Keen to learn but short on time? Find out everything you need to know about the life and work of Agatha Christie in just 50 minutes with this straightforward and engaging guide!
Few writers have ever shaped a genre to the extent that Agatha Christie influenced crime fiction. The prolific British author, who penned a total of 67 novels over a span of more than 50 years, has had an enduring influence on every successive generation of crime novelists, having established many of the conventions that we associate with the genre today. Her plotting was so innovative that it often shocked or even scandalised readers in the early 20th century, and modern-day readers remain captivated by the challenge of unravelling one of her mysteries before the culprit is unmasked at the end of the book. She also created two of the most iconic detective characters of all time, namely Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple.
In this book, you will learn about:
• Christie’s most famous works, including And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express
• The social context and earlier writers who influenced her work and ideas
• Her personal life, including her mysterious disappearance in 1926
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It would be tremendously difficult to find someone who has never heard of Agatha Christie. Simply mentioning her name brings to mind her most famous heroes, namely Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, as well as her many bestselling novels such as And Then There Were None and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. The Queen of Crime, as she has often been called, is one of the world’s best-known, most-read and most-translated authors. Although reviews of her work have not always been favourable, her talent and prolific output brought her tremendous popular success, and she remains one of the most famous crime novelists of all time even today.
Christie’s influence on the genre of detective fiction cannot be overstated: it was very popular during the time she was active as an author, and her style became the accepted norm to such an extent that contemporary detective novels still follow the same conventions and form. However, she was always able to add touches of originality to each work of detective fiction and never failed to surprise her readers, who were so hooked on her work that they took to demanding a “Christie for Christmas” every year. The public were endlessly captivated by her boundless creativity, as well as her gift for suspense, her technique of subtly scattering clues throughout the novel and the inevitable surprise when the culprit is finally unmasked. It does not take a skilled detective to deduce why this prolific author’s books are still sold, read and enjoyed, or why her devoted fans only continue to grow in number!
As the 20th century dawned, there were no clues pointing to the upheaval and disasters lurking just around the corner. The start of the century was marked by optimism, originality, modernisation and scientific, artistic, social and economic progress. However, new rivalries sprang up between certain European countries, stirring up nationalist sentiment across the continent.
By 1914, Europe had become a powder keg, and all it took was a single spark to ignite it: on 28 June, a Serbian anarchist assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand (1863-1914), the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. Austria-Hungary sought vengeance, supported by Germany, and the rest of the world was forced to choose a side. Although the worst of the fighting took place in Europe, where France, the United Kingdom and Russia faced off against the coalition formed by Germany and Austria-Hungary, its repercussions rippled around the globe. The Great War, as it has often been called, lasted for four years, during which 9 million people were killed and around 20 million people were injured. The conflict ended in 1918 when four great empires (the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires) collapsed, redrawing the map of Europe. However, the surviving citizens of each country, though weakened by the horrors they had lived through, gained a newfound determination to live life to the full.
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