Agatha Christie

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© Image: Book cover, Title: Agatha Christie: The Finished Portrait (Hardcover); Author: Dr. Andrew Norman; Publisher: Tempus, 2007; Source of image:; ISBN-13: 978-0752439907

Agatha Christie (born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller September 15, 1890 – died January 12, 1976; Christie was the surname of her first husband, to whom she was married when she started being published) was an English author best known for her 'detective stories', or 'crime novels', and her fictional characters, detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. She also wrote plays and romance novels.

Called the "Queen of Crime" by many of her fans, she was also cited by The Guinness Book of World Records as the best selling author of all time along with another English author—Shakespeare. Her worldwide book sales total roughly 4 billion books. UNESCO has ranked her the most widely translated author in history.(See the source)

In addition to "Queen of Crime", Christie's collection of epithets include: "the mistress of fair deceit," "the first lady of crime," "the mistress of misdirection," "the detective story writer's detective story writer," and "the Hymns Ancient and Modern of detection". [1]

The Author's Life

See [2]

Commentary on Agatha Christie's fiction

 Definition of 'detective story'

Author and Christie aficionado, Russell H. Fitzgibbon gives one definition: [3]

As a tentative working definition, let us say with all appropriate diffidence, that a detective story involves the presentation of a puzzle (make a mental translation to "crime") and the subsequent solution of the puzzle (substitute here the detection of the criminal and the relevant circumstances associated with the crime). Unless these elements are present, at least in broad essence, we are scarcely justified in applying the label of detective story. [3]

See [1] [4] [3]

Adaptation Of Her Works Into Film

Critical Acclaim

List of Novels

Hercule Poirot:

  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles
  • Murder on the Links
  • The Big Four
  • Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The: Hercule Poirot Investigates
  • The Mystery of the Blue Train
  • Peril at End House
  • Murder in Mesopotamia
  • Murder on the Orient Express
  • Murder in Three Acts
  • Death in the Clouds
  • The ABC Murders
  • Dumb Witness
  • Cards on the Table
  • Death on the Nile
  • Appointment with Death
  • Hercule Poirot's Christmas
  • One Two, Buckle My Shoe
  • Sad Cypress: A Hercule Poirot Novel
  • Evil under the Sun
  • Five Little Pigs
  • The Hollow
  • Taken at the Flood
  • Mrs. McGinty's Dead
  • After the Funeral
  • Hickory Dickory Dock
  • Dead Man's Folly
  • Cat Among the Pigeons
  • The Clocks
  • Third Girl
  • Hallowe'en Party
  • Elephants Can Remember
  • Curtain

Miss Marple:


  • The Sittaford Mystery

List of Short Stories

List Of Adaptations For Film


  • And Then There Were None
  • Appointment with Death
  • The Mousetrap
  • Go Back for Murder
  • Chimneys

References and notes cited in text

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Earl F. Bargainnier (1980) The Gentle Art of Murder: The Detective Fiction of Agatha Christie. Bowling Green State University Popular Press: Bowling Green, OH.
    • From the Preface:  "The queen of crime," "the mistress of fair deceit," "the first lady of crime," "the mistress of misdirection," "the detective story writer's detective story writer," and even "the Hymns Ancient and Modern of detection"-these are just a few of the epithets which have been used to indicate Agatha Christie's position as writer of detective fiction. In her sixty-seven novels and one hundred and seventeen short stories of detection and mystery, Christie created a body of work which made her the most popular writer of the twentieth century…. In spite of the risk of being called "a knave or a fool," my intent is a literary analysis of the detective fiction of "the queen of crime." I hope that I will not ruin any of her works for readers, but rather enable them to understand better the general skill of their construction as works of a particular genre of fiction.
  2. Dame Agatha Christie Free full-text article from Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Russell H. Fitzgibbon. (1980) The Agatha Christie Companion. Popular Press. ISBN 9780879721381. 178 pages.
    • From the publisher:  Russell H. Fitzgibbon presents a short history of Dame Agatha's life, criticism of her works, and a summary of how critics and reviewers view her work. Includes a bibliography of all the works of Christie published in either Great Britain or the United States, classified according to the detectives involved; an alphabetical list of Christie detective and mystery book and short-story titles; a short-story finder for Christie collections; and an index of all but the least important of the thousands of characters introduced by the author in the detective and mystery short stories and novels.
    • Table of Contents: 
    • Preface
    • The Genre of the Detective Story: Its Nature and Development
    • Dame Agatha Christie
    • The Christie Bureau of Detectives
    • Bibliography
    • Alphabetical List of Christie Detective and Mystery Story Titles
    • Alternate Christie Book Titles
    • The Short-Story Finder for Christie Collections
    • Index of Characters
  4. Patricia D. Maida, Nicholas B. Spornick. (1982) Murder She Wrote: A Study of Agatha Christie's Detective Fiction. Bowling Green State University Popular Press: Bowling Green, OH.
    • From the Preface: In our study of the Christie legacy, we have chosen to focus on her detective fiction, for this is the genre to which she made her greatest contribution. Although detective fiction was less than a century old when Christie entered the field in 1921, critics had been attacking its pretensions as art, pinpointing its faults and foibles, and prophesying its demise as both a viable and a marketable commodity. Yet critics agree that the modern detective story reached a peak of development in the twenties and thirties of this century, a period which has since been deemed "The Golden Age" of detective fiction. During that time, Christie rose to become the world's most famous author of detective fiction, surpassing her competitors in popularity and sales. Why was Christie so successful?....In examining the forces which shaped Christie as both a person and a writer, we have considered significant biographical and historical matter. We have looked closely at the fabric of her fiction, which frequently was woven from the very stuff of her own experience. And we have analyzed components of the works themselves—the puzzle, the detectives, the policemen, the environment—to discover the uniqueness of her detectival structure. Essentially, our approach has been to explore the inter-relationships between Christie and her works to seek the wholeness in the Christie experience. We perceive an integration in personal experience and moral and aesthetic values between the woman and her art. Though the mystery which has continued to enshroud her person may persist, we believe that Christie reveals herself in her art. A shy woman with a natural gift for story-telling, she achieved success through a combination of seemingly artless effects which combined to produce some outstanding detective fiction. Thus her readers would not allow her to pension off Hercule Poirot, demanding their "Christie for Christmas" for over fifty years, participating with millions of enthusiasts who play the game of detection with Agatha Christie.

See also