I am so excited to share the news that Malice Domestic has honored Premeditated Myrtle with an Agatha Award nomination! The Agathas are named, naturally, for the undisputed queen of mysteries herself, Dame Agatha Christie. Christie’s life was as fascinating as her writing, and in some ways, she was as much of a mystery.
One of the most famous and best-selling authors of all time, Christie is best known as the creator of fictional sleuths Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Her books have become synonymous with the “cozy mystery—” one where the violence occurs off the page, and the satisfaction is in the solving of a clever puzzle. (Read more about the origins of this sort of mystery here.)
For a fascinating look at Christie’s life and works–specifically her background as a pharmacy technician–I wholeheartedly recommend Kathryn Harkup’s A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie. Harkup, herself a chemist, takes a pharmacological approach to Christie’s work, focusing on the author’s favorite murder weapon: poison.
In 1926, at the height of her popularity, Agatha Christie abruptly went off the grid. Her disappearance was an international sensation, and the mystery of just exactly where she went, and why, endures to this day. The Agatha Christie Wiki has a nice overview of this incredible chapter in the author’s life.
Most of Christie’s hundreds (!!) of works are still under copyright, but a few have entered the public domain and are available to read online. These include her first Hercule Poirot novel, 1920’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles.
Christie’s incredible career spanned more than 50 years, from The Mysterious Affair at Styles in 1920, to Sleeping Murder, published shortly after her death in 1976 at age 85. Her books, short stories, and plays defined twentieth-century mystery fiction, and their popularity endures, entertaining readers across the globe… and inspiring generations of authors to follow in her footsteps.
I am incredibly honored to have Myrtle linked to this icon of English literature! Congratulations to my fellow nominees, and a huge thanks to Malice Domestic for the recognition. The suspense will continue until July 17.