13 – 20 September
Poisoning; strangulation; drowning; shootings; stabbings and death by chocolate cake: it’s time to celebrate murder. Not real ones, of course, but murders created by Agatha Christie, the undisputed Queen of Crime.
Over one week in September, to coincide with her birthday on 15 September, Christie fans are invited to indulge themselves in cheated lovers, thwarted villains and double-crossing cads – all essential ingredients in the deliciously deadly cocktail of the perfect murder mystery.
Throughout the week, fans can listen to new radio drama productions; read unpublished stories; see a stage play and hear leading Christie experts talk about her work, before settling down, with a nice cup of tea, to watch Miss Marple on ITV1.
In a remarkable career spanning over 55 years Christie not only wrote 71 novels and 165 short stories but also published two volumes of poetry, wrote two autobiographies and a number of very successful plays. Her most famous play, The Mousetrap, holds the world record for the longest-running play and she has, to date, sold over two billion books, making her the most widely published novelist of all time.
How will you be celebrating Christie Week?
See best-selling authors and die-hard fans Kate Mosse, Val McDermid and Jasper Fforde at the Southbank Centre in London on 16 September as they discuss the work of Agatha Christie, or hear biographer Laura Thompson at the Throckmorton Literary Festival in Warwickshire on Sunday 20 September. (http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/ / http://www.coughtoncourt.co.uk/)
Visit the annual Agatha Christie Festival on the English Riviera. Visitors from all over the world flock to Torquay and neighbouring towns each year where over 40 events will be taking place including plays, open-air cinema screenings, tea-dances, lectures and murder mystery dinners. During the week the Agatha Christie Theatre Company perform Spider’s Web at the Princess Theatre in Torquay, as well as a dinner performance of Murder on Air with a talk by Christie’s grandson, Mathew Prichard. Visit http://www.englishriviera.co.uk/ and click on the Agatha Christie link.
The Agatha Christie Theatre Company also presents Murder on Air at the Hexagon Theatre in Reading in the build up to Christie Week, as part of the Reading Festival of Crime Writing. Hear Christie’s gripping radio thrillers, performed in an authentic studio setting in the style of their original BBC 1930’s broadcast. Performances run from Thursday 10 to Saturday 12 September. (http://www.kenwright.com/)
Take a boat up the River Dart to Greenway, the beautiful family holiday home of Agatha Christie, opened to the public for the first time this year by the National Trust. (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/greenway)
Read Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks, by archivist, John Curran, published on 3 September by HarperCollins. The notebooks were unearthed at Greenway, following the death of Christie’s daughter, Rosalind, and reveal handwritten notes which for years had gone unnoticed, and John’s analysis offers a fascinating insight into her writing methods. The volume includes two previously unpublished Poirot stories.
Listen to a new series of afternoon readings on BBC Radio 4 – Agatha Christie’s Mysterious Mr Quin - when Christie’s favourite character, Harley Quin, makes his BBC radio debut. The Coming of Mr Quin, The Soul of the Croupier and At The Bells and Motley will be aired over 3 days in Christie Week and are read by Martin Jarvis. Also, on 12 September, BBC Radio 4’s Archive Hour features Agatha Christie’s Life in Her Words.
Splash out on the Complete Miss Marple, the limited edition Guinness World record-breaking book, which retails at £1,000. Or, for those with a more modest budget, pick up some beautiful merchandise – mugs or deckchairs, designed by Art Meets Matter. And prints and posters from Print Union.
Step back in time aboard the British Pullman carriages of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express for a journey of mystery and intrigue, on Saturday 12 September. Actors in period costume are on board setting the scene of the Murder on the Orient-Express on this Brighton Murder Mystery, organised in association with The Times.