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Murder on the Orient Express

Agatha Christie

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Plot Overview

Agatha Christie was born in Torquay, England on September fifteen, 1890. She was the youngest of three children in an upper-middle class home. Agatha was schooled at home by a governess and tutors—a lifestyle later reflected in her novels. She was married in 1914 to Archie Christie, a W.W.I fighter pilot. While he was at war, Christie worked as a nurse. She first worked with patients, but was eventually transferred to the dispensary where she gained an extensive knowledge of poisons. Before Agatha married Archie, Agatha had discussed writing a murder mystery with her sister Madge, but Madge thought it would be too difficult her. Agatha devoted her downtime at the dispensary to proving her sister wrong.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles was not published until 1920. Agatha's first novel featured her most famous detective character, Hercule Poirot. Poirot became known for his eccentricities, waxy moustache and quick mind. He was a featured character in thirty of Christie's novels.

In 1926, Archie asked Agatha for a divorce. Agatha, already distressed by the recent death of her mother, drove off. Her car was found abandoned, with only a suitcase and some clothing in the backseat. Agatha's disappearance started a nation-wide manhunt, at one point 3000 people came out to look for the writer in the area her car had been found. About three weeks later she was found at a small hotel in a nearby town. Agatha claimed she had suffered a severe loss of memory, the British press claimed she had staged her own murder.

In 1930, Agatha married Max Mallowan, a young archeologist she met in Mesopotamia; much of Agatha's knowledge of the Middle East and archeology stems from her relationship and travels with he husband.

Christie is often regarded as the Queen of the Golden Age detective and mystery novels. Murder on The Orient Express, written in 1934, is considered a Golden Age, between-the wars, or classic mystery novel. As in Murder on The Orient Express, also known as Murder on the Calais Coach, Christie's novels accurately portray the life of upper-middle class, British men and women of this period. Her novels put little emphasis on the working class; the books typically describe the lives of leisure class, rich tourists. In her later work, she attempted to script the lifestyles of the coffee bar, beat generation kids, but with less success.

Murder on The Orient Express was favorably reviewed and praised in England. It was made into a film in 1974 and is one of the most successful British films ever made. Even Agatha, who generally expressed dislike for film versions of her books, expressed appreciation. In 1981, a girl was murdered in Bamberg, West Germany, in the same manner Ratchett is killed in the novel and film. The murder was considered a "carbon copy" of the crime in Christie's novel.

In her lifetime, Christie wrote over sixty-six novels, short stories, screenplays and a series of romance novels under the pen of Mary Westmacott. In 1971 she was named Dame of the British Empire. Agatha Christie died on January 2, 1976.

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