Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, DBE (September 15, 1890–January 12, 1976), was a British crime fiction writer. She also wrote romances under the name Mary Westmacott.
Agatha Christie is the world's best-known mystery writer and all-time best selling author of any genre other than William Shakespeare. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and another billion in over 45 foreign languages (as of 2003). As an example of her broad appeal, she is the all-time best-selling author in France, with over 40 million copies sold in French (as of 2003) versus 22 million for Émile Zola, the nearest contender.
Christie published over eighty novels and stageplays, mainly whodunnits and locked room mysteries, many of these featuring one of her series characters, Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple. She is a major figure in detective fiction for both her commercial success and her innovations in the genre.
Although she delighted in twisting the established form, she was scrupulous in "playing fair" with the reader by making sure all necessary information for solving the puzzle was given. One of her early books, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, is renowned for its surprise denouement.
Most of her books and short stories have been filmed, some many times over (Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, 4.50 from Paddington). The BBC has produced television and radio versions of most of the Poirot and Marple stories. A later series of Poirot dramatizations starring David Suchet was made by Granada Television.
In 2004, the Japanese broadcasting company Nippon Housou Kyoukai turned Poirot and Marple into animated characters in the anime series Agatha Christie's Great Detectives Poirot and Marple, introducing Mabel West (daughter of Miss Marple's mystery-writer nephew Raymond West, a canonical Christie character) and her duck Oliver as new characters.
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