Speech Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born on the 15th September in Torquay England, in 1890. From a young age, Christie loved writing stories for her friends and family, her first novel “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” was published in 1920, when Christie was only thirty years old. Christie was of British nationality, and married twice in her lifetime, first to Archibald Christie, then later to Max Mallowan until her death on the 12th January 1976 in Wallingford, England.
Christie accomplished many significant literary achievements in her lifetime, including: * The Mystery Writers of America Grand Master award 1955 * An honorary degree from Exeter University1961 * Became president of The British Detection Club in 1967 * And in 1971 she received England’s highest honor, the Order of the British Empire, Dame Commander. From her first novel, “The mysterious Affair at Styles” in 1920, her novels increasedin mystery and suspense, introducing two new detectives: Miss Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot, who featured in almost all of her later novels. Witness for the Prosecution” 1925, “the A. B. C Murders” 1936 and “The Pale Horse” 1961 are just three of Christie’s seventy-nine novels significant in shaping her growing identity as a Crime Fiction author. Many of Christie’s novels were shaped around her own personal experiences. These include “Murder on The Orient Express” 1934 and “Death on The Nile”. Having knowledge of the setting as well as the history of the location where the novel is set adds extensive authenticity to the novel. Christie’s novels were written in the “Golden Age” and were considered “cosy” crime fiction.
Significant events took place before and during Christie’s writing that may have influenced her perception of the crime genre. Specific wars or war-like events such as World War I, World War II, The Korean War and the Civil War in Lebanon may have introduced new ideas into the crime fiction genre. One of Christie’s novels, “Murder on The Orient Express” had foundations of real events, such as the kidnapping of the Armstrong baby is 1932, just before the novel was written. Such events also add to the authenticity of the novel.
The crash of the stock market in 1929 brought many hardships to society, and many authors such as Christie were forced to cease work due to the effects of the Great Depression, such as a significant decrease in availability of resources and hardly anyone having any money to purchase the novels anyway. As history evolved, so did new ideas about society. The fifties were a time of peacemaking, with segregation rules illegal in the United Stated in 1954, and the peace symbol created in 1958. This idea of peace keeping was abruptly interrupted in 1963 when JFK was assassinated.
Although assassinations were not a new thing, the juxtaposition of JFK’s introduced new ideas into the crime genre. Crime fiction has changed rapidly overtime, from cosy to realist to hard-boiled, and everything in between. Edgar Allan Poe was one of the greatest crime writers of all time, influencing the crime-genre for centuries with his novels “The murders in the Rue Morgue” in 1841 and “The Tell-Tale Heart” in 1843. Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” 1934 introduced Hercule Poirot, the detective in many of her later novels.
Poirot is described as an intellectual, witty detective who pays extremely close attention to minor details of the crime. “Murder On The Orient Express” describes the murder of Mr Ratchett, stabbed twelve times, all stab wounds seeming to be delivered with different forces. The situation of the crime is revealed in chapter five of the novel; the morning after Poirot hears loud noises coming from Mr. Ratchett’s compartment. M. Bouc, another detective-like character on the train, informs Poirot not only that the train had stopped in the middle of the night due to a snowstorm, but also “… a passenger lies dead in his berth… stabbed. Poirot is sickened but not surprised, as Mr. Ratchett was informing Poirot the previous day that his life was in danger, and that he had many enemies. The reader is left guessing as to why he had enemies, why he got murdered, and by whom. This draws suspicion upon the twelve passengers on the carriage, and Mr. Ratchett as to if he was unjustly murdered, or if he was in fact a criminal. The introduction to the detective is very significant to the novel. Poirot notices that the train is particularly crowded for the time of year.
The clues soon follow. Poirot overhears a conversation between two passengers, Miss Debenham and Colonal Arbuthnot “Not now. Not now. When it’s all over. When it’s behind us—then—. ” Drawing suspicion on the relationship between these characters. A woman ion a scarlet kimono is seen walking down the corridor after the murder, a button from one of the conductors is found on the floor of Mrs. Hubbards compartment, as well as a bloody knife in her sponge bag. Mrs. Hibbard also claims that she witnessed the murderer in her berth.
A handkerchief with the initial “H” and a pipe cleaner were found in Mr. Ratchet’s compartment, as well as a burned note with the name “Cassetti” on it, as well as a sleeping draught dissolved in a glass of water on sink. These clues suggest a clumsy murder, but Poirot believes it was a very organized crime. The investigation of the crime proves that the crime was highly sophisticated and thought out. Poirot discovers the false identities of many of the passengers such as Countess Andryeni or “Helena Goldenberg”.
The elimation of clues assisted in the investigation of the crime, as many “clues” were found to be distractions such as the woman in the scarlet kimono. Mr Ratchett was found to be a criminal and had many enemies, as his real name was Cassetti, the leader of the gang that kidnapped and murdered Daisy Armstrong, the daughter of Sonia and Colonel Armstrong. The investigation led to the discovery that all twelve passengers were the criminals, and may of them hid their identities so Poirot would not be able to link them to the murder of Cassetti.
Poirot found twelve stab wounds on the Vitim, all delivered with different force, and there happened to be twelve passengers on the carriage where Mr. Ratchettt was murdered. Through inspection of the stab wounds, Poirot and his team discovered that every stab wound was delivered by a different person. This proved Poirot’s theory that all twelve passengers were responsible for the crime and were each somehow connected to Daisy Armstrong. Hector MacQueen was Ratchett’s secretary, and devoted to Sonia Armstrong. MacQueen’s father was the attorney for the kidnapping case of Daisy Armstrong.
He knew from his father the details of Cassetti’s escape from justice. Masterman was Ratchett valet, and was Colonel Armstrong’s soldier during the war. Colonel Arbuthnot was Colonel Armstrong’s best friend. Mrs. Hubbard in actuality was Linda Arden, the most famous tragic actress of the New York stage, and was Sonia Armstrong’s mother and Daisy’s grandmother Countess Andrenyi or Helena Goldenberg was Sonia Armstrong’s sister; Count Andryeni was the husband of Helena Andrenyi; Princess Natalia Dragomiroff was Sonia Armstrong’s godmother as she was a friend of her mother;
Miss Mary Debenham was Sonia Armstrong’s secretary and Daisy Armstrong’s governess; Fraulein Hildegarde Schmidt, Princess Dragomiroff’s maid, was the Armstrong family’s cook; Antonio Foscarelli, a car salesman, was the Armstrong family’s chauffeur; Miss Greta Ohlsson, was Daisy Armstrong’s nurse; Pierre Michel, the train conductor, was the father of Susanne, the Armstrong’s nursemaid who committed suicide; Cyrus Hardman, a private detective ostensibly retained as a bodyguard by Ratchett/Cassetti, was a policeman in love with Susanne.