Agatha Christie worked hard to earn the title 'Queen of Crime'. In a writing career lasting more than 50 years, she published 75 full-length works and countless short stories. During her lifetime, her name was rarely out of the best- seller lists both in her native England and abroad. Because of their clever plots, Christie's detective novels are just as exciting today as they were when they were written. Her mysteries are famous for surprising story twists and unexpected endings. Once the murder has been committed and the detective gets on the trail of the killer, the reader just has to keep turning the pages until the crime is solved. Agatha Miller was born in 1891 in Torquay, a fashionable seaside resort in the south of England. Her family was quite rich, and little Christie was educated at home by her mother and various private teachers. As a young girl, she dreamed of becoming an opera singer, but unfortunately her voice was not strong enough and instead of a career on the stage, she became a nurse. While she worked as a nurse, she learned a lot about poisons and how people died. She used this information later when plotting her murder stories. Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was reject ed by at least six publishers before finally appearing in 1920. In it she introduced readers to the eccentric Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. He was soon to become a household name in popular fiction and feature as the hero in many of her classic novels. The novelist had married Archie Christie in 1914, and wrote her books under her married name. In 1926, she had a big hit on her hands with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which today is regarded as one of the most ingenious mystery stories ever written. Christie created another famous detective in 1926. The inquisitive old lady, Miss Jane Marple, first appeared in Murder at the Vicarage. Like Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple soon became a hit with Christie's readers. There have been many successful film and television adaptations of Christie's novels. Her stage play The Mousetrap opened in London in 1952 and is still running more than 45 years later to packed houses. Above all, Christie's novels are a good and entertaining read. Her style of writing has been copied by many other novelists, but her cleverness at plotting has never been equalled. Christie, the undisputed Queen of Crime, died in England in 1976.