Agatha Christie became, and remains, the best-selling novelist of all time. She is best known for her detective novels and short story collections, as well as the world’s longest-running play, The Mousetrap. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and a billion in translation. With such an incredible career, Agatha made a lot of money, and when she died in 1976, she left behind a huge fortune that was inherited by family members. And to this day, Agatha Christie still makes money.
Agatha Christie’s net worth
Newspapers, websites and several entities’ estimates of Agatha Christie’s fortune vary.
At the time of her death in 1976, one estimate of her total earnings from more than a half-century of writing was £14.8million (approximately £677million in 2020).
On the other hand, thisismoney.co.uk, suggests Agatha Christie’s net worth was around £40m, as of 2010.
While Agatha made a lot of money, she was known to be a shrewd businesswoman, anxious to avoid leaving too much of her fortune to the taxman.
She once said: “I only write one book a year now, which is sufficient to give me a good income.
“If I wrote more, I’d enlarge the finances of the Inland Revenue who would spend it mostly on idiotic things.”
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As for who inherited Agatha’s fortune when she died, her daughter Rosalind was the main beneficiary.
Not only did Agatha’s daughter inherit money, but she also received 36 percent of Agatha Christie Limited and the copyrights to Christie’s play A Daughter’s a Daughter.
Agatha’s grandson, Mathew Prichard, was also a beneficiary, who received the sole rights to The Mousetrap for his ninth birthday.
Following the death of his mother in 2004, Matthew was put in charge of Agatha Christie Ltd, collecting royalties on the books, plays and short stories.
Speaking about taking on the role, Matthew told irishtimes.com: “I am a sort of glorified brand manager. I am the one to say whether something is good for the Agatha Christie brand.”
He recently sold video game rights for several million pounds and has also cashed in by selling a £10m stake to Chorion entertainment in 1998.
Agatha Christie’s early life and rise
Agatha Christie, real name Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born on September 15, 1890.
Her family was a “comfortably well-off middle-class family” from Torquay, Devon.
Her official website explains: “What made her upbringing unusual, even for its time, was that she was homeschooled 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 taught herself to read by the age of five,” the description continued.
In her autobiography, published in 1977, Agatha said she was lucky to have a “very happy childhood”.
However, In 1901, Agatha lost her father after he suffered numerous heart attacks.
A year later, she began formal education at Miss Guyer’s Girls’ School in Torquay, before moving to France in 1905 to continue her education at three different Parisian schools.
After moving back to England in 1910, Agatha began writing her first short story, The House of Dreams.
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Agatha Christie’s career
It was during the First World War when Agatha began writing detective stories.
Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was written in 1916 but was not published until four years later.
Agatha’s second novel, The Secret Adversary, was published in 1922 and was well received by reviewers.
In the same year, Agatha’s husband was asked to tour areas of the British Empire and she joined him on his travels.
After the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Agatha volunteered at the pharmacy of the University College Hospital in London.
This is where she learned about different poisons and medicines and used this newfound knowledge in her later crime novels.
Agatha Christie’s personal life
In 1914, Agatha married Colonel Archibald Christie.
While he was away during the war she worked as a nurse at her local hospital in Torquay, where she learned about the poisons that later featured in so many of her crime novels.
Agatha established her name as a crime writer with her first detective book in 1920, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in which she created her much-loved Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot.
In 1919, Agatha and Archibald welcomed their first and only child, Rosalind.
In 1928, however, after finding out her husband had a mistress, Agatha divorced him.
She went on to marry well-known archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan in 1930.
Following the Second World War, Agatha was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1956 New Year Honours list for her contribution to literature.
Her husband was presented with a knighthood in 1968 for his archaeological work, and Agatha was promoted to Dame Commander in 1971.