• Morgan Fagg

Setting the Table for a Killer Meal

Updated: Feb 25, 2020

Where did Agatha Christie get all her characters?

Before she became Lady Mallowan or Dame Agatha Christie, Miss Miller, her maiden name, met a man called Archibald who was born in India but schooled in England.

Her future husband was an officer and rose to the rank of Colonel. While she later divorced and remarried, Agatha maintained her first husband’s surname as she was known as an author by her married name.

While watching Diez Negritos the other day or Then There was None as it is now known, I noticed a general, a doctor, a detective and a judge, an Irishman and a school teacher all sitting around the table.

With the exception of the Irishman referred to as a Fenian, all of the guests seem to be sophisticated and successful in their own particular field, I can’t help but notice that Agatha Christie seems to have taken from her own life and time spent at the Christies’ dinner table.

For example, Agatha trained in pharmaceuticals which helped with all the poisoning references in her books and short stories but her first husband was a colonel and his father was apparently a judge.

Her husband was also part of the flying corps as well and both her grandmother and Archie’s mother were Irish. Her second husband was a famous archaeologist and that is where Dame Christie became a Lady. Unusual to see a couple with different titles in their own right but back to the Christies’ household and I wonder what Secret Santa was like in the Christie house?

Imagine Secret Santa or Kriskindle if you prefer; who got the rope under the Christmas tree in the Dining room and how often were her Christmas presents vials of poison instead of perfume?

Did she have a cousin that was a corpse or did the Christies just spend all day telling her strange stories about people they had bribed or buried?

Meeting each other at a ball hosted by Lady Clifford in the beautiful Ugbrooke House, I'm sure each and every encounter in her life inspired the young Agatha.

Even after her divorce, I believe she sailed away on the Nile and took trains to exotic destinations where she continued to write about people being poisoned and stabbed and shot in the middle of the night. I imagine that her stories inspired the boardgame Cludo which came out in 1949 and that her books kept people awake at night when they travelled on the Orient Express.

I don't know what else inspired Agatha Christie but I wouldn't trust her butler with my life or a carving knife.

Ugbrooke House where she met her first husband.

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