Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, DBE (born Miller; 15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976) was an English writer. In 1971 she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her contribution to literature.
Christie was born into a wealthy upper-middle-class family in Torquay, Devon. Before marrying and starting a family in London, she had served in a Devon hospital during the First World War, tending to troops coming back from the trenches. She was initially an unsuccessful writer with six rejections, but this changed when The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring Hercule Poirot, was published in 1920. During the Second World War, she worked as a pharmacy assistant at University College Hospital, London, acquiring a good knowledge of poisons which feature in many of her novels.
Guinness World Records lists Christie as the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly 2 billion copies, and her her works come third in the rankings of the world’s most-widely published books, behind only Shakespeare’s works and the Bible. The Mousetrap holds the world record for longest initial run. It opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in the West End on 25 November 1952, and is still running after more than 27,500 performances.