Agatha Christie - Books, Life and Characters

 

Agatha Christie was one of England’s most famous writers. Her crime and detective stores became famous for their clever plots. Agatha Christie was often called the queen of crime.

Agatha Christie was born in Devon, England in 1890 as the daughter of a British army captain. During the First World War she worked in a hospital as a nurse. Later on she got a job in a pharmacy. This influenced many of her crime stories because some of her victims were poisoned.

Agatha Christie was married twice and especially her second husband travelled a lot with her. Some of her novels, like “Death on the Nile” were set in the Middle East. “Murder on the Orient Express” was written in Istanbul.

At the beginning of the 1970s Agatha Christie became ill, but she went on writing. When she died in 1976 she had written over 60 novels, 150 short stories and 16 plays. Her stage play “The Mousetrap” is the longest running play in history. It was first performed in 1952 and after a record 23,000 performances it is still running today.

Many of Christie’s books and short stories have been turned into successful movies.

 

Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple

In her works Agatha Christie created two great characters. Hercule Poirot is a Belgian detective who appeared in 33 of Agatha Christie’s novels. He his best known for his moustache. Poirot thinks logically and likes order. He examines the crime scene in detail and claims that every crime can be solved.

 

As time went on Agatha Christie became tired of her Belgian detective and wanted to get rid of him. But he was very popular among her readers. When he died in “Curtain” in 1978 he became the only fictional character to get an obituary in the New York Times.

Agatha Christie’s other well-known character was Miss Marple, an old woman who wants to be an amateur detective. She likes knitting, walking around the neighbourhood and she observes things very carefully. She became famous for solving cases where the police failed. In contrast to Hercule Poirot, Christie was very fond of Miss Marple.

 

 

Plots of Christie Novels

Almost all of Agatha Christie’s novels are whodunits. They focus on English people of the middle and upper classes.

Usually the detective comes across a murder scene by chance or is called by a friend who may be involved. He or she questions the suspects, examines the crime scene carefully and gives the reader clues so that they may have a chance to solve the crime themselves. In the course of the story one, or even a few, of the suspects usually die.

Finally the detective gets all the suspects together and gives away information that not everyone knows, until the real murderer is revealed.

In some of Agatha Christie’s stories the murderer escapes justice; sometimes they get killed. Twice the murderer turns out to be the narrator of the story.

 

List of famous books

Year

Name of Book

1926

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

1928

The Mystery of the Blue Train

1930

Murder at the Vicarage

1932

The Thirteen Problems

1933

The Witness for the Prosecution

1934

Murder on the Orient Express

1937

Death on the Nile

1938

Appointment with Death

1939

And Then There Were None

1941

Evil Under the Sun

1946

The Hollow

1950

A Murder is Announced

1953

After the Funeral

1956

Dead Man’s Folly

1957

4.50 from Paddington

1964

A Caribbean Mystery

1975

Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case

 

 

Words

  • amateur = not professional
  • appear = here: to be a part of
  • by chance = without planning, luckily
  • case = crime
  • claim = to say that something is true even if it has not been proved
  • clever = intelligent
  • clue = a piece of information that helps you solve a crime
  • come across = gets to
  • create = make
  • crime scene = place where the crime took place
  • escape = to get away from
  • especially = above all
  • examine = to look at carefully
  • fail = not succeed
  • fictional = something or someone that does not exist in the real world
  • focus = concentrate
  • fond = if you like someone
  • get rid of = to do away with
  • in contrast to = as a difference to
  • in the course of = as the story goes on
  • influence = to have an effect on
  • justice = here: to be sentenced for the crime
  • knit = to make cloth out of wool using two needles
  • moustache = hair that grows on a man’s upper lip
  • narrator = the person who tells the story
  • novel = a long written story with unreal characters
  • nurse = a woman who helps people in a hospital
  • obituary = article in a newspaper about the life of someone who has just died
  • observe = watch
  • order = everything is in the right place
  • perform = act on a stage
  • pharmacy = a shop where medicine is prepared and sold
  • plot = story
  • poison = to put something in a person’s food or drink in order to kill them
  • popular = liked by many people
  • record = highest, best-ever
  • reveal = to make known, show
  • solve = to find an answer
  • successful = here: to make a lot of money and become famous
  • suspect = a person who is thought to have committed a crime
  • victim = someone who dies in the story
  • whodunit = a book or a film about a crime in which you do not find out who killed the person until the end