My Hero Monday is an original feature (and now a link-up!) from the feminist blog The Book Hugger. In the words of its creator, Chloe, “It celebrates female heroes in our society, and promotes learning about new heroes.” My Hero Monday posts feature women both real and fictional, living and deceased.
The full link-up schedule can be found at the end of this post – and if you’d like to join next month (I strongly encourage that you do so), you can find the rules and other information here.
Hi, everyone! Once again, I’m participating in My Hero Monday. There was no MHM link-up in April, but there’s one this month… which doesn’t have a theme, so I can pick any woman I choose!
So today, I’m writing about one of my favoritest authors EVER: Agatha Christie! I looooove her books, and have written other posts about her in the past. But I will basically NEVER stop fangirling about Christie, so I just thought I’d use this opportunity to remind everyone of my intense admiration of her awesomeness. Periodically my blog posts will show up in your inbox, pestering you to read some of her books.
Let’s get started!
Note: You can find my previous My Hero Monday posts here.
Date of birth: September 15, 1890
Date of death: January 12, 1976
When did I first hear about her?
In 2010, I believe. My mom doesn’t read to my brother and I anymore, but back then she still read a LOT of books aloud to us. One of the books she chose was Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None! I fell in love with literally EVERYTHING about Christie’s writing style right then and there.
What makes her one of my heroes?
SOOOOO MANY THINGS. I’m going to try a new format for this part of the post, all right? I’m going to write it a bit like a biography – a very fangirly biography, sometimes written in ALL CAPS – and see how that works.
Here is how Agatha Christie’s life began: She was born in Torquay, England, in 1890, and grew up to be a voracious reader. (Some of her favorite stories were Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales!) She was also homeschooled, a fact that never fails to make me squee with joy, because YAY FOR RIDICULOUSLY SUCCESSFUL HOMESCHOOLERS.
During the First World War, she was a nurse and later an apothecary’s assistant, helping to dispense various medicines. She learned a great deal about chemicals there, which she cited as the reason that poisons are so frequently featured in the murder mysteries she wrote. (In fact, her knowledge of poisons was so thorough that her novels have been used to solve real-life cases of poisoning.)
Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was published in 1919 and featured a police-officer-turned-detective named Hercule Poirot. From that point on she worked mainly as a novelist, although she did take a break during WWII to… you guessed it, to work in a pharmacy and learn more about chemicals.
During her lifetime, Agatha Christie wrote sixty-six mystery novels, one hundred and fifty-three short stories, six romance novels, and seventeen plays. Additionally, many of her novels have been adapted for the stage or screen.
I love her writing – everything about it. Her books feel very old-fashioned, but NEVER dull. Just quaint, that’s all. Her plot twists are nothing short of BRILLIANT, and the ending of And Then There None left me shocked and in disbelief because the answer was there all along, right in front of my eyes. She had a wonderful way of writing red herrings, while laying out all the Actual Facts in plain sight.
Oh, and some of her characters have ALL THE SASS. They’re always complaining about each other and making snide little jabs. It’s great. I haven’t read many mysteries with Hercule Poirot, but I’ve read a bunch featuring her other detective – Miss Marple, who deserves her very own MHM post at some point! I mean, Sherlock Holmes is pretty cool, but… Jane Marple is even better. Trust me. She’s a little old lady with an amazing mind and quick wit. DFKSHDFKHGFDKSDFG MISS MARPLE IS THE BEST OK.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, my little biography-thingy. Agatha Christie was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II as recognition of her life’s work, and died in 1976. Now here come my favorite facts about her:
Her novels have sold about two billion copies, and her works come third in the ranking’s of the world’s most-widely-published books, behind Shakespeare’s works and the Bible. And Then There Were None has sold one hundred million copies, making it the best-selling mystery ever and one of the best-selling books ever. Her novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was voted the best crime novel ever. One of her stage plays, The Mousetrap, is still running after more than twenty-five thousand performances – it opened in 1952! She is the most-translated author in the world, with works published in one hundred and three different languages.
Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist OF ALL TIME.
I want you to really stop and think about that. What that means. She surpasses J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis – even J.K. Rowling. She wrote so much, and so well, that her works linger in our minds even to this day, even though she hasn’t published a book in nearly forty years.
There’s no doubt about it, Agatha Christie is one of my HEROES. Eventually I’d like to be as successful as she was, and she inspired me to try writing a mystery someday. I will never shut up about how awesome she was, basically, because I want to convert EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU into faithful Christie fans. If you’d like to try some of her stories, I recommend And Then There Were None (of course!), as well as The Body in the Library and Sleeping Murder. The latter two books feature Miss Marple, and they’re REALLY creepy and well-written and amazing. I hope you enjoy them!
P.S. As usual, I’ve found a video relating to this month’s MHM! In the following video, her grandson talks about how Christie brainstormed ideas, wrote first drafts, edited, et cetera. I really enjoyed this because he has such a personal perspective of her writing habits!
“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.”
“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.”
– And Then There Were None
“It is clear that the books owned the shop rather than the other way about. Everywhere they had run wild and taken possession of their habitat, breeding and multiplying, and clearly lacking any strong hand to keep them down.”
– The Clocks
“The best time to plan a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”
“An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her.”
So. Time for YOU to talk! Did you know anything about Agatha Christie before reading this post?! Who are your favorite writers of thrillers, crime fiction, et cetera? And do you have any favorite mysteries?! I’d love to know!
Note: I was the sole participant in MHM this month (which is why there’s no schedule at the end of this post)… so please remember to sign up in June, peoples! It’s sooo much fun, plus the posts are super-easy to write since there’s a specific format to follow. We need more partipants!