Agatha Christie Additional Biography


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

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...

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(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa (Miller) Christie was born into an upper-middle-class Victorian family on September 15, 1890, in Torquay, a refined English seaside town. Her mother (Clara), grandmothers, and a companion-teacher educated young Agatha at home. While this may sound stifling, her parents maintained an active salon and frequently entertained the likes of Rudyard Kipling and Henry James. Agatha learned to read at an early age and availed herself of her parents’ library.

The first unhappy event in Christie’s life occurred in 1901, when her father, Fredrick, died, leaving the family with an uncertain financial future. Her mother rallied, however, spurred by the desire to provide her youngest daughter with the same opportunities that her sister and brother had had. Consequently, Christie was sent to the Continent (perhaps encountering there the prototype of the Belgian Hercule Poirot) and to Cairo for the social season. With the outbreak of World War I, Christie worked at a hospital, initially as a surgical nurse but then in the dispensary, an experience that would come in handy later as she killed unlucky victims in her stories with cyanide and arsenic. She had, by this time, been writing poems and short stories with a modicum of success, but this practice temporarily ended when she met and married young flying ace Archibald Christie in 1914. In fact, she did not write again until 1916, when she dashed off The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920) in a matter of weeks. The manuscript was shunted from one publisher to another; in fact, it was four years until the book went into print. By then, Christie was busy with a new house and a new baby, so her writing again took second place.

In 1925, Christie published The Secret of Chimneys, and the next year she witnessed the highly acclaimed publication of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926). The...

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(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Torquay, England, on September 15, 1890; the impact of this location on her was enormous. Near the end of her autobiography, Christie indicates that all other memories and homes pale beside Ashfield, her parents’ home in Torquay: “And there you are again—remembering. ’I remember, I remember, the house where I was born. . . .’ I go back to that always in my mind. Ashfield.” The roots of Christie’s self-contained, quiet sense of place are found in her accounts of life at Ashfield. Her love of peace, routine, and order was born in her mother’s well-ordered household, a household cared for by servants whose nature seemed never to change, and sparked by the sudden whims of an...

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(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

ph_0111201531-Christie.jpg Agatha Christie. Published by Salem Press, Inc.

On September 15, 1890, Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Torquay, Devon, England. Her father, who died when she was eleven, was American, and her mother was British. At this point in time, formal schooling for young women usually took place in the home. At sixteen, Agatha went to Paris to study piano and singing. She became an accomplished pianist and was fluent in French. This linguistic knowledge helped her to create realistic dialogue for her famous character, the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, whose English was fractured and frequently included French expressions.

In 1912, Miller became engaged to Archibald Christie, a young officer in what would become the Royal Air Force in 1918. They were married on...

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(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Taken as a whole, Agatha Christie’s crime-fiction novels constitute some of the best-known works in the genre. Her primary detectives, Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot, are some of the best-known characters in popular fiction. Chistie’s talents include the ability to weave a cunning plot, construct realistic dialogue, and create believable characters. All these traits combine to create novels that are entertaining and engaging. While Christie’s writing is somewhat old-fashioned, she uses realistic motivations that enable readers to relate easily to the situations at hand.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

The acknowledged “queen of crime,” Agatha Christie is probably still the world’s best-known and most popular mystery writer. Born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, Christie was the child of an English mother, Clarissa Boehmer Miller, and an American father, Frederick Alvah Miller. After her father’s death, Christie was educated at home by her mother, who encouraged her talents as a storyteller. She later studied piano and voice in Paris. Hers was a typically upper-middle-class British upbringing; the environment in which she was raised would form the basis for nearly all of her later novels.{$S[A]Mallowan, A. C.;Christie, Agatha}{$S[A]Westmacott, Mary;Christie, Agatha}

In 1914, she married Colonel Archibald...

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(Novels for Students)

Agatha Christie sets Ten Little Indians on an island that lies off the coast of Devon, England, where she grew up. She was born on...

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(Drama for Students)

Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie also wrote as Agatha Christie Mallowan and under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. Christie was born September...

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