and was still running in 2012 after more than 24,600 performances.