I was thinking about what to write about so often the past few weeks it became a chore, which like any of chore became painful to do. So I started reading more as a way of procrastinating thinking about what I should write about. Granted, I was also procrastinating an essay or two but that's irrelevant.
Last month, as a part of my Noveltea Book Club package (google this and join it's fantastic) I received a second-hand copy of 'The Sittaford Mystery' by Agatha Christie. I've had it sitting on my beside table for a little while but I decided to start reading it and I was immediately reminded just how much I love Agatha Christie. Then I had the idea to start a mini series as a part of my book review category about my favourite authors detailing who they are (in case you don't already know), their lives, their work and my personal favourites from their collection.
So, in procrastinating I actually found some motivation to do the thing I was procrastinating!
So, let's talk about Agatha.
Agatha Christie was born in Torquay in the UK on September 15 1890. In her early 20s she worked in a Voluntary Aid Detachment in a Red Cross Hospital in Torquay. She married in 1914 to Archie Christie and worked throughout the war and wrote as a way to break up the monotony of her work. Her first detective novel starred in now infamous Hercule Poirot and was started as a response to a bet her sister made with her that she couldn't write a good detective story. A bet she most definitely won.
Early work and life
The Mysterious Affair at Styles was published in 1919 when Agatha was 29 and was the beginning of her extensive career. Her first publisher, John Lane of The Bodley Head, signed her on to complete a further five books. In 1922, fed up with her current publisher and having completed their agreement of a further five books (including Miss Marple and The Secret Adversary) she decided to change publishers to work with William Collins and Sons (now more commonly known as HarperCollins). After a divorce due to infidelity on her husband's part, a disappearance and an amnesia episode Agatha travelled to Baghdad to fulfil a dream to ride on the Orient Express. At this time in 1928-1930 she met her second husband Max Mallowan and found the inspiration to write some of her most infamous books such as Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile along with a number of other short stories. Between the years of 1929 and 1938 Agatha wrote 2-3 books a year and started to cement herself as a prolific writer.
Agatha continued to write continuously throughout World War II but slowed by the end, supposedly realising the tax implications of writing as much as she did. She also wrote under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott in order for her to write without the attention she received publishing as Agatha Christie. Throughout the 50s Agatha dedicated a large portion of time to her screenplay work. Agatha continued to write and live comfortably until her death in 1976.
Most famous works
With 84 pieces of work under her own name, six romance novels under Mary Westmacott and 19 plays Agatha Christie is one of the most well-known authors in history. With more than 2 billion copies sold she is also the best selling author in history, with her sales only less than those of the bible and Shakespeare.
Her most famous works include:
Murder on the Orient Express.
The A. B. C. Murders.
Death on the Nile.
Five Little Pigs.
The Moving Finger.
A Murder is Announced.
Now the really good bit! I love the style Agatha Christie writes in with quite short succinct but informative sentences and a focus on plot and character development in comparison with descriptions of surroundings or emotions.
Her characters are memorable and lovable and create connections between the reader and the character and give room for series like Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot to star in.
My top three Agatha Christie books are:
Murder on the Orient Express (arguably her most famous, this novel really beautifully introduces its characters and creates suspicion in all of them and then gives way to a very clever ending, a classic!)
The Sittaford Mystery (although a new read for me I thought the story line was interesting, engaging and funny and had a pleasant mix of the three entwined within a classic who-dun-it)
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (you can't make a list of favourites without the The British Crime Writers’ Association's "Best crime novel" award recipient - give this a read... like now!)
Do yourself a favour and pick up and Agatha Christie novel and get involved in her brilliance!
See you soon,