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阿加莎·克里斯蒂:悬疑小说之王 Agatha Christie: the First Lady of Mystery(2)


  Meanwhile her love of writing and mysteries still flourished, and she began to think about writing her own novel. In 1916, egged14) on by her sister Madge, she decided to have a go15) at it. In just three weeks she managed to crank out16) her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The novel debuted17) her now famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, the quirky yet logical little Poirot who would eventually appear in 39 novels.

  But although finished quickly, the book took nearly four years to find publication. But once the reading public had gotten a taste of Agatha’s work, her success as an author was assured. Her second book The Secret Adversary followed in 1922. And soon she was publishing at least one book per year—with nearly everything she produced selling astonishingly well. But life on the home front meanwhile was not so successful. Despite the birth of daughter Rosalind in 1919 and their mutual economic success, the Christies were drifting apart.

  The Eleven Missing Days 失踪之谜

  Eventually, in 1926, Archie admitted he had a mistress and asked for a divorce. The highly sensitive Agatha was crushed. But what followed immediately after has haunted18) the legend of the great writer ever since. On the evening of Friday, December 3, 1926, Agatha went upstairs to kiss her daughter goodnight. Then, at 9:45 p.m., she got into car and drove away. Later the vehicle was found abandoned several miles from home, with many of Agatha’s personal belongings strewn19) about inside. There was no sign of Agatha herself however. Immediately a huge search was mounted20), and the case attracted tremendous attention from the media as well as various public figures. Agatha’s husband Archie meanwhile, who had been away for the weekend with his girlfriend, became the object of tremendous scorn and suspicion.

  But 11 days later Agatha was found, alive, at the Harrogate Hydropathic Hotel. Most curious of all, she had registered herself under a name patterned after her husband’s mistress. According to a public statement made by police and family, Agatha was allegedly suffering from amnesia21).

  Archaeological Life 考古伉俪

  The Christies ultimately divorced in 1928. Several months later Agatha decided to go on a holiday, someplace exotic and foreign. She ended up aboard the Orient Express, headed for the Middle East. But even though the train ride provided fodder22) and inspiration for her later book, Murder on the Orient Express (1934), her final destination proved dreadfully boring. Arriving at last in Baghdad, Christie soon found herself bogged23) down in polite English society, and all usual accouterments24).

  Christie was aware however that some exciting archaeological work was being done farther south in Iraq. And she realized she could escape her implacable English hosts by arranging a visit to the dig site. As it turned out the wife of the chief archaeologist on site was a big fan of Christie’s and an extended stay was easy to arrange. There at last she immersed herself in the exotic foreign world she had come to explore—strange foods, customs, the bustle of native workers.

  But as it turned out, watching the ancient past emerge from the sands had a romance all its own. And the intellectual work of archaeology, figuring out the past from clues left behind, was a great deal like detective work. So, although she had to return to England, she eagerly accepted an invitation to return again the following year. When she did, she was assigned a handsome young archaeologist, Max Mallowan, to show her around and explain what had been learned during the years’ excavation. Agatha enjoyed his company as much as she did the tour itself. But of course she was certain he would never be interested in an “old lady” like herself, 14 years his senior. But when a family emergency called Agatha back to England, Max insisted on accompanying her. Six months later they were married.

  It proved to be the beginning of a life of mutual respect, support, and adventuring with Agatha accompanying Max into the field for excavations as often as possible. According to Max, she had a meticulous25) manner, a keen eye, and seemingly endless patience. Meanwhile she continued to write her novels, with many of her stories inspired by the settings and characters she had encou

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