Which author's books have sold two billion copies, including some under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott?
And the answer: Agatha Christie.
Born in 1890, English author Agatha Christie is best known for her 78 crime novels, including Murder on the Orient Express. She also wrote 19 plays and six romance novels. She holds the Guinness World Record for the best-selling author for fiction, having sold a billion copies of her novels in English and a billion in translation.
Agatha Christie was one of the most prolific, celebrated authors of her time. As the only crime novelist to achieve equal and international fame as a dramatist, Christie enjoyed great success throughout her life that she dedicated to mystery and crime novels.
From a young age, Christie was attracted to writing. In her early years, Christie was educated at home by her mother and a succession of governesses rather than attending school. It was there that her sister and mother instilled in young Christie the need to create. However, her career began with a quick stint into the studies of music and performance – an endeavor that ultimately was unable to get off the ground due to her intense stage fright.
Turning to writing, Christie experienced many setbacks on her path to success. The young author received six rejection letters before one publisher, finally, admitted her story The Mysterious Affair at Styles to print. This publication introduced the world to one of Christie's most famous characters: Hercule Poirot.
1926 marked a turning point for the author. Following the death of her mother, Christie's husband announced his desire for divorce, as he was having an affair with a younger woman. Overwhelmed with the plethora of news, Christie disappeared. Christie was later discovered to be hiding out in the Swan Hotel under the name of her husband's mistress. Afterward, Christie never spoke of her disappearance.
While the second World War raged, Christie signed up to work as a pharmacist at a hospital in London. Interestingly, this short-lived career benefited her writing greatly: Christie was able to learn about potentially legal poisons, many of which were present in later works.
Christie later remarried an anthropologist who took her along on worldly travels. These excursions inspired many of her future novels, most notably Murder on the Orient Express.
Learn more about the famed author and playwright here.