Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time and in any language, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages.
She is the author of eighty crime novels and short-story collections, nineteen plays, two memoirs, and six novels written under the name Mary Westmacott. She is till date, the most translated author of all time.
She first tried her hand at detective fiction while working in a hospital dispensary during World War I, creating the now legendary Hercule Poirot with her debut novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles.
With The Murder in the Vicarage, published in 1930, she introduced another beloved sleuth, Miss Jane Marple. Additional series characters include the husband-and-wife crime-fighting team of Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, private investigator Parker Pyne, and Scotland Yard detectives Superintendent Battle and Inspector Japp.
Many of Christie’s novels and short stories were adapted into plays, films and television series. The Mousetrap, her most famous play of all, opened in 1952 and is the longest-running play in history.
Among her best-known film adaptations are Murder on the Orient Express (1974) and Death on the Nile (1978), with Albert Finney and Peter Ustinov playing Hercule Poirot, respectively.
Agatha Christie was first married to Archibald Christie and then to archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan, whom she accompanied on expeditions to countries that would also serve as the settings for many of her novels.
In 1971 she achieved one of Britain’s highest honors when she was made a Dame of the British Empire. She died in 1976 at the age of eighty-five.