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Agatha Christie

How familiar are you with Agatha Christie and her detective novels?

Well, you have probably guessed that she was English. Correct! But let me tell you more… Agatha Christie was a very well-known writer from Devon, England and she was born into a rich upper-class family in 1890. We could safely say that she was a true specialist in detective stories, murder mysteries and crime fiction. In fact, she wrote sixty-six of them, plus fourteen short story collections.

Let’s have quick look at her life. She was married and mostly lived peacefully in London with her family. In the beginning, she was a rather unsuccessful novelist and had a lot of rejections. Her success, however, came after the 1920s. Christie’s books were published worldwide and people bought more than 2 billion copies of them.

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie Memorial in near Covent Garden

She really was a genius when it came to writing good stories, but did you know that she didn’t only work as a writer? During the First World War, she was working in a hospital helping groups of soldiers. And during the Second World War, Christie was working in a London hospital as a pharmacy assistant. I bet you’re thinking: why is this important? Because during these experiences, she learned all that she could about the human body, psychology, diseases, but most importantly: poisons! So later, as a writer, she used her exceptional knowledge and made poisons the central part of her novels – Christie used fourteen poisons to “kill off” the unlucky victims fourteen of her novels. That’s not so pleasant…!

Let me tell you about the two main fictional characters that appeared in Christie’s books: Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.

The most famous of them all is Poirot, the Belgian detective. He’s been portrayed on radio, in film and on television – if you’re interested, I would suggest you check out The Murder on the Orient Express. You can either read it or watch it; there have been multiple film productions made about its story. You’ll surely recognise Poirot from his curled moustache, dark hair and shiny eyes. It’s well-known that he suffers from sea sickness, is extremely punctual and always carries a pocket watch.

I should also mention more about Miss Marple, an elderly and amateur detective. You could ‘meet’ her in a number of novels or spot her in TV episodes/movies. She is famous for being very gossipy and nosy; she always expects the worst. I’ll recommend the following stories: The Murder at the Vicarage, The Body in the Library, and 4.50 from Paddington.

If you’re any interested in theatre… listen up! Remember that I’ve mentioned The Mousetrap? The murder mystery play? It’s set in the countryside: in the quiet and lonely Monkswell Manor, a large country house on a huge estate. You’ll get introduced to each character and you’ll keep guessing who could have committed the murder. I can tell you it’s very exciting and there’s -of course- a twist in the ending. It’s a must-see, in my opinion! It is playing now at St. Martin’s Theatre and it’s been running there since 1974. There are afternoon matinees and evening performances, so it’s easy to book a date that suits you. And the best part? … The theatre is only a 10-minute walk from Bloomsbury International, and maybe it’s not just a coincidence! Will you go after class?

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