Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, DBE (born Miller; 15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976) was an English writer. She is known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, particularly those revolving around her fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Christie also wrote the world's longest-running play, a murder mystery, The Mousetrap, and six romances under the name Mary Westmacott. In 1971 she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her contribution to literature. Christie was born into a wealthy upper-middle-class family in Torquay, Devon. Before marrying and starting a family in London, she had served in a Devon hospital during the First World War, tending to troops coming back from the trenches. She was initially an unsuccessful writer with six rejections, but this changed when The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring Hercule Poirot, was published in 1920. During the Second World War she worked as a pharmacy assistant at University College Hospital, London, during the Blitz and acquired a good knowledge of poisons which featured in many of her subsequent novels. Guinness World Records lists Christie as the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly 2 billion copies, and her estate claims that her works come third in the rankings of the world's most-widely published books, behind only Shakespeare's works and the Bible. According to Index Translationum, she remains the most-translated individual author – having been translated into at least 103 languages. And Then There Were None is Christie's best-selling novel, with 100 million sales to date, making it the world's best-selling mystery ever, and one of the best-selling books of all time.
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Hercule Poirot goes for a well-earned retirement in the village of King's Abbot. However, when the wealthy Roger Ackroyd gets stabbed in his study, he is forced out of his retirement. A stunning revelation in the very last chapter ensures that this is not just another village mystery murder.
The Orient Express comes to an unexpected halt at night due to snowdrifts. The passengers wake up the next morning with a murderer on board. The mysterious Mr. Ratchett is found stabbed in his compartment and untrodden snow proves that the killer could not escape. Faced with one of the biggest challenges, Poirot has to deal with an international cast of suspects. The absolutely amazing twist makes it one of the great surprise endings in the genre.
Ten people are invited to an island for the weekend. Although they all harbour a secret, they remain unsuspecting until they begin to die, one by one, until eventually … there are none. Panic ensues when the diminishing group realises that one of their own number is the killer. A perfect combination of thriller and detective story, this much-copied plot is Christie’s greatest technical achievement.
Although he receives advance warnings, Poirot fails to prevent the murders of Alice Ascher, Betty Barnard, and Carmichael Clarke. The race is on before D is killed! One of the earliest examples of the "serial killer" novel this classic Christie is based on a beautifully simple premise. Containing one of the most audacious red herrings in mystery history, this novel’s solution establishes a trope Christie more or less invented and is still used to this day by writers seeking to throw readers off the scent.
The impoverished owner of End House hosts a party where fireworks camouflage the shot that kills her cousin. Which of the other guests is a murderer? Perfectly paced, with subtle and ingenious clues, and an unexpected but totally logical solution. Of its type, perfection; this is how the classic detective story should be written.
Sixteen years ago, Caroline Crale died in prison while serving a life sentence for poisoning her husband. Her daughter asks Poirot to investigate a possible miscarriage of justice and he approaches the other five suspects. This sublime novel is a subtle and ingenious detective story, an elegiac love story and a masterful example of storytelling technique, with five separate accounts of one devastating event. Christie’s greatest achievement.
In the village of Chipping Cleghorn, a murder is announced in the local paper’s small ads. As Miss Blacklock’s friends gather for what they fondly imagine will be a parlour game, an elaborate murder plot is set in motion. This was Christie’s 50th title and remains Miss Marple’s finest hour. Notable also for its setting in post-war Britain (a factor vital to the plot) this is arguably the last of the ingeniously clued and perfectly paced Christies.
The Leonides family all live together in a not-so-little crooked house. But which of them poisoned the patriarch, Aristides? Murder in the extended family always provided fertile ground for Christie, and this was one of her own favourites. Another example of a sinister reinterpretation of a nursery rhyme with an ending that her publishers initially considered too shocking, even for Agatha Christie.
Working-class Michael Rogers tells the story of his meeting and marrying Ellie, a fantastically rich American heiress. As they settle in their dream house in the country, it becomes clear that not everyone is happy for them. A very atypical Christie, this tale of menacing suspense builds to a horrific climax and shows that even after 45 years she had not lost the power to confound her readers. The best novel from her last 20 years.
An old and frail Poirot returns to the scene of his first case, the country house Styles, now a guest-house. He summons his friend Hastings to help identify the killer he suspects is a fellow-guest. Christie uses every trick in the book to produce a unforgettable, yet poignant, swan song for the little Belgian. This novel was written during the Blitz and stored in a safe to be published after Christie’s own death. It was actually published in October 1975 (Christie died in January 1976) and Poirot received a front-page obituary in the New York Times. In a lifetime of literary tours-de-force, this is the biggest shock of all.
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