Agatha Christie (Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller) was born in 1890 in Torquay, Devon, South West England into a comfortably well off middle class family.
What made her upbringing unusual, even for its time, was that she was home schooled largely by her father, an American. Her mother, Clara, who was an excellent storyteller, did not want her to learn to read until she was eight but Agatha, bored and as the only child at home (she was a much loved “after thought” with two older siblings) taught herself to read by the age of five.
At this time her father, not well since the advent of financial difficulties, died after a series of heart attacks. Clara was distraught and Agatha became her mother’s closest companion. They found a way to move forward and from the age of 15 Agatha boarded at a succession of pensions and took piano and singing lessons. She could have been a professional pianist but for her excruciating shyness in front of those she did not know.
By the age of 18 she was amusing herself with writing short stories – some of which were published in much revised form in the 1930s.
Various marriage proposals followed. But it was in 1912 that Agatha met Archie Christie, a qualified aviator who had applied to join the Royal Flying Corps. Their courtship was a whirlwind affair with no money. They married on Christmas Eve 1914. He would be unfaithful. Agatha had a course of psychiatric treatments to deal with her life.