On this day in history….12th January 1976

On this day in history : 12th January 1976 – Crime writer Dame Agatha Christie dies peacefully of natural causes, at the age of 85, at her home in Wallingford, Oxfordshire….

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After a simple funeral service she was buried in the nearby churchyard of St. Mary’s at Cholsey – having chosen her own final resting place 10 years earlier….

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born on the 15th of September 1890 in Torquay, Devon…. She was born into a wealthy upper-middle class family and was the youngest of three children…. Her parents only decided on what name to call her minutes before her christening….

We all know Agatha Christie as perhaps the most successful writer of modern times…. She has sold over 2 billion books worldwide – having only ever being outsold by Shakespeare and the Bible…. Agatha never actually intended to become a writer, she only found her vocation after being challenged by her elder sister, Madge, to write a detective story…. During her writing career she also wrote six non-crime novels, under the pseudonym of Mary Westmacott….

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Agatha as a child, date unknown – Public domain

Agatha did not go to school, she received a home education, where her parents taught her to read and write and the basics of arithmetic…. She was also musical, playing the piano and mandolin….

An avid reader from an early age, her own favourite authors as an adult were Graham Greene and Elizabeth Bowen…. Agatha gained her knowledge of poisons for her own novels whilst working in a hospital dispensary during the First World War….

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Image credit : Ninian Reid via Flickr

Here are a few more little facts about Agatha Christie which you may not have known….

She was a keen gardener and won prizes for horticulture…. She loved the sun and the sea and flowers…. Her favourite colour was green…. She enjoyed travelling, trying different foods, going to concerts and the theatre…. She liked sport and relaxed by doing embroidery…. She didn’t drink alcohol and hated smoking…. She detested cockroaches and marmalade pudding! In her own words her chief dislikes in life were : ‘crowds, loud noises, gramophones and cinemas’…. Agatha’s last public appearance was in 1974 at the film premier of’Murder on the Orient Express’….

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Agatha in 1925 – Public domain

On this day in history….25th November 1952

On this day in history : 25th November 1952 – Agatha Christie’s murder mystery play ‘The Mousetrap’ opens at the Ambassadors Theatre, London….

With its original cast, including Richard Attenborough and Sheila Sim, it is to become the longest continuously-running play in history…. Agatha Christie herself thought it would only run for about 8 months….

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Photographer unknown – Public domain

A radio play entitled ‘Three Blind Mice’ was broadcast on the 30th of May 1947 – from this came a short story – on which The Mousetrap was based…. Agatha Christie asked that the story not be published until after the play had finished its West End run…. To this day the story has still not been published in the UK – (although it has been in the United States)….

Agatha was always very particular in trying to ensure her plots were not revealed…. In true tradition at the end of each plot twisting performance of The Mousetrap the audience is asked not to reveal the identity of the murderer outside of the theatre – so as not to spoil it for future audiences….

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Photo credit : Dark Dwarf via Flickr