Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, DBE (1890 – 1976) was an incredibly prolific English writer, known best, of course, for her crime novels (66 in all). She also wrote short stories and plays, plus six romances under the name Mary Westmacott. She wrote the world’s longest-running play, The Mousetrap.
Christie began writing during World War I, her new husband was away at war and she was working in a hospital dispensary. This first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, gave birth to her famous Belgian character, Hercules Poirot, and allowed her to show off her recently acquired knowledge of medicines and poisons, even gaining a review in the Pharmaceutical Journal.
Christie has been widely translated, with her novels appearing in at least 103 different languages. She won numerous awards and was made a Dame in 1971.
Agatha’s last public appearance was at the opening night of the 1974 film version of Murder on the Orient Express starring Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot. Her verdict, apparently, that it was a generally good adaptation but that Poirot’s moustaches weren’t luxurious enough.
She died in January 1976 and is buried in the churchyard of St Mary’s, Cholsey, near Wallingford.
The memorial featured here is located close to Covent Garden. I was surprised that I had never seen it before, but it was only installed in 2012. It is a large, not particularly attractive, bronze in the shape of a book. It features a bust of the writer herself, plus images of her main characters.
To read more about her life and works, click here.