On January 12th, 1976: Agatha Christie dies

Agatha Christie plaque -Torre Abbey

Agatha Christie plaque -Torre Abbey. Courtesy WikimediaCommons

There is an odd fascination people have with crime. But it’s a fact that people love films and books dealing with criminal deeds, and the writers of whodunnits belong to the most famous and successful authors in the literary universe. Yet even between those very successful writers there are a few outstanding names, and one of the finest authors of crime stories is for sure Agatha Christie, who died 38 years ago today. Her main characters are so famous that one of them, Hercule Poirot, even got an obituary in the NYT (as well as a Google Doodle to mark Christie’s 120th birthday).

Christie’s own life was no less adventurous as her characters‘.  She was born on September 15th, 1890 in Torquay, Devon. Visit places of her life on the Agatha Christie Mile. Here are some photos, too.
She travelled through Egypt in the early 20th century, attended to wounded soldiers during the 1st World War, joined her husband for archaeological digs in the Near East and even vanished for 10 days without any trace – and until today without a satisfying explanation.
Here’s an interesting extended lecture about her Near-East-Years:

You can even see some of her discoveries in the British Museum (H/T Matthias Rascher)

Until her death in 1976 she wrote more than 80 detective novels, almost 20 plays, many short stories and, under the pseudonym of Mary Westmacott, a couple of romances. Here you find a list of all her published works, in chronological order of their publishing date. 
To get to know more about her life and work, read her biography on Wikipedia

Christie had a large influence on the modern murder mysteries, as The New Yorker states in an article, and her secret notebooks reveal the rather unusual way how she constructed her stories (H/T Matthias Rascher). Listen to a rare interview about how to write a best-selling novel here.

Her two main Character are without doubt the two very special detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. But she obviously was not too fond of the two personalities she had created, as tapes reveal on which she takes on them. Read about it in a NYT article here.

Hercule Poirot, the famous Belgian detective, starred in 39 novels and four volumes of short stories, as well as on TV, where he was awesomely represented by many great actors, for example by the famous Sir Peter Ustinov and, my all-time-favorite Poirot, by David Suchet in a series. Read a wonderful interview about his relationship to his role here and watch the trailer for the final episodes:

There’s also a cool interactive feature about Suchet’s Poirot outfit, and an article about Poirot’s perhaps most famous case, the “Murder on the Orient Express”.

Hotel room

Christie’s hotel room in Istanbul, Turkey, where she wrote the “Murder on the Orient Express”. Courtesy of WikimediaCommons.

More Information on Poirot is provided on this cool US website and in this fantastic longreads of the LA Review of Books.

The second famous detective is totally different: Miss Marple, a fragile but sharp minded elderly English spinster, famously portrait by Margaret Rutherford and Joan Hickson in the TV series, who was a perfect match to the descriptions of Miss Marple in the books. BBC provides an overview of the different Marple-performers.
And here you can experience a piece of Miss Marple’s World: Serve your tea in style. In Miss-Marple-style. 😉

For even more information:

Here’s a list of 35 fun facts about Agatha Christie, the guys over at Mental Floss have also gathered cool facts and even more facts and stunning trivia here.

The Guardian has put together the  10 best Christie novels for a start.

Or visit the official Agatha Christie website.

A very special glimpse into Christie’s life provides the place where she lived and invented her characters, her estate Greenway. Smithonian has a great article about it.

And if these informations are still not enough for you, or you got a taste for Christie, please visit BBC’s Christie website, a treasure trove of all things Christie.

Oh – and if you know everything about Agatha Christie now, don’t forget to take the quiz from The New Yorker 😉

Grave Stone

Agatha Christie’s tomb stone, Cholsey. Courtesy of WikimediaCommons