a woman of mystery

Agatha Christie was born on this day 130 years ago, 15 September, 1890. She was born in Devon which is in the southwest of England.

She began writing detective fiction during the first World War while working as a nurse. Her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was published in 1920 after the war ended. In that novel the character of Hercule Poirot was introduced and he became one of the most popular characters among her readers.

Agatha Christie is perhaps the world’s most famous mystery writer and is the best-selling novelist of all time. Only Shakespeare and the Bible have sold more than Christie. She was a prolific writer. She wrote a lot over five decades – 66 crime novels, 6 non-crime novels, 150 short stories, and 30 plays.

Her books have been published in over 100 languages.  She is the most translated author.

Christie died in 1976. On the day she died the theatres in the West End of London dimmed their lights for one hour.


Agatha Christie’s most famous characters are Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.

Miss Marple is an old lady. She lives in a very small and traditional English village. People do not think she is smart, but she uses logic and always finds out who is guilty of the murder.

Hercule Poirot is perhaps a little strange. He is short (around 1.62m) and has a very distinctive moustache. He is a private detective from Belgium but now lives in London. He finds out who the murder is by thinking about all the evidence.

The Mousetrap

Christie wrote over 30 plays. The most famous is The Mousetrap. It is the longest running play in the world. It started in 1952 and continued without a break until 2020 when all theatres in Britain were closed because of Coronavirus.


  • an old lady – una anciana
  • billion – mil millones
  • character – personaje
  • evidence – las pruebas
  • guilty – culpable
  • moustache – el bigote
  • murder – el asesinato
  • to publish – publicar
  • smart – (ser) listo
  • translated – traducido


Many words in English and Spanish are similar. In English we call them cognates, in Spanish they are cognados.

In this article there are a number of cognates.

  • author – el autor/ la autora
  • continued – continuo
  • crime – el crimen
  • debut – el debut
  • decade – la década
  • detective – el/la detective
  • distinctive – distintivo
  • to introduce – introducir
  • logic – la lógica
  • novel – la novela
  • novelist – el/la novelista
  • private – privado
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