For the next twenty-five years, Agatha went with Max on all his archaeological journeys. She loved travelling, and those were the happiest years of her life. It was a good time for writing, too.
'It's nice and quiet,' Agatha always said. 'There's no telephone!'
And visiting these interesting places gave her ideas for some of her best books—Death on the Nile, Appointment with Death, Murder in Mesopotamia, They Came to Baghdad.She was now one of the most popular detective-story writers in the world.
One of the many people who enjoyed her books was Queen Mary, the mother of the King of England. One day, in 1946, Agatha had a letter from the British Broadcasting Corporation in London.
'They want me to write a play for Queen Mary's 80th birthday!' she told Max. 'A play for the radio.'
'Then you must do it,' said Max.
Agatha's play for radio was called Three Blind Mice. Later, she wrote the play again, for a London theatre. This time it was much longer, and she gave it a new name: The Mousetrap.
It is a very famous play. It opened in 1952, and has been in one or other of the London theatres ever since then. In 1997, 45 years later, people were still going to see the play.
Why? It's a very good murder mystery, of course, but there is another story about The Mousetrap, too. Every night, at the end of the play, one of the actors talks to the people in the theatre, and says, 'Please don't tell your friends who did the murder in this play. They must come to the theatre and see the play themselves!'
And everybody keeps the secret of the murderer's name—and so more and more people go to see the play.
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In 1971, Queen Elizabeth made Agatha a Dame of the British Empire—a very high honour for a woman in Britain.
But why was Agatha Christie so famous? Perhaps it is because she was a wonderful story-teller. She planned her murder mysteries very carefully, putting a clue here, a clue there. And they are clever clues, so it is not easy to guess the name of the murderer. Who did it? We want to know, and by the end of the book, everything falls tidily into place—and we have the answer. And of course the stories are not really about murder and death—they are puzzles, with comfortable endings, because it is pleasing to read that the detective always catches the criminal. For an hour or two, we can escape from real life, which is often neither tidy nor comfortable.
Agatha Christie died on the 12th of January, 1976. During her life, she wrote sixty-seven detective novels, ten books of short stories, thirteen plays, six novels that were not about crime (using the name 'Mary Westmacott'), and two books about her life. Many films were made from her books; the most famous one is Murder on the Orient Express, made in 1974.
Today, millions of her books, in more than forty different languages, are still sold in every country of the world, from China to Nicaragua. Agatha Christie was, perhaps, the greatest detective-story writer of all time—a woman of mystery, both in books and in life.
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broadcasting n. sending out programmes on radio or television. （無線電或電視節目）廣播。
corporation n. business company. 公司。
mousetrap n. trap for catching mice. 捕鼠器。
honour n. reputation for greatness, good behaviour, truth fulness, etc. 榮譽；名譽；信譽。
tidily adv. arranged neatly and in order. 安排或排列整齊地。
fall into place (of a set of facts or series of events) begin to make sense in relationship to each other. （指一系列事實或事件）開始有頭緒。
puzzle n. question that is difficult to understand or answer; mystery. 難題；謎一般的事物。
criminal n. person who commits a crime or crimes. 犯人；罪犯。