One of the best-selling authors of all time, Agatha Christie spearheaded the golden age of mysteries with the creation of such unforgettable characters as Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. Known for her suspenseful yet cozy mysteries, Christie was a master at keeping the reader guessing until the very last pages, establishing many of her genre's most classic and popular devices. Born in Torquay to an American father with a modest inheritance, she spent most of her life in England with frequent trips to the Middle East, where some of her novels are set. In 1914 she married her first husband, air force pilot Colonel Archibald Christie. After the war, she gave birth to her only child, Rosalind. She published her first book, "The Mysterious Affair at Styles", in 1920. Creating one of the greatest controversies of her career, she mysteriously disappeared in 1926, and though people feared the worst, she turned up in a hotel room with what she claimed to be a case of amnesia brought on by stress, and refused to ever talk about the incident again. In 1930 she met and married an archaeologist, Sir Max Mallowan, and her first play, "Black Coffee", was produced. Christie went on to write "Mousetrap", which debuted in 1954 and was the longest-running play in the history of London's West End. That year, she also served as president of the Detection Club and was awarded the first of many Grand Master Awards from the Mystery Writers of America.