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Philately and Literature: Agatha Christie

Author: Emil Drkusic
Date: 06/01/2020

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, DBE (born Miller, 15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976) is a beloved English writer also known as “the queen of crime”.

Agatha Christie

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part of the “The 150th Anniversary of the National Portrait Gallery - London” series


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Although she is best known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, especially those revolving around her fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, Christie also wrote six romances under the name Mary Westmacott.

In 1971 she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her contribution to literature.

Agatha Christie

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 “The 40th Anniversary of the Death of Agatha Christie, 1890-1976”

Murder on the Orient Express (1st)

And Then There Were None (1st)

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1.33 £)

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1.33 £)

The Body in the Library (1.52 £)

A Murder is Announced (1.52 £)


Early life

Christie described her childhood as "very happy", and she was surrounded by strong and independent women from an early age. Agatha was raised in a household with various esoteric beliefs and, like her siblings; she believed that her mother Clara was a psychic with the ability of second sight. Clara believed that Agatha should not learn to read until she was eight. However, thanks to her own curiosity, Agatha taught herself to read much earlier which resulted in her being a big reader from an early age.

"One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is, I think, to have a happy childhood."

"The popular idea that a child forgets easily is not an accurate one. Many people go right through life in the grip of an idea which has been impressed on them in very tender years."

She was a big fan of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes so it’s not surprising her first published novel was a detective novel “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” featuring Hercule Poirot, a former Belgian police officer noted for his magnificent moustaches. Hercule Poirot appeared in 33 Christie’s novels and 54 short stories.

Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie

The 125th Anniversary of the Birth of Agatha Christie, 1890-1976

Central African Republic, 2015/10/12

Her other famous lead character, Miss Jane Marple, was introduced in the short-story collection The Thirteen Problems in 1927. She was based on Christie's grandmother who „always expected the worst of everyone and everything, and was, with almost frightening accuracy, usually proved right." Marple appeared in 12 novels and 20 stories.

Hercule Poirot vs. Miss Marple

In time, Christie became increasingly tired of Poirot calling him "insufferable", and "an egocentric creep". In contrast, Christie loved Miss Marple. Christie never wrote a novel or short story featuring both Poirot and Miss Marple. She revealed the reason for this: "Hercule Poirot, a complete egoist, would not like being taught his business or having suggestions made to him by an elderly spinster lady. Hercule Poirot - a professional sleuth - would not be at home at all in Miss Marple's world."

"Ah, but life is like that! It does not permit you to arrange and order it as you will. It will not permit you to escape emotion, to live by the intellect and by reason! You cannot say, 'I will feel so much and no more.' Life, Mr. Welman, whatever else it is, is not reasonable."  - Hercule Poirot

"It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely. One must seek the truth within--not without." - Hercule Poirot

Agatha Christie

The 125th Anniversary of the Birth of Agatha Christie, 1890-1976

Solomon Islands, 2015/09/03

Often referred to as the "Queen of Crime" or "Queen of Mystery", Agatha Christie is the world's best-selling mystery writer and is considered a master of suspense, plotting, and characterization.

"Crime is terribly revealing. Try and vary your methods as you will, your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul is revealed by your actions."

“Every murderer is probably somebody's old friend.”

The Guinness Book of World Records lists Christie as the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold in 2 billion copies, and her estate claims that her works come third in the rankings of the world's most-widely published books, behind only Shakespeare's works and the Bible. She remains the most-translated individual author, translated into at least 103 languages.

"Everybody is very much alike, really. But fortunately, perhaps, they don't realise it." - Miss Marple

Most of her works have been adapted for the big screen or TV, and Christie herself has also been portrayed on a number of occasions in film and television. Not bad for that little girl who learned to read by herself.

Few More Wise Quotes

"Curious things, habits. People themselves never knew they had them."

"An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her."

"There is nothing more thrilling in this world, I think, than having a child that is yours, and yet is mysteriously a stranger."

"Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more."

"The best time to plan a book is while you're doing the dishes."

"I've always believed in writing without a collaborator, because where two people are writing the same book, each believes he gets all the worry and only half the royalties."

Agatha Christie

The 125th Anniversary of the Birth of Agatha Christie, 1890-1976

Solomon Islands, 2015/09/03

"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."

"I live now on borrowed time, waiting in the anteroom for the summons that will inevitably come. And then - I go on to the next thing, whatever it is. One doesn't, luckily, have to bother about that."

"One doesn't recognize the really important moments in one's life until it's too late."

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