Literature Icon for the Week

She remains the most-translated individual author – having been translated into at least 103 languages. 

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan , DBE (née Miller ; 15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976) was an English crime novelist, short story writer and playwright .
 She is best known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, particularly those revolving around her fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. 

She also wrote the world’s longest-running play, a murder mystery, The Mousetrap, and six romances under the name Mary Westmacott . In 1971 she was elevated to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her contribution to literature. 

Christie was born into a wealthy upper-middle-class family in Torquay,Devon . She served in a Devon hospital during the First World War , tending to troops coming back from the trenches, before marrying and starting a family in London. She was initially an unsuccessful writer with six rejections,  but this changed when

The Mysterious Affair at Styles , featuring Hercule Poirot, was published in 1920.  During the

Second World War she worked as a pharmacy assistant at University College Hospital, London, during the Blitz and acquired a good knowledge of poisons which featured in many of her novels.

Guinness World Records lists Christie as the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly 2 billion copies, and her estate claims that her works come third in the rankings of the world’s most-widely published books, [5] behind only Shakespeare’s works and the Bible. According to Index Translationum , she remains the most-translated individual author – having been translated into at least 103 languages.  And Then There Were None is Christie’s best-selling novel, with 100 million sales to date, making it the world’s best-selling mystery ever, and one of the best-selling books of all time. Christie’s stage play The Mousetrap holds the world record for longest initial run. It opened at the

Ambassadors Theatre in the West End on 25 November 1952 and as of 2017 is still running after more than 25,000 performances. 

In 1955, Christie was the first recipient of the Mystery Writers of America ‘s highest honour, the Grand Master Award . Later the same year, Witness for the Prosecution received an Edgar Award by the MWA for Best Play. 

 In 2013, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was voted the best crime novel ever by 600 fellow writers of the Crime Writers’ Association .On 15 September 2015, coinciding with her 125th birthday, And Then There Were None was named the “World’s Favourite Christie” in a vote sponsored by the author’s estate.

Most of her books and short stories have been adapted for television, radio, video games and comics, and more than thirty feature films have been based on her work.

Tiye, My Makeshift Home

The cold air from the ocean which is a stone throw from the bush makes it easy really. You could spend hours talking to the surrounding grasses

The few days I have spent at Tiye has been so far thrilling. It didn’t at first seem so when one morning I received a letter confirming my transfer to the freezone. The thing about life is that it’s not always fair. Stopping halfway is not an option too.

The cold breeze from the sea makes life beautiful the more in the small community of mostly migrants from the mainland, and some foreign nationals from Togo, Gabon,Ghana, India and China. 

The other side of life here is the part where you have to figure out how to answer when nature calls in the middle of the night. At Tiye it appears to be a tradition to run into the bush when one needs to use the toilet. The cold air from the ocean which is a stone throw from the bush makes it easy really. You could spend hours talking to the surrounding grasses. Some naughty locals take this routine to the shores. When I asked why one said it’s an ageless custom there. Moreover one cannot deny the comfort you can enjoy easing off very close to the currents; the wet sand. I was tempted once to try but my respect for nature dissuaded me from doing so.

The Campaign

Sleep was meaningless that night. The Boss had a lot to say and he said all. That very night the group now in hundreds moved back in into the country for another deadly campaign

“I would stare all night with hope that somewhere through the stary sky that an answer would come. My world was falling apart. Everything I worked so hard for were quickly fading away. See where we are now. There is no fair trace of the past. We can only pretend we care when truly we don’t. We are only concerned about the next election day while the poor suffer. It’s always a question of what’s in it for us as a party or a tribe. It is an ugly reality forced down the people’s throats. Since the revolt no international body has cared to react. You see we are on our own. We cannot continue this way. We will only end up wasting time at the end if we do. So wake the rest quickly. Waste no time at all. We must move back in straight to the barrack, then regroup and attack”

Country Men

While the evening approached, the white clouds gracefully left the scene. For Zuwe and I, the road to peace was still far

I once shared this story at a conference; the testimony of a war veteran. Listen I was once a soldier of the federal troop. I joined as a teen immediately after my father died. My father was a passionate nationalist. He would take offence at any person speaking against the republic. Sadly he was murdered by the same country he defended. But that is life. Is it not?
See, we once razed down a whole community. As soldiers we followed order from the top. We only discovered after the deed had been done that the area is an oil producing community. And because they deemed it necessary to defend their property the government gave  this order to wipe them out. Ignorantly we the soldiers committed murder. Do you know how many innocent people this country has destroyed? It is the reason its suffering knows no end. The blood of the slain cries out. 

Sam, you know it’s never my wish to revolt against this country of ours. No, it’s not. But how long can we endure the pain and all that? This darkness has hovered above for too long. 

Country Men….(continues)

For a while we both enjoyed the beautiful view; the rise and fall of the gentle tide brought back old memories. 

The many escapes we enjoyed, and those times we were captured and detained underground in a hot cave beneath a great expanse of grassland in an unknown town were now beginning to take its toll on me. I gave up the idea of swimming and slept for a long while. For the rest it meant a better hideout or better still another chance in life. Zuwe stayed up all night. He was not sure where next to take the team. Driving into the new country was suicidal since we were declared wanted four nights ago by the local police.

“It has been a long journey Sam” he said. The room was dark but from his voice I figured he was troubled greatly.

“Yes it has” I said calmly

“What do we do? I am not sure. I fear for these boys”

“You cannot afford to appear weak”

” I know. I know Sam but it is time we split. Moving as a group attracts attention to us” he said and moved swiftly to the window.

 The full moon was out and generous with its shine laying bare the ocean side that graced the hotel. For a while we both enjoyed the beautiful view; the rise and fall of the gentle tide brought back old memories.

Country Men: The Border

To observe the situation for a reprisal attack, we took refuge in Jembe

The thing with the country is the foundation on which it was built. The crisis would have been avoided if there was no ethnic diversity in the population. At least I would have no reason to hate the other man since we are the same.
None of us lost to the seiege as much as Zuwe did. His family were on the night he was picked by the secret service shot dead. But that did not deter him from pushing ahead for justice all these years.

“Death must be expected” he once said to me.

“You must keep pushing if you have life. Where there is life there is hope”

At the border we were stopped by immigration officers. We were thoroughly searched and were later released. It was while we were with the officers that Jumbo showed up from nowhere. He looked dry and hungry like a desert vagabond. He had joined the crowd that ran to Jembe when the war began and had been hiding in the bush along the border since then.

Driving into Jembe we found a small hotel and lodged there for the night. There we visited the plan again for a possible return to the front

Country Men (…continues)

“Let’s go away for a while ” said Zuwe as we drove through Palm lane out of the old city.

” Believe me this country will keep sinking until nothing will be left to recover”

“So what is plan B?” I asked. The boss was not sure what was next as well. With everything gone, including the ceased communication gadgets, we were really on our own.

” We could use the Gando Militias ” suggested Joe, who had been quiet since his brother’s death.

“We could cut a deal with them” he advised.

“For what in return?” asked the boss.

“Maybe we let them take any loot from future raids” I threw in.

“That’s madness. We need money to run the campaign. Think of something that will aid this fight”

For the record, I was a successful journalist before the crisis. Kando Broadcasting corporation fell to the federal troops after the heavy bombing of the city. Nothing was spared especially the newly mounted mast.

It was while fleeing that I bumped into Joe who was also running, and at that moment he looked like he fell into a tank of cement dust

“Hey, are you not the TV guy?” he asked, with a face covered with dust, and a T-shirt torn at the chest.

“Yea I am. Tony. My name is Tony” I said

“We heard your office was shelled”

“Yes, it was”

“Good you survived”

“Thanks. What’s your own story?”

“It’s a sad one. My school was bombed too. The children, those innocent kids, dead just like that”


Joe was a teacher, likewise the late Victor. His school was leveled to the ground by the bombers killing many. Only a handful of school kids escaped. As for the group, it was formed initially to protest the role of Britain and Russia in the crisis ravaging the young country of Muela

Any fool back then knew the foreigners were here for the newly discovered oil and had managed to brainwash the politicians, and the elites. Revolution made sense as the only way out of the mess.

….to be continued