Sunday, September 16, 2007

Happy Birthday, Agatha!

September 15th marked the birthday of Agatha Christie, who was born on that date in 1890 (and who died in 1976). Guinness Book of World Records calls her "the best selling writer of books of all time." I'm not sure if J.K. Rowling has yet given her some competition for that title, but the women have something in common--their ability to tell a story, and their gift for cloaking their characters in mystery.

Agatha's mysteries made her famous, especially because of her gift for writing the unguessable crime--for hiding her clues in plain sight. She created the still-famous characters of Miss Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot, who are endlessly re-interpreted in televised versions of Dame Agatha's work.

Christie was fascinated with all things mysterious, and perhaps this was why she loved Egypt--a place in which she lived at times and where she set several of her novels. Christie shared her love for the ancient world with archeologist Max Mallowan, who married the divorced Agatha in 1930.

Christie's legendary play, The Mousetrap, is the longest-running play of all time (it is still running after 55 consecutive years of performance).

Her mysteries are numerous, and I have read many of them. One of my favorites is set in Iraq, one of Christie's favorite countries, and where she spent a great deal of time when traveling with Mallowan. They Came To Baghdad is a fun little romp through a very different Iraq, one which captures the mystery and glamour of the ancient world.

What's your favorite Christie?

(image link here)


Anonymous said...

I love Agatha Christie. I have many favorites among her books, especially the locked-room scenarios. She was a master at those. I also really love some of the film adaptations. My dream is to someday see "Mousetrap" performed. Such a fun play.

Julia Buckley said...

That would be great. I swear, if I weren't deathly afraid of planes I would have already been to England a hundred times, and of course I would have visited Torquay and some of Agatha's other haunts.

Anonymous said...

You sound just like me. Well, I'm not deathly afraid but I think my family would definitely tell you that I am an uneasy flier. My husband just says that we will go one day and he'll just pop me full of tranquilizers or something. We'll see. Ha!

Julia Buckley said...

I don't even see it as a phobia, exactly, because I have very reasoned explanations: I don't like the idea of an enclosed space, especially not for eight hours; I don't like the notion of being off the ground, especially not in that tuna can of an airplane; and if I had to die in any sort of crash, I would prefer that it not involve me plunging into the sea.