Saturday, September 17, 2016

Agatha Christie – Royal Mail First Day Cover

The newest collection of the Royal Mail First Day Cover is dedicated to Agatha Christie, having six stamps from six of her works (Murder of the Orient Express, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, The Body in the Library, And Then There Were None, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and A Murder is Announced).
On 15 September 1890, in the seaside of Torquay in Devon, Frederick and Clara Miller had a baby girl whom they named Agatha Mary Clarissa. Growing up at Ashfield with her brother Monty and sister Madge, and educated at home, the young Agatha lived in a comfortable middle-class environment where reading was a priority.
In 1912, 22 year-old Agatha met Archibald Christie. The couple had a somewhat turbulent courtship but would ultimately marry on 24 December 1914. During the First World War, while her husband served in the Royal Flying Corps, Agatha enrolled as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse in a Red Cross Hospital in Torquay. In 1915, she began working at a hospital dispensary and it was there that she would acquire a very useful working knowledge of poisons. Drawing upon her new experiences, in 1916 she wrote her first detective story, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, basing the nationality of her detective, Hercule Poirot, on that of the Belgian refugees who had arrived in Torquay. When the finished article was submitted to a British publisher, however, it was rejected. Four years later, it was finally published in the USA and in the UK in January 1921.

Almost two and a half years after the birth of Agatha’s daughter Rosalind, the Christies set off on a 10-month Grand Tour in January 1922, during which they visited South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Canada. Agatha’s next book, The Secret Adversary, was published at the same time, followed by The Murder on the Links (1923), Poirot Investigates (1924), The Man in the Brown Suit (1924), and The Secret of Chimneys (1925).
The summer of 1926 saw the end of Agatha’s first marriage and the publication of her sixth detective novel, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, notable for its innovative sleight of hand.  
Early in 1930, Agatha met a young archaeologist, Max Mallowan, on an impromptu trip to Iraq and later that year they were married in Edinburgh. The year 1930 also saw the first appearance of a new solver of crimes, Miss Marple, whose sharp detecting skills were revealed in The Murder at the Vicarage.
In the 10 years following her second wedding, Agatha published more than 20 books, including her two most famous works, Murder on the Orient Express (1934) and And Then There Were None (1939). The next decade saw her established as a major playwright. The Mousetrap opened in London’s West End in November 1952 and has been running ever since.

After writing 66 detective novels, six romance novels, 150 short stories, 19 plays, two poetry collections and two memoirs, 85-year-old Agatha Christie died on 12 January 1976 at her home in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, the undisputed queen of crime. 

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