Agatha Christie, "The Queen of Crime" created what we know now as the structure of the mystery. A murder is committed, there are a number of suspects, all of them with secrets, a detective (usually an amateur one) tries to solve the crime, and, at the end, we are shocked with a twist, as the villian is unmasked.
Christie wrote 66 mysteries, 14 short story collections and 6 romances.
According to the Guinness World Record, she is the best selling novelist of all time.
Her novels have sold 4 billion copies and it's believed that her books rank third, after Shakespeare, and the Bible. The most translated author, her works have been translated into 103 languages.
Her novel, And Then There Were None, is the best selling mystery ever - with 100 million sales to date.
Her play The Mousetrap boasts over 25,000 performances and is still running.
In her personal life, Christie married twice. When her first marriage ended in divorce, she disappeared for 11 days, causing thousands of police officers and 15,000 volunteers to search for her. Her disappearance was never explained, but some people theorized that she wanted to punish her husband, or even frame him for her murder.
In the early 1940s, the British intelligence agency investigated her because of one of her characters, Major Bletchley. The plot involves a hunt for two of Hilter's secret spy agents in England. Christie was able to allay their fears.
Some critics wonder how Christie would fare if she was publishing in these uncertain literary times. They regard her plotting abilities to be much greater than her ability to write. And they are quick to criticize her characters, claiming that the least likely one was always the guilty party, and that her sterotyping of characters is tiresome.
So what is about Agatha Christie that made her writing endure, keeping readers hungering for more of her books?
She has created a world, a cozy place with English cottages, picket fences, mansions with different and interesting personalities floating through.
The victim unusually isn't likable and the crime is never random. There is no serial killer racing through the property with a butcher knife, slaughtering everyone in sight. We don't have to worry this might happen to us (unless we have made a number of enemies, who want to see us dead).
We are given a puzzle to solve and that's absorbing. We can leave behind our own troublesome and sometimes dreary lives to look for clues, to challenge ourselves and to be pleasantly surprised at the end.
I have read most of her books and watched her movies, again and again, whenever they appear on television. And according to the statistics, I am obviously not alone.