September 15, 2010 The United Kingdom celebrates 120 years since the birth of the most famous and successful in the history of literature author of detective stories, the English writer Agatha Christie.
The anniversary date is celebrated throughout this year. In Britain, performances, flower exhibitions, tea parties “a la Christie” and readings of world famous works are held. Tours are held throughout the country to places where Christie herself and the heroes of her books have been, and also conduct mystery tours and detective tours.
Despite the fact that the writer was born in seaside Torquay, the most massive travels “following Christie’s” promise to be in London. On September 19, John Carran, an expert on the work of the British writer and author of The Secret Records of Agatha Christie, will conduct a tour of the places in the capital that are associated with the famous British.
Not only Hercule Poirot lived in London: Christy herself came here in 1918 and first settled in the Kensington area, and then moved to Chelsea. Tickets for the tour, according to the organizers, were sold out several months ago.
In addition, the BBC television and radio corporation is preparing several projects for the 120th anniversary of Christie’s birth. In honor of the anniversary, the BBC publishes on its official website a small archive with radio comments, audio and television interviews of the writer and about the writer, including the author’s discussion on the topic “How to write a bestseller.”
Also, these days on the air of BBC Radio 4, Christie’s works about Harley Keane, the hero of 12 stories of Christie, are heard.
This week at the Christie’s House Museum, visitors are offered the famous Chocolate Cake “Marvelous Death” from the book “Murder Declared.”
The culmination of the holiday will be a gala dinner for Christie fans on September 15 on the beach in Torquay and a festive fireworks display in the writer’s hometown.
What was she like?
The wife of the archaeologist, in the second marriage of Mrs. Agatha Mallone, herself was engaged in excavations – only in the human soul. She compared the creation of detective stories to archaeological work – and every year she published a new novel, and sometimes two or three novels. Finally, her circulation books became equal to the Bible and Shakespeare’s legacy. Anyone who has not read the works of Lady Agatha Mary Clarissa, nee Miller, will still not get anywhere from her influence. Films of her prose – with Peter Ustinov, Vanessa Redgrave, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Taylor, Tony Curtis, television shows regularly about Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. Christie’s novels in the world continue to be read. And literary scholars – manic to explore them.
Let the style of Agatha Christie not evolve, and the works are built according to the template. The reader forgives these sins and willingly follows the tireless narrator through the wilds of the human soul.
What is the secret of Lady Agatha as a literary hypnotist? There have been many studies and false sensations. Universities of London, Birmingham, and Warwick conducted a linguistic analysis of her works and concluded that Christie was fluent in neuro-linguistic programming methods.
There were biochemical theories: they say that reading Christie’s novels promotes the production of serotonin, the “hormone of happiness”. And the detectives of Scotland Yard assured that her detectives help investigate crimes and reveal the psychology of the killer – especially in cases of poisoning: after all, Lady Agatha had a pharmaceutical education.
Be that as it may, she led the reader by the nose, played with him like a cat with a mouse: either let go of his attention, then capture again – create tension, suspense, and then she will manipulate the reader to the end. By the way, Christie’s novels were seriously studied by advertisers and PR people: they were looking for a magic recipe for consumer hypnosis from her. “Death creates prejudice in favor of the dead,” the British writer could quote her aphorism on this subject.
The birth of the one and only
Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, born Agatha Christie, was born September 15, 1890 in Torquay, County Devon (England) to a family of wealthy Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller. emigrants from the United States of America. Agatha was the youngest child in the family. The girl received an excellent home education, mainly music. Only fear of the stage prevented Agatha from becoming a musician.
During World War I, Agatha worked as a nurse in a hospital; she liked this profession and she spoke of it as “one of the most useful professions that a person can practice.” She also worked as a pharmacist in a pharmacy, which subsequently left an imprint on her work: 83 crimes in her works were committed through poisoning.
For the first time, Agatha Christie married on Christmas Day in 1914, Colonel Archibald Christie, whom she had been in love with for several years — even when he was a lieutenant. They had a daughter – Rosalind. This period was the beginning of the career of Agatha Christie. In 1920, Christy’s first novel, The Mystery of the Stiles Incident, was published. In the seventh publishing house alone, the manuscript was printed in 2000 copies. The aspiring writer received £ 25 of a fee.
In 1926, Agatha’s mother died. At the end of the same year, Agatha’s husband Christie Archibald admitted infidelity and asked for a divorce because he fell in love with his golf colleague Nancy Neal. After a quarrel in early December 1926, Agatha disappeared from her home, leaving a letter to her secretary stating that she had gone to Yorkshire. Her disappearance caused a loud public outcry, since the writer already had admirers of her work. For 11 days, Christie’s whereabouts were not known.
Agatha’s car was found, in the cabin of which her fur coat was discovered. A few days later, the writer herself was discovered. As it turned out, Agatha Christie registered under the name Teresa Neal in the small spa hotel Swan Hydropathic Hotel (now the Old Swan Hotel). Christie did not explain her disappearance, and two doctors diagnosed her with amnesia caused by a head injury. The reasons for the disappearance of Agatha Christie were analyzed by the British psychologist Andrew Norman in his book The Finished Portrait, where he, in particular, claims that the traumatic amnesia hypothesis does not stand up to criticism, since Agatha Christie’s behavior testified to the contrary: she registered at the hotel under the name of her husband’s mistress, she spent time playing the piano, spa treatments, and visiting the library. Nevertheless, having studied all the evidence, Norman concluded that there was a dissociative fugue caused by severe mental illness.
According to another version, the disappearance was specially planned for her in order to take revenge on her husband, whom the police inevitably suspected of the murder of the writer.
Despite mutual affection in the beginning, the marriage of Archibald and Agatha Christie ended in divorce in 1928.
In his novel Unfinished Portrait, published in 1934 under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, Agatha Christie describes events similar to her own disappearance.
Second marriage and later years
In 1930, traveling around Iraq, during excavations in Ur, she met her future husband – archaeologist Max Mallowan. He was 15 years younger than her. Agatha Christie spoke about her marriage, that for an archaeologist a woman should be as old as possible, because then her value increases significantly. Since then, she periodically spent several months of the year in expeditions with her husband in Syria and Iraq, this period of her life was reflected in the autobiographical novel “Tell me how you live.” In this marriage, Agatha Christie lived the rest of her life, until her death in 1976.
Thanks to Christie’s trips with her husband to the Middle East, the events of several of her works took place there. The scene of other novels (for example, “And There Was No One”) was the city of Torquay or its environs, the place where Christie was born. The 1934 Oriental Express Murder novel was written at the Hotel Pera Palace in Istanbul, Turkey (Fig. 3). Room 411 of the hotel where Agatha Christie resided, now her memorial museum. The Greenway Estate in Devon, which the couple bought in 1938, is protected by the National Trust Society of Monuments.
Christie often stayed at the Abney Hall mansion in Cheshire, which belonged to her brother-in-law James Watts. At least two works of Christie took place on this estate: “The Adventure of Christmas Pudding”, the story is also included in the eponymous collection, and the novel “After the Funeral”. “Ebni became an inspiration to Agatha; from here were taken descriptions of places such as Styles, Chimniz, Stownates and other houses, which in one way or another are Ebni. ”
In 1956, Agatha Christie was awarded the Order of the British Empire, and in 1971, for achievements in the field of literature, Agatha Christie was awarded the title of Cavalierdam (English Dame Commander) of the Order of the British Empire, whose owners also acquire the noble title “lady”, used in front of the name. Three years earlier, in 1968, the title of Knight of the Order of the British Empire was awarded to Agatha Christie’s husband, Max Mallowen, for his achievements in the field of archeology.
In 1958, the writer headed the English Detective Club.
Between 1971 and 1974, Christie’s health began to deteriorate, but despite this, she continued to write. Specialists at the University of Toronto investigated Christie’s writing style over the years and suggested that she suffered from Alzheimer’s.
In 1975, when she was completely weakened, Christie transferred all the rights to her most successful play, The Mousetrap, to her grandson.
The writer died on January 12, 1976 at her home in Wallingford, Oxfordshire after a short cold and was buried in the village of Cholsey (Fig. 4). Even after his death in 1976, Agatha Christie surprises fans with new works. In September 2003, an unknown play was found in the archives of the British Library – The Secret of Chimniz Castle. And in 2008, Agatha’s grandson Christy Matthew Pritchard released an audio recording of an interview with his grandmother.
The autobiography of Agatha Christie, which the writer graduated in 1965, ends with the words: “Thank you, Lord, for my good life and for all the love that was given to me.”
Christy’s only daughter, Rosalind Margaret Hicks (Rosalind Margaret Hicks) also lived 85 years and died October 28, 2004 in Devon. Agatha Christie’s grandson, Mathew Prichard, inherited the rights to some of Agatha Christie’s literary works and is still associated with the Agatha Christie Limited foundation.
Agatha Christie’s “Autobiography”
In an interview with the British television company BBC in 1955, Agatha Christie said that she spent evenings knitting in the company of friends or family, and at that time she was working on thinking over a new storyline, by the time she sat down to write a novel, a plot was ready from start to finish. By her own admission, the idea of a new novel could come anywhere. Ideas were brought into a special notebook full of various notes about poisons, newspaper articles about crimes. The same thing happened with the characters. One of the characters created by Agatha had a real living prototype – Major Ernest Belcher, who at one time was the head of Agatha Christie’s first husband, Archibald Christie. It was he who became the prototype of Pedler in the 1924 novel “A Man in a Brown Suit” about Colonel Reis.
Agatha Christie was not afraid to touch on social issues in her works. For example, at least two Christie’s novels (Five Piglets and The Trial of Innocence) described cases of judicial errors related to the death penalty. In general, many of Christie’s books describe the various negative aspects of English justice of the time.
And once a British creativity researcher Christy John Curran presented a surprise to the public. It turned out that in the 1930s. Agatha wrote an anti-dictatorial work about Hitler – “The Taming of Cerberus” – in a cycle based on the 12 exploits of Hercules – with the Augean stables, the Lernean hydra, the Nemean lion. The work was not published, and it was lying in the attic of Christie’s country house. Curran, delving into paper treasures in Lady Agatha’s house, as she herself had once been – in archaeological antiquities during expeditions with her husband, printed an unknown political utopia of Mrs. Christie. The novelist, who thoroughly knew the human soul, turns out to be naive in believing that the dictator can be re-educated with the help of Christian love …
The writer has never made the topic of her novels a crime of a sexual nature. Unlike today’s detective stories, in her works there are practically no scenes of violence, pools of blood and rudeness. “The detective was a moral story. Like everyone who wrote and read these books, I was against the criminal and for the innocent victim. It could not have crossed anyone’s mind that the time would come when the detectives would be read because of the scenes of violence described in them, for the sake of getting sadistic pleasure from cruelty for the sake of cruelty … ”- she wrote in her autobiography. In her opinion, such scenes dull the feeling of compassion and do not allow the reader to focus on the main theme of the novel.
Agatha Christie considered the best novel “Ten Little Indians” to be her best work. The rocky island on which the novel takes place is written off from nature – this is the island of Burg in South Britain. Readers also appreciated the book – it has the largest sales in stores, but to comply with political correctness, it is now being sold under the title “And There Was No One”.
Poirot, along with Miss Marple, is one of the two main characters in the works of Agatha Christie. Poirot is a Belgian émigré, a former policeman (Fig. 5). This served as an explanation in the first book about him (in general, the writer’s first novel), “The Mysterious Incident in Styles”, why such an experienced detective is without work in the countryside – after all, Belgium was occupied during the action and writing of the novel (1916, published in 1920) Germany. Agatha Christie wrote in her Autobiography that there were many Belgian immigrants in the city of Torquay, where she lived.
There are many versions of the appearance of his name Hercule (the French form from Hercules): they pointed to Hercule Popo – the image of Mrs. Marie Bellock Lounds, others spoke of Hercule Flambo Gilbert Chesterton; surnames of Poirot: “Monsieur Poirot, a retired Belgian policeman living in London” by Frank Evans Howell, “Poirot” in French is also consonant with leek.
The predecessors of Poirot in the detective genre were Auguste Dupin Edgar Allan Poe, Sherlock Holmes Arthur Conan Doyle. Point to the similarity of Poirot with Inspector Ano A.E.V. Mason.
For some time, Poirot worked as a private detective and kept his detective agency, where Miss Lemon worked. The action of many novels begins there. The latest cases of Poirot, in the description of which a detective agency appears, are published in the collection “The exploits of Hercules”. In subsequent works, the detective agency is not mentioned. However, Poirot still acts precisely as a professional private detective, and not as an amateur.
Poirot becomes famous throughout England, even carrying out investigations of national importance (Fig. 6). He reveals many cases and almost never makes a mistake. His only defeat took place in Belgium in 1893 and is described by Agatha Christie in the story “A Box of Chocolate” and mentioned in the novel “The Endhouse Riddle”. Several times, Poirot tries to “leave the stage”, but crimes overtake him wherever he appears.
Already in the first novel, Poirot was an elderly man and lived after that another decade. The events of Agatha Christie’s novels take place at the same time at which they were written, unless otherwise expressly agreed. Thus, it turned out that Poirot is aging very slowly, having formally lived for more than a hundred years.
Back in 1930, Agatha Christie called Poirot “unbearable”, and in 1960 “vile, pompous, tiring, egocentric, inactive”. But readers loved him, and Christy did not leave the character, considering it her duty to them. Poirot dies only a year before the death of Agatha Christie in the novel Curtain, published in 1975. The action takes place in Stiles, where he began his triumphant career in England. Hercule Poirot was the only fictional character to whom an obituary was provided on the front page of The New York Times: “August 6, 1975. Hercule Poirot, a famous Belgian detective, died.”
Currently, the rights to the character belong to the grandson of the writer Matthew Pritchard.
Appearance and personal qualities
Poirot is small in stature, with an egg-shaped head, black hair that he begins to dye with age (some on-screen incarnations are depicted balding or bald), “cat eyes”, well-groomed clothes, shoes (often leather shoes) and a mustache, which are his pride. Poirot’s way of dressing is obsolete over the years. Poirot always keeps his home clean. His house is in perfect order, and everything is in place. His clothes are always clean, there is not a single speck of dust on him. This almost manic passion for order also helps him in solving crimes. Poirot is very punctual, carries a pocket watch.
Poirot is not modest and openly calls himself a great man. He tries to complete the investigation with a dramatic finale, sometimes even with theatrical elements.
By revealing family dramas and love secrets, even some minor crimes, during the investigation, he only makes them public if absolutely necessary.
For all the time he lived in England, Poirot had never been interested in women. He himself said that women were his weakness, but he did not fall in love with anyone. The detective fell in love only once in Belgium when he was young and worked in the police, but this novel was not successful.
Poirot speaks pure English, but sometimes speaks with a strong accent. He explains this in the novel “The Tragedy in Three Acts”: when he speaks with a strong accent, everyone begins to think that he is a simple foreigner who does not even know how to speak English, and do not pay attention to him. This helps Poirot to catch the killer without frightening him.
Although the name Hercule comes from the name of the ancient hero Hercules (Hercules), but if the former accomplishes his exploits thanks to incredible physical strength, then Poirot using the “little gray cells” of the brain (Fig. 8).
Poirot’s method is to link all the facts, no matter how insignificant, into a single picture. He is able to remember the smallest details of the testimonies of witnesses, and it is these details that lead him to the correct solution to the problem. The pursuit of truth and the lack of scrupulousness allows him to rummage through other people’s things, read other people’s letters and eavesdrop on conversations. Hastings, as a typical English gentleman, always protests against such methods. Poirot is also a lover of psychological experiments. Such experiments have repeatedly allowed him to figure out the killer. Poirot talks about the role of a detective:
Often, Poirot is accompanied by Captain Hastings (in 8 novels until 1940 and most of the stories). Poirot investigates many crimes alone, and sometimes he is accompanied by Miss Lemon, Ariadne Oliver or Chief Inspector Jepp. In one of the novels, Poirot’s companion is a character who, it turns out, was the killer. In the novels “Cards on the Table”, “Death on the Nile” and some other Poirot deals with other heroes of Christie. In the novels “Drama in 3 Acts” and “The Clock,” Poirot does not play the main role, but it is he who unravels the riddle at the end.
Captain arthur hastings
In the first book, Poirot meets Captain Hastings, whom he met earlier in Belgium, and they become friends. Arthur Hastings is also present in the last book with the participation of Hercule Poirot’s Curtain, where he becomes the main character and reveals the secret of the plot after the death of the great detective.
Arthur Hastings – a retired military man, a gallant sentimental gentleman, a true representative of England of his time; has a developed imagination, courageous and faithful friend of Poirot. He believes that he “understands women well”, however, he is often deceived in his expectations; in almost every book he meets a woman whom he feels from sympathy and sympathy to falling in love and even love (“Murder on the Golf Course”). Poirot considers Hastings not very smart, but useful for his ability to “stumble” on the truth.
At the end of the Silent Witness, the captain acquires a terrier named Bob. Hastings marries a young singer, Dalsi Duvin (Murder on a Golf Course) and leaves with her for Argentina, where they have two boys and two girls. Sometimes he comes to England on business, and to visit Poirot. His wife dies before the Curtain, and his adult daughter Judith appears in the same place.
Ariadne Oliver accompanies Poirot in almost all of Christie’s later novels. She replaces Hastings and instead makes a traditional detective trick: she says something that accidentally prompts Poirot to make the right decision. First meets Poirot in the novel “Cards on the Table”, and the last book in which Mrs. Oliver is present is entitled “Elephants Can Remember.”
The detective writer Ariadne Oliver, who wrote more than fifty-six novels, was self-caricature for Agatha Christie. Her main character Finn Sven Gyerson has already pretty tired of her, but she continues to write about him, catering to readers and publishers. Poirot was never interested in her work. She is known to hate alcohol and public speaking and loves apples; often changes hairstyle, hats and clothes.
Chief Inspector Jepp
Scotland Yard Senior Inspector Jepp is present in almost all of Poirot’s early novels. He usually does nothing to help the detective, but only conducts an official investigation. First appears in The Mystery of the Stiles Incident. With Poirot, they met back in Belgium. In some works, the role of the chief inspector is limited to the fact that he arrests the exposed killer. The last novel in which he appears is One, Two, Three, Button Up Shoe.
Miss Lemon is Poirot’s secretary. Appears far from all novels. Miss Lemon’s role is negligible. Poirot, having a detective agency, must have a secretary. Sometimes it plays an important role in investigations, helping Poirot not only as a secretary.
Jane Marple, better known as just Miss Marple, is a character in the detective stories of Agatha Christie, appearing in the thirteen mysterious storybook and 12 of her novels. Marple is an old maid, an amateur detective living in the small English village of Saint Mary Mead.
Miss Marple first appeared in The Thirteen Mysterious Cases, which was published in The Royal Magazine in December 1927, and in 1930, Miss Marple became the protagonist for the first time in The Murder in the Vicar’s House. In 1940, Agatha Christie wrote the novel The Forgotten Murder, the last of the Miss Marple series, but did not publish it, so as not to upset readers waiting for the old woman’s new adventures. The novel was published only in 1976, some time after the death of Christie herself. Between 1942 and 1971, ten more novels were published in which Miss Marple was the main character. She also appears in Miss Marple’s Recent Stories.
Agatha Christie’s “Autobiography”
The image of Miss Marple
Miss Jane Marple is an old maid modestly living in the small English village of St. Mary Mead (Fig. 10). Her main activities are caring for plants in a small kindergarten and various social assignments, which she often carries out with pleasure (for example, collecting donations for various local events). Periodically, she gets out somewhere to visit friends, relatives or just relax. Constantly knits, gives knitted things to friends, relatives, or donates to charity. Well versed in flowers, other plants and gardening in general. Very curious. In her village, where she lived most of her life, she knows everything about everyone, is keenly interested in the life of her neighbors, always up to date with all the events, rumors and gossip. In the village, she has no relatives, only friends, which include most of the elderly neighbors. Her nephew Raymond is a writer, he lives in the USA, occasionally visits London, does not forget his aunt and periodically helps her.
Miss Marple looks unpresentable, her speech can often seem incoherent and confused, she is inclined to skip from one to the other in her explanations, but at the same time the old lady has a strong character and a great analytical mind, which she loves to exercise, unraveling the ones encountered on her life path riddles and unusual cases.
When murders occur in St. Mary’s Mead or where Miss Marple is at this moment, she immediately begins her own investigation into the circumstances of the case (which is why the police disapprove of her presence, although some police officers who met with the old woman before , penetrate her respect and are advised during the investigation of the case) and always finds the solution to the mystery. At the same time, Miss Marple has never worked in the police, is not a professional forensic scientist and, in general, has always been engaged in purely peaceful affairs. Her strength, as an amateur detective, lies in her sharp mind, extremely wide knowledge (especially when it comes to events in her native village), and, most importantly, in excellent knowledge of human nature. She believes that the types of people, in general, are always and everywhere the same, and correctly identifying the type, one can confidently draw conclusions about the person. Therefore, one of her “professional tricks” is to find in the past of her native village a case reminiscent of the incident being investigated, or a person who, by her behavior, is similar to the one she is dealing with now, and draw a parallel between the circumstances of the past and present events. No matter how far the events of the past happen from the current crime, this parallel allows Miss Marple to accurately explain what happened and name the offender.
Miss Marple is characterized by healthy cynicism – she suspects everyone, regardless of reputation, social status and personal sympathies. She is sure that any person can commit a crime – it is only up to the circumstances that will push him to this. He says that people, even police officers, take too much on faith, instead of carefully checking, and yet “… you can expect anything from any person – this is a property of human nature.” She evaluates the facts as they see them, not trying to build early versions. Her rich life experience allows her to pay attention to details that often elude professional detectives. Finally, the appearance and behaviors of an old gossip gossip pleasant in communication make it possible, without arousing suspicion, to talk with people on various topics, ask about their personal and family life, relatives, money matters, ask them to show a family album, ask a lot of immodest questions and receive answers to them.