Agatha Christie Novelist and Playwright profile
Agatha Christie Novelist and Playwright
The Plays of Agatha Christie
Perhaps the most famous crime writer who has ever lived, Agatha Christie also wrote a number of dramatic works, including The Mousetrap, one of the longest running plays in the world. For drama students, the creator of such notable heroes as Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple offers the chance to play richly drawn characters with plenty of memorable dialogue. The plots are generally full of intrigue, whodunits some of which are classics of the genre.
About Agatha Christie
Born in 1890 into a wealthy family, Christie grew up in Torquay on the coast of Devon. She always thought of her childhood as a happy time and was influenced by some strong women, not least her mother and aunt. There is some suggestion that her mother was a psychic and the family were certainly more bohemian than was usual for the time.
As you might expect, Agatha Christie devoured books as a child and by the age of 20 she was involved in amateur dramatics and writing her own works. It was about this time that she also helped put on her first amateur play, The Blue Beard of Unhappiness. As with other writers over the years, Christie submitted stories to magazines and initially faced a lot of rejection. She married her husband Archibald at the outset of World War I and while he went to Europe to fight, Christie helped in the hospital in Torquay.
Already interested in detective novels, and a fan of Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie published her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring her eponymous hero Hercule Poirot in 1919. Success followed, both in books and plays for the West End stage. In all she wrote 78 novels, 19 plays and over 100 short stories.
7 quick facts about Agatha Christie
- Born in 1890
- Put on her first amateur play, The Blue Beard of Unhappiness at the age of 20.
- Agatha Christie published her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring her eponymous hero Hercule Poirot in 1919
- Her most successful plays were Mousetrap, Murder on the Nile and And Then There Were None.
- The Mousetrap: Perhaps her most important play, known for its long, record breaking run in the West End and for its plot twists.
- Murder on the Nile: Based on her novel Death on the Nile, it was first performed in Dundee and then opened in the West End in 1946.
- Christie died in 1976 at the age of 85.
Of the plays written by Agatha Christie, there are three that are very well-known. These are The Mousetrap, Murder on the Nile and And Then There Were None.
The Mousetrap: Perhaps her most important play, known for its long, record breaking run in the West End and for its plot twists. The first performance starred Richard Attenborough and has featured many famous actors and actresses since. The story revolves around the murder of Maureen Lyon in Monkswell Manor and the tradition at the end of every performance is a plea for the audience not to reveal the killer to the outside world.
Murder on the Nile: Based on her novel Death on the Nile, it was first performed in Dundee and then opened in the West End in 1946. It was originally intended to be a vehicle for Hercule Poirot but names were changed close to the production date. Poirot did make an appearance in the later film adaptation starring Peter Ustinov in 1978.
And Then There Were None: The BBC’s new adaptation of the play came out over Christmas and received good reviews. The play is the classic tale of 10 people on an island who get murdered one by one before the killer is finally revealed. As a stage play, it began on the West End in 1943. The success of the play led her to write more, including The Mousetrap.
Christie’s other plays include:
- Appointment with Death
- Black Coffee
- Butter in a Lordly Dish
- Cards on the Table
- A Daughter's a Daughter
- Fiddlers Three
- The Hollow
- Love from a Stranger
- Murder at the Vicarage
- Murder Is Easy
- Peril at End House
- Personal Call
- Spider's Web
- Towards Zero
- The Unexpected Guest
- Wasp's Nest
- Witness for the Prosecution
By Lynn Beaumont