Agatha Christie (1890-1976)
Agatha Miller (that was her maiden name) was born in 1890 in a town of England called Torquay. Her family was quite wealthy.
She never went to school, in fact she was educated during her childhood by her mother and by her nannies.
In 1914 she married Archie Christie, that was one of the first pilots of the World War I, but some years later they broke up.
Sometime later she started working in a hospital as a nurse. It’s during that period that she had the idea of writing her first mystery book, in fact, as she was a nurse, she could learn lots of things about poisons and put all the notions acquired with her job into her writings.
Agatha Christie died in 1976, and we can say that, because of her wonderful talent and her numerous and outstanding books and plays, she will always be the best woman mystery writer ever lived.
Plot of the one of her most famous plays: Mouse trap
The main characters of this play are Mollie and Giles, two young newlyweds that have decided to open a guest house in a little village of England. They have no experience in this field but they’re positive they can make it.
The play starts just the morning they open their guest house for the first time.
It’s winter and it’s freezing cold outside. Mollie and Giles are waiting for their first guests to arrive and, as it’s easy to guess, they are quite excited and worried. And not only for that, actually: unluckily for them, that day –the same day their guests are supposed to arrive a terrible blizzard occurs, making moving out from and towards the village quite risky and difficult.
The first guest to make his entrance into the guest house is Christopher Wren, a very nice young architect. He’s a friendly guy and Mollie immediately shows to find him a fantastic person. For this reason Giles, her husband, is a bit jealous of their guest and doesn’t like him very much.
Sometime later, Mrs Boyle and Major Metcalf arrive at the guest house.
Mrs Boyle is an old, rich woman that seems not to like anything and always spends her time criticizing what surrounds her. Major Metcalf, instead, is rather a lovely man.
The last guests are Miss Casewell –a young woman- and Mr Paravicini – a very strange, but funny character.
In the morning Mollie receives a phone call: a policeman wants to come over to their guest house because he has something very important to tell Mollie and Giles. Mollie and Giles are very surprised to hear that, and their guests are too.
Later that day, the policeman –Sergeant Trotter- arrives (on his skiis, because outside it’s snowing) at the guest house. The policeman tells Mollie and Giles that he has come to protect them: that morning a woman has been found dead and he has reasons to think this murder may regard them too. In this sense: the woman killed lived in London and some years before she had been involved into a scandal.
Three children, whose parents had died, had been given that woman and her husband by the Court to bring them up. But they were instead cruel to the children and one of them had died at last. Trotter thinks that one of the two children still alive –now grown up- may have killed that woman for revenge and that probably he or she is now in Mollie and Giles’s guest house because near the dead woman’s body the police has found a sheet of paper with something quite meaningful written on: the address of the guest house, the song of “three blind mice” and, at the bottom of the sheet, the sentence “this is the first”.
After this terrifying story, Mollie and Giles realize that someone has cut off the telephone wires so that they are now isolated. Trotter’s conviction is that this is the murderer’s doing, and the policeman’s investigation among the guests begins.
Since the first questions made, it immediately seems clear that all the guests of the hotel have lots of secrets.
For example, it is found out that Miss Casewell had a terrible childhood, but she doesn’t want to talk about it.
Mrs Boyle, instead, was one of the magistrates that gave those three children for adoption to that mean lady and her husband. Sometime later, in fact, she is found strangled in the guest house sitting room.
Trotter continues making his questions to everybody in the hotel, but he doesn’t find much, except that they all have something to hide and things they don’t want to talk about.
Giles, jealous because Mollie’s too friendly with Christopher, suspects he could be the murderer because he has the right age to be one of the children now grown up.
Trotter makes Mollie notice that Giles too has the right age to be one the children and that, in spite of everything, she knows very little about her husband’s past: Giles could actually be anyone and she wouldn’t know. At this thought, Mollies starts to get worried.
But also Giles has something to be worried about: he finds out that Mollie has been to London in secret some time before, so he’s afraid she might be the killer too. When he accuses her and asks her to reveal him why she has been to London without telling him, she refuses to answer. She just cries that he doesn’t know how much she suffered before they met.
Trotter’s investigations go on. He finds out lots of interesting things, even though apparently they seem unrelated to the murders. He also finds out that Miss Casewell lives in Majorca now, but she has come back to England to set an important affair. She also tells Trotter that she left England when she was 13 years old and changed her name.
At the end of the investigation, after many questions, mysteries and argues, Trotter asks Mollie, Giles and all their guests to gather around in the hall to reveal the name of the murderer.
The conclusion of this play is quite amazing because everything is all upside down: in fact we find out that the mysterious killer was actually the policeman himself: Sergaent Trotter, who’s not really a policeman but one of the three children come to get his revenge, and Miss Casewell is his sister.