The Roaring 20's

                                  Agatha Christie

                                           Early Life

Born years after her sisters and brothers, Agatha Miller was a beloved "afterthought". Her family lived comfortably on her American fathers shrinking inheritence in Torquay, a resort town in England. With few friends, Agatha invented playmates, like "The Kittens" with whom she had adventures in the large wooden garden behind her home. Rather than send her to school,her mother and father gave Agatha lessons at home.She taught herself to read at age four but never quite mastered spelling. Though she wrote stories for fun and enjoyed word puzzles, secret codes, and riddles, she preffered singing and piano playing, hoping to become a famous musician someday.When Agatha was eleven her father died suddenly. She and her mother,miserable without him,clung together for support and companionship. Most of their wealth was gone too. Agatha grew up feeling responsible for her mothers welfare.


                                      Coming of Age

When Agatha was twenty, Mrs. Miller couldn't afford to give her daughter the grand "coming out" that she had given her first daughte, so they briefly visited Cairo Egypt, where it was inexpensive, home to many english people, and the perfect place for quiet Agatha to modestly come out in society. She loved going to dances five times a week and did gain confidence. Back in Torquay, having given up on a musical career as she fell apart if she had to perform in public, she was ready to meet her "Fate" as girls said of their future husbands. After several lighthearted romances, in 1912 she was swept of her feet by the Archie Christie, a handsome pilot in the newly formed air force, but they were too poor to marry right away. When World War One broke out, Archie was among the first to be sent to war. Agatha volunteered at the hospital in Torquay, where she helped care for the wounded and dying soldiers. On Archies first leave late 1914 they hurriedly married and he left again.They saw each other only rarely in the next four years. Agatha got a job at the dispensary and learned to depend on herself. For escape she wrote stories and tried to sell them to publishers. All were rejected.


                             Mysterious Affair at Syles

When she finished The Mysterious Affair at Styles, she sent it to several publishers, and all but one rejected it. The last publisher didn't respond, but by then it was 1918, the war was over, and Archie had found work in London, and they were expecting a baby. She forgot all about the novel. So in 1919 , Agatha was amazed when the same publisher not only bought it but wanted her next five books as well.


                               Adventure and Archie 

But her main intrest was Archie. In 1912 he quit his job in London to join a trade mission around the world. Agatha went to. They visited South Africa (learning to surf, then nearly getting caught in a revolution), saw Austrailia and New Zeland, took a holiday in Hawaii (more surfing), and traveled across Canada. Back home , after some hard times, Archie found another good job in London. The Christies bought a lovely country home and spent weekends there- until Archie discovered golf  and began disapearing every weekend.Agatha tried to understand, although she had little to do beyond raising Rosalind, writing books and overeating. She missed her increasingly frail mother,too. She had especially written her second novel to save her childhood home from being sold.  


                                Divorce and New Love

In 1926, Archie asked for a divorce, having fallen in love with another woman. Agatha, already upset by the recent death of her mother, disappeared. All of England became wrapped up in the case of the now famous missing writer. She was found three weeks later in a small hotel, explaining to police that she had lost her memory. Thereafter, it was never again mentioned or elaborated upon by Christie.

She later found happiness with her marriage in 1930 to Max Mallowan, a young archaeologist who she met on a trip to Mesopotamia.



                                             Fame

Christie ultimately became the acknowledged Queen of the Golden Age. In all, she wrote over 66 novels, numerous short stories and screenplays, and a series of romantic novels using the pen name Mary Westmacott. Several of her works were made into successful feature films, the most notable being Murder on the Orient Express (1974). Her work has been translated into more than a hundred languages. In short, she is the single most popular mystery writer of all time.