|Dame Agatha Christie –
Grande Dame of Cozy Mysteries
Agatha Christie was born in England in 1890. She was the third of three children born to Frederick and Clara Miller. Clara chose to formally educate Agatha’s older sister and brother, but decided against Agatha receiving more than the basic reading and writing at home. However, Agatha taught herself how to read at a very young age and made the most of her tutoring lessons.
Agatha Christie’s Early Adulthood
After her husband (pilot) Archibald Christie left for war, Agatha became a volunteer nurse. It is then that she learned about the many different medications and poisons that she would later employ in her mysteries.
Agatha and Archie had a daughter, but the marriage did not survive. Fortunately for us, her second husband (Max Mallowan) was an archaeologist who traveled the world. Agatha used many of the archaeological sites as backdrops for her mysteries. “Death on the Nile” is probably Christie’s most famous mystery that takes place in an exotic location.
Miss Marple to the Rescue
Christie has several very memorable characters -Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple are by far the most popular. Miss Jane Marple is an elderly spinster who lives in St. Mary Mead, England. She is an astute observer of life, and has a personality which enables her to fit in equally well with the very upper class and also with the lower classes.
Miss Marple is a normal looking woman who does not stand out, and because she is not a flashy looking character, she is able to blend in to the background when she wants to observe. Many times, she is able to overhear things that are definitely not intended to be overheard, which helps her immensely while solving crimes.
Hercule Poirot’s Little Grey Cells
Poirot is a professional detective who uses his little grey cells in order to nail the culprits. He does not blend into the background, rather, he is very flamboyant. Poirot takes pride in his appearance. He grooms his little waxed moustache every chance he can. He is obsessive about details to the point of being compulsive. He knows that he is the best detective alive, and if you don’t know that, then don’t worry! He will be the first to tell you he is the best.
The Tommy and Tuppence Beresford Duo
Tommy and Tuppence form the Young Adventurers Ltd. with the idea of performing any jobs. This, of course, leads to the pair solving mysteries. Christie did not spend a lot of time writing this series of books.
Mary Westmacott aka Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie not only wrote successful mysteries. She used the pseudonym Mary Westmacott to write six novels that were of the romance genre. Christie also wrote a book about the archaeological trips she took with her husband as well as her autobiography and two books which included poetry and short stories.
Agatha Christie’s Later Years
The first Mystery Writers of America’s Grandmaster Award was presented to Christie in 1954. In 1975, The New York Times ran an obituary for Hercule Poirot. A year later, Agatha Christie died.
Grande Dame of Golden Age’s Crime
There are four authors who are known as the Golden Age’s Queens of Crime: Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, and Ngaio Marsh. That’s quite a group of accomplished authors!