One of the most successful and beloved writer of mystery stories, Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie was born in 1890 in Torquay, County Devon, England. She wrote her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in 1920, launching a literary career that spanned decades. In her lifetime, she authored 79 crime novels and a short story collection, 19 plays, and six novels written under the name of Mary Westmacott. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language with another billion in 44 foreign languages. Some of her most famous titles include Murder on the Orient Express, Mystery of the Blue Train, And Then There Were None, 13 at Dinner and The Sittaford Mystery. Noted for clever and surprising twists of plot, many of Christie's mysteries feature two unconventional fictional detectives named Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. Poirot, in particular, plays the hero of many of her works, including the classic, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926), and Curtain (1975), one of her last works in which the famed detective dies. Over the years, her travels took her to the Middle East where she met noted English archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan. They married in 1930. Christie accompanied Mallowan on annual expeditions to Iraq and Syria, which served as material for Murder in Mesopotamia (1930), Death on the Nile (1937), and Appointment with Death (1938). Christie's credits also include the plays, The Mousetrap and Witness for the Prosecution (1953; film 1957). Christie received the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for 1954-1955 for Witness. She was also named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1971. Christie died in 1976.