Today: An 84-year-old unsolved mystery about the great mystery writer Agatha Christie.
Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976), one of the best selling writers ever, has sold an estimated 2 billion books, translated into 103 languages.
She wrote romantic novels and plays but her detective mysteries were her forté, in crimes often solved by her famed fictitious Belgian detective Hercule Poirot or Miss Jane Marple, another of her fictitious characters.
Born Agatha Mary Clarrisa Miller in Torquay, Devon, England, her mother was English and her father a rich American stockbroker. Agatha was the youngest of three children. Her sister Madge was 11 years older and her brother Monty, 10 years older.
Until she entered a Paris finishing school at 16, Agatha was home schooled and absorbed in the suspenseful bedtime stories her mother and her sister told her. It wasn’t long before she began to create her own fiction in which her dolls and pets and a nanny played key roles.
Her first love however was music and Agatha became an accomplished pianist and singer. But there was a problem. She was shy, uncomfortable performing in front of large audiences.
Yet Agatha still had a creative, artistic side that needed to be expressed.
With the outbreak of World War l in 1914, Agatha worked as a hospital nurse sometimes tending to Belgian troops. Touched by their lives and their stories, it helped her create her famed Belgian detective.
Later she worked in a pharmacy and learned all about poisons, which became an often deadly tool in her mysteries.
On Christmas Eve of 1914, Agatha married Royal Flying Corps pilot Archie Christie and in 1919, they had a daughter, Rosalind. But the marriage was troubled and in 1926, Archie revealed that he was having an affair with another woman, and wanted to be with her. This would end Agatha and Archie’s marriage.
That’s when our unsolved mystery took place.
Shortly after he left, Agatha disappeared for 11 days. When she was found, it was under another name and she was staying at the Swan Hydropathic Hotel in Yorkshire. Some doctors claimed it was amnesia for she did not recall why this odd episode happened.
Others speculated she had a nervous breakdown, for she had suffered bouts of depression, and her mother had died earlier that year. Archie’s infidelity was the last straw. Still others felt it was a publicity stunt to help her sell books.
What did happen is a mystery that continues to this day.
In any case, Agatha was a successful writer, with her first book, “The Mysterious Affair At Styles” published in 1920, and other books soon followed.
For writing gave her the artistic expression she needed and it allowed her to create the world as she wanted it to be. And when someone committed a murder, he or she with few exceptions was held accountable for it.
In 1930, Agatha married archeologist and Middle Eastern History expert Max Mallowan, a man nearly 14 years her junior. It was a happy marriage that would last for the rest of her life and she took pleasure in sometimes joining him on his archeological digs.
These Middle East travels defined the setting for several of her novels including, “Murder on the Orient Express,” one of her most famous stories.
As the years passed, Agatha’s fame grew and so did her enormous books sales, as readers by the millions anxiously awaited her next novel.
In 1971, England declared 80-year-old Agatha Christie, Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, one of its highest honors. While in 1968 Max had been knighted in honor of his archeological work, making both partners acclaimed in their own right.
During the early 1970’s, Agatha’s health began to fail, although despite her ills, she continued to write and her book sales and popularity were huge. But on January 12th, 1976 she gently passed away at her Winterbrook House of natural causes.
Among her heirs was her only child, Rosalind Margaret Hicks, who would manage her mother’s literary affairs until her passing at the age of 85 in 2004.
Agatha is also survived by her millions of fans all over the world, and her works have taken on a life of their own. They will entertain readers into the indefinite future much as those of her fellow Englishman William Shakespeare, the only other British writer to attain such public acclaim.
Success Tip of the Week:
If you have an artistic side needing to express itself let this be the week you allow it to happen. It may find a major audience or that of a few people but it will bring you joy and open your heart to additional compelling adventures.
Thank you to Irvine, CA realtor Ariel Feir for the idea to write this piece. His free monthly magazine, “Ariel’s AbodeNews” I look forward to each month. www.feir.com.
In the next KazanToday:
The greatest failure in basketball superstar Michael Jordan’s career and what a blessing it turned out to be.