Agatha Christie was born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller just outside Torquay, England, on September 15, 1890, to Frederick Alvah Miller and Clarissa Margaret Beohmer Miller. Because her two older siblings were at school, Agatha spent much time alone, which she passed by inventing characters and adventures for them. She was also often in the company of her two grandmothers (who later served as models for Jane Marple). Though she received no formal education except in music, she read voraciously and showed an early interest in writing, publishing a poem in the local newspaper at the age of eleven.
At eighteen, bored while recovering from influenza, Christie (then Miller) took her mother’s suggestion to write a story. Her first attempt, “The House of Beauty,” was published in revised form as “The House of Dreams” in the Sovereign Magazine in January, 1926, and two other stories from this period later grew into novels. Turning to longer fiction, she sent a manuscript titled “Snow upon the Desert” to Eden Phillpotts , a popular novelist who was a family friend, and he referred her to his agent, Hughes Massie, who would become hers as well.
After her marriage to Archie Christie on Christmas Eve, 1914, she went to work, first as a nurse and then as a pharmacist. The latter post gave her a knowledge of poisons as well as free time to apply that information as she composed The Mysterious Affair at Styles: A Detective Story (1920). Rejected by several publishers, the manuscript went to John Lane at the Bodley Head in 1917, where it lay buried for two...
(The entire section is 651 words.)