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The Agatha Christie Enigma

An Exploration of Her Life and Work

By Eslam Abo Published about a year ago 4 min read

Agatha Christie, the most translated writer of all time, is renowned for her incredible contribution to international literature. Over the course of her astonishing writing career, Christie published 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections under her own name, as well as many other stories under pseudonyms. Her books have been enjoyed in over 100 languages, and she has been featured in the Guinness World Records for the thickest book, a one-volume edition of the complete Miss Marple stories. Christie's famous characters include the arrogant detective Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple, and Tommy and Tuppence, and her brilliance is also evident in the world's longest-running play, The Mousetrap.

Christie was born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller in Turkey, Devon, England. Not many people know that she might have remained illiterate if it hadn't been for her love of reading and ambition. Her mother believed she didn't need to know how to read until she turned eight, but Agatha was so curious and enjoyed reading so much that she learned how to read by the age of four. Agatha was educated at home under the supervision of her parents and sister and loved reading, writing, and basic mathematics. She also loved music, often engaging with the piano and the mandolin. In 1901, when she was just 10 years old, she wrote her first poem, called "The Cowslip."

The coastal town of Turkey in England was a posh seaside resort filled with wealthy Europeans and even royalty, often dubbed the English Riviera. Agatha enjoyed swimming in the sea almost every day during the summer. Memories of her time spent here were often described in her books, as well as in her autobiography. She would often visit the beach with her family, while her mother and grandmother liked to sunbathe and enjoy a picnic. Agatha was eager to get into the water as soon as possible, but to do so, she would first need to change into her bathing suit. Back then, this beach wasn't supposed to be equally enjoyed by men and women at the same time. That's why even the local council kept an eye on the way people bathed in the sea, so much so that men weren't allowed to bathe within 50 yards of a woman's bathing machine. Women back then weren't exactly comfortable while swimming either, as they had to be fully dressed in pants and a frilly dress that covered them up almost completely.

In 1905, Agatha was sent to Paris and enrolled in a boarding school where she focused more on music rather than writing. She soon figured out a career in music wasn't necessarily the best fit for her personality and talents, but did secretly harbor the desire to become an opera singer for the rest of her life. When she was just 18 years old, Agatha wrote her first short story called "The House of Beauty." Around the same time, she started putting together her first novel too, called "Snow Upon the Desert," written under the pseudonym "Monosyllabus." All six publishers who received the book ended up declining it.

In 1912, she met the man that would soon become her husband, Archibald Archie Christie, and they tied the knot in 1914. Soon enough, in 1916, she penned her first detective novel, called "The Mysterious Affair at Styles," which introduced Hercule Poirot to the world. He was described as a former Belgian police officer with a really imposing mustache and an egg-shaped head.

Despite her lovely family and her growing writing career, on Friday, December 3rd, 1926, Agatha simply disappeared from her home. The newspapers at the time went wild; it was the perfect plot twist for a crime novelist's life. The truth behind her disappearance may still be hidden to this day, but let's look at some of the facts. In April of 1926, Agatha's mother, Claire, sadly passed away. It was a difficult time for the writer, as the two shared a close bond. In August of the same year, Agatha's husband came to her with a shocking request; he wanted to separate, claiming he was in love with another woman. Months later, in December, they had a fight which seems to have been the last straw. Later that same evening, the author left her only daughter in the company of the maid and disappeared from her home in Sunningdale.

The next day, her car was found above a quarry, half-hidden in some bushes several miles away from her home. Inside were some clothes and her expired driver's license; the headlights were still on. Was it a car accident? At that time, Agatha wasn't as popular as she is today, but since a considerable reward was being offered to anyone who could offer any information on where she was, her story soon became a national sensation. Her estranged husband became the primary suspect, and a considerable number of people started looking for her, both policemen andcivilians alike.

Eleven days after her disappearance, Agatha was found safe and sound at a hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire, registered under the name of "Mrs. Teresa Neele," the same surname as Archie Christie's mistress. She seemed to have suffered from amnesia, and couldn't recall anything about her life, including her own identity. Her disappearance and sudden reappearance were widely reported in the media, and it caused a great deal of speculation and controversy. Some people claimed that it was a publicity stunt, while others believed that it was a genuine case of amnesia.

Agatha herself never publicly explained what had happened during those eleven days, and there are still many theories and speculations about what occurred. Some people believe that she suffered from a nervous breakdown, while others think that she was trying to get revenge on her husband for his infidelity. Whatever the truth may be, Agatha's disappearance remains one of the most intriguing and mysterious incidents in the history of literature.

Despite the controversy surrounding her disappearance, Agatha Christie continued to write and publish books for many years, and she remained one of the most popular and beloved writers of all time. Her legacy lives on through her memorable characters, her intricate plots, and her enduring influence on the genre of detective fiction.


About the Creator

Eslam Abo

Hello !

Life is continuous and does not stop. There are events and stories that happened in the past and happened in the present as well as the future.

I find joy in discovering and reading and want to share it with you.

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    Eslam Abo Written by Eslam Abo

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