Agatha Christie’s amazing legacy

Remembering Agatha’s work on the anniversary of her death

Agatha Christie, the best selling novelist of all time, died 45 years ago today at Winterbrook in Oxfordshire.

She left a legacy of 66 detective novels, 14 short story collections, as well as numerous romances, plays and volumes of poetry, which together have sold more than two billion copies.

The Pocket Essential Agatha Christie gives
fascinating facts about her work
Agatha was 85 years old when she died and she had been a published author for 56 years. Her last novel, Sleeping Murder, featuring Miss Marple, was published in 1976, after her death.

She was such a popular and successful novelist that 45 years later her novels are still being purchased and borrowed from libraries and new film and television adaptations of the stories are constantly being made.

The Guinness World Records has listed Agatha as the best selling fiction writer of all time.

Her fictional detectives, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, are familiar to people even if they have never read a detective novel.

But Agatha was unsuccessful to begin with and suffered six consecutive rejections. If she’d given up at that point the world wouldn’t have ever had the huge body of work that has entertained so many millions of people over the years.

The turning point came for Agatha when her novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was published in 1920, when she was 30 years of age, and she never looked back.

The lesson to be learned by other writers from Agatha’s life and career is that they should not give up. Success might come eventually, but only if you keep writing.

Just over a year before Agatha died she was asked by an interviewer what she wanted to be remembered for. She replied: ‘Well, I would like it to be said that I was a good writer of detective and thriller stories.’ I think this has been said many times, so she would have been satisfied.

Curtain, Poirot’s last case, which she had written during the Second World War, was published in September 1975 just a few months before her death.

Agatha died on 12 January 1976 and was buried four days later after a service at St Mary’s Church in the village of Cholsey in Oxfordshire.

The inscription on her tombstone is a quotation from Edmund Spencer’s The Faerie Queen:

‘Sleepe after toyle, port after stormie seas, Ease after war, death after life, does greatly please.’

The Pocket Essential Agatha Christie by Mark Campbell is packed with facts and information about Agatha Christie’s life and body of work that may help to inspire up and coming crime writers.



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