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Agatha Christie

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Bess O

on 9 August 2013

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Transcript of Agatha Christie

The Early Years
The Tropes of Agatha Christie
Mary Westmacott
Miss Marple
Born September 15, 1890 in Devon, England.
Youngest of the three children.

Never went to school because her mother thought it "destroyed the brain and ruined the eyes"
She studied history and was taught math by her dad
Taught herself to read when she was five

Secret singing and piano skills

Her father died when she was 11, and she received a formal education after his death
Agatha Christie wrote six romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott
The pen name was kept secret for over 20 years
4.50 from Paddington, A Caribbean Mystery, A Murder is Announced, A Pocket Full of Rye, After the Funeral, Appointment With Death, At Bertram's Hotel, Black Coffee, By the Pricking of My Thumbs, Cards on the Table, Cat Among the Pigeons, Crooked House, Curtain aka Poirot's Last Case, Dead Man's Folly, Death Comes as the End, Death in the Clouds aka Death in the Air, Death on the Nile, Destination Unknown aka So Many Steps to Death, Double Sin and Other Stories, Dumb Witness aka Poirot Loses a Client, Elephants Can Remember, Endless Night, Evil Under the Sun, Five Little Pigs aka Murder in Retrospect, Hallowe'en Party, Hercule Poirot's Christmas, Hickory Dickory Dock, Lord Edgware Dies, Miss Marple's Final Cases and Two Other Stories, Mrs. McGinty's Dead, Murder in Mesopotamia, Murder in the Mews, Murder is Easy, Murder on the Links, Murder on the Orient Express, N or M? NemesisOne, Two, Buckle My Shoe, Ordeal by Innocence, Parker Pyne Investigates aka Mr. Parker Pyne, Detective, Partners in Crime, Passenger to Frankfurt: An Extravaganza, Peril at End House, Poirot Investigates, Poirot's Early Cases aka Hercule Poirot's Early Cases, Postern of Fate, Problem at Pollensa Bay, Sad Cypress, Sleeping Murder, Sparkling Cyanide aka Remembered Death, Surprise! Surprise!, Taken at the Flood aka There is a Tide, Ten Little Indians aka And Then There Were None, The A.B.C. Murders, The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and a Selection of Entrées, The Big Four, The Body in the Library, The Clocks, The Golden Ball and Other Stories, The Harlequin Tea Set, The Hollow, The Hound of Death and Other Stories, The Labours of Hercules, The Listerdale Mystery, The Man in the Brown Suit, The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side, The Moving Finger, The Murder at the Vicarage, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, The Mysterious Mr. Quin, The Mystery of the Blue Train, The Pale Horse, The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories, The Secret Adversary, The Secret of Chimneys, The Seven Dials Mystery, The Sittaford Mystery, The Spider's Web, The Thirteen Problems, Murders, The Under Dog and Other Stories, The Unexpected Guest, They Came to Baghdad, They Do It With Mirrors, Third Girl, Three Act Tragedy aka Murder in Three Acts, Three Blind Mice and Other Stories, Towards Zero, While the Light Lasts, Why Didn't They Ask Evans? aka The Boomerang Clue, Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories
Agatha Christie

Rachel Jacobe
Sonya Bennett-Brandt

Archie Christie- married Christmas Eve of 1914
Rosalind born 1919
Marriage falls apart in 1926
Max Mallowan
Met in Baghdad in 1930
Despite general objections, they get married after only 6 months of knowing each other
Agatha accompanied him on archaeological expeditions for nearly 30 years
Agatha served as a nurse during World War I, where her lack of nursing talent led her to transfer to the Dispensary. There, surrounded by a wide variety of poisons, she first conceived of the idea of writing a detective story.

During her time as a nurse, she planned out and wrote most of "The Mysterious Affair at Styles," her first novel.
- During her second marriage, Agatha actually became quite an accomplished archeologist She spend two decades traveling, living and writing at dig sites, and helping her husband with his work.
- Not only did she become an accomplished photographer (some of her dig photos are still used by archeologists today), she cleaned many of her husband's artifacts--using her facial moisturizer!
- As a result, several of her mysteries (like "Murder in Mesopotamia") take place at archeological dig sites.
"Christie was of course fascinated by puzzles, by the little archaeological fragments, and she had a gift for piecing them together very patiently."
Her works
Agatha Christie wrote over 65 mysteries, 15 short stories, 6 romances, and 17 plays, including the longest-running play of all time.

She is not only the bestselling mystery author of all time, but, along with William Shakespeare, the bestselling author of any kind.

Her books have sold more than 4 billion copies.
"The sort of old lady who would have been rather like some of my grandmother's Ealing cronies – old ladies whom I have met in so many villages where I have gone to stay as a girl
Did Agatha Christie try to fake her death and frame her husband?
In November of 1926, Archie Christie told Agatha that he was having an affair and wanted a divorce.
On December 2nd, Archie and Agatha got into a loud fight about his infidelity.
That night, Archie threw a party to announce his engagement to his new love...
By the next morning, Agatha had disappeared
Often underestimated as well
12 Novels & 20 Short stories
Based on Christie's grandmother and friends
Evolves in the stories
Known for her elaborate crime analogies
-discovery by memory
Her car was found at the bottom of a chalk pit. The car was turned off, indicating that someone had pushed it into the pit. Her best fur coat was still in the car.
Police questioned Archie Christie, who admitted that he had left the party for a short time the night before.
He claimed that his wife had called and threatened to make a scene, so he had driven home to calm her down.
He also claimed that when he reached the house there was no sign of Agatha, so he had driven straight back to the party.
The police were skeptical.
One source even claims that the police had received a note from Agatha in which she wrote that she feared for her life...
The police started a country-wide search for Agatha's body, and the case against Archie was apparently looking pretty strong....
...until 11 days later Agatha was spotted staying at an English hotel under an assumed name...the name of her husband's new fiancee.
Agatha claimed to have amnesia, and stated that she had no idea how or why she had gotten to the hotel. She never explained her disappearance.
Hercule Poirot
Poirot, Agatha's first detective, appears in over 30 of her novels. He is short, round, Belgian, and easy to underestimate-- a fact that he uses to his advantage. He is very proud of his moustache and his excellent "little grey cells."
"I do, after all, have a little experience with plots, dialogue, and knowing what audiences like, you know."
Agatha "saw" Poirot twice in her life
"I am like a sausage machine. As soon as [I finish a novel] and cut off the string, I have to think of the next one."
She read a bunch of Sherlock Holmes

Wrote her first story on a dare
Story Inspiration
- Confined space
- Dramatic parlor reveal
- Everyone is guilty of something
- Detective warns the killer
- Secret identities
- Double bluff
- Murderer commits suicide (perhaps only divergent from Auden's regulations?)
- Least. Likely. Suspect.
"The Mary Westmacott novels have been described as romantic novels but I don’t think that is really a fair assessment. They are not ‘love stories’ in the general sense of the term, and they certainly have no happy endings. They are, I believe, about love in some of its most powerful and destructive forms."
"The best time to plan a book is while you're doing the dishes."
"Christie deliberately breaks the perceived rules of the murder mystery, having characters — such as a narrator and/or protagonist, a child, a policeman, a previous "victim", or even all of the suspects — turn out to have been the perpetrator(s)."
The Women of Agatha Christie
"I never take my stories from real life, but the character of Ariadne Oliver does have a strong dash of myself."
"Evil is not something superhuman, it's something less than human. "
"If one sticks too rigidly to one's principles, one would hardly see anybody."
"I've always believed in writing without a collaborator, because where two people are writing the same book, each believes he gets all the worry and only half the royalties."
"It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them."
Tommy and Tuppence
Ariadne Oliver
Parker Pyne
Harley Quin
"I would like it to be said that I was a good writer of detective and thriller stories."
An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her.
Full transcript