Agatha Christie is known throughout the world as the Queen of Crime. Her books have sold over a billion copies in English with another billion in foreign languages. She is the most widely published author of all time and, in many languages, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. She is the author of 80 crime novels and over 150 short stories, 19 plays, and six novels written under the name Mary Westmacott.
Agatha Christie’s first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was written towards the end of the First World War, in which she served the VAD. In it she created Hercule Poirot, the little Belgian detective who was destined to become the most popular detective in crime fiction since Sherlock Holmes. It was eventually published by Bodley Head in 1920.
In 1926, after averaging a book a year, Agatha Christie wrote her first masterpiece. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was the first of her books to be published by Collins and marked the beginning of an author-publisher relationship that lasted for 50 years and well over 70 books, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was also the first of Agatha Christie’s books to be dramatized – under the name Alibi – and to have a successful run in London’s West End. The Mousetrap, her most successful play of all, opened in 1952 and is the longest-running play in history.
Agatha Christie was made a dame in 1971. She died in 1976.
Agatha Christie Ltd. was founded in 1955 and has promoted and administered her work under her direct control and that of her family ever since. The company is based in London, the CEO is Hilary Strong and the Chair is the author’s great-grandson, James Prichard.