Sep 14, 2011

Google Doodle News: Agatha Christie's 120th Birthday (Sep 15, 2010)



Sep 15, 2010 - Agatha Christie's 120th Birthday




Dame Agatha Christie, (15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976), was a British crime writer of novels, short stories, and plays. She also wrote romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best remembered for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections (especially those featuring Hercule Poirot or Miss Jane Marple), and her successful West End plays.


According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time and, with William Shakespeare, the best-selling author of any type. She has sold roughly four billion copies of her novels. According to Index Translationum, Christie is the most translated individual author, with only the collective corporate works of Walt Disney Productions surpassing her. 



Her books have been translated into at least 103 languages.






Early years


Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Torquay, Devon, England, UK. Her mother, Clarissa Margaret Boehmer, was the daughter of a British Army captain but had been sent as a child to live with her own mother's sister, who was the second wife of a wealthy American. Eventually Margaret married her stepfather's son from his first marriage, Frederick Alvah Miller, an American stockbroker. Thus, the two women Agatha called "Grannie" were sisters. Despite her father's nationality as a "New Yorker" and her aunt's relation to the Pierpont Morgans, Agatha never claimed United States citizenship or connection.


Agatha was the youngest of three. The Millers had two other children: Margaret Frary Miller (1879–1950), called Madge, who was 11 years Agatha's senior, and Louis Montant Miller (1880–1929), called Monty, 10 years older than Agatha. 


Agatha described herself as having had a very happy childhood. While she never received any formal schooling, she did not lack an education. Her mother believed children should not learn to read until they were eight, but Agatha taught herself to read at four. Her father taught her mathematics via story problems, and the family played question-and-answer games much like today's Trivial Pursuit. She had piano lessons, which she liked, and dance lessons, which she did not. When she could not learn French through formal instruction, the family hired a young woman who spoke nothing but French to be her nanny and companion. Agatha made up stories from a very early age and invented a number of imaginary friends and paracosms. One of them, "The School", with a dozen or so imaginary young women of widely varying temperaments, lasted well into her adult years.


During the First World War, she worked at a hospital as a nurse; she liked the profession. She later worked at a hospital pharmacy, a job that influenced her work, as many of the murders in her books are carried out with poison.


Despite a turbulent courtship, on Christmas Eve 1914 Agatha married Archibald Christie, an aviator in the Royal Flying Corps. The couple had one daughter, Rosalind Hicks. Agatha's first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was published in 1920. When Archie was offered a job organizing a world tour to promote the British Empire Exhibition the couple left their daughter with Agatha's mother and sister and travelled to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. The couple learnt to surf prone in South Africa and in Waikiki became some of the first Britons to surf standing up.


In late 1926, Agatha's husband, Archie, revealed that he was in love with another woman, Nancy Neele, and wanted a divorce.


In 1930, Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan (Sir Max from 1968) after joining him in an archaeological dig. Their marriage was especially happy in the early years and remained so until Christie's death in 1976. (Wikipedia)

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