Sunday, September 13, 2009

Christie Week kicks off in the UK

When our friends in the United Kingdom wake up in a few hours, it will be the start of the 5th annual Agatha Christie Week, a celebration of the life and works of the most published novelist in history.

Running from 13-20 September, to coincide with the Queen of Crime's birthday on 15 September, the week provides an opportunity for British mystery fiction fans to indulge in all things Christie.

Her birthplace of Torbay has a weeklong festival, packed with dozens of fantastic events, but there are also many things happening on a nationwide scale. As publicity has said: "Throughout the week, fans can listen to new radio drama productions; read unpublished stories; see a stage play and hear leading Christie experts talk about her work, before settling down, with a nice cup of tea, to watch Miss Marple on ITV1."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.

The celebrations kick off at 11am today with A Fete Worse Than Death, a quintessential English fete based on the one featured in the Poirot story DEAD MAN'S FOLLY, with craft stalls, cake stalls and traditional fairground games. The fete, which has free entry and will run until 4pm, will be held at the Palk Street village green in Torbay, beside the Agatha Christie statue, and period costume is welcome.

During the fete, Martin Harris will be launching his new publication THE OFFICIAL GUIDE TO AGATHA CHRISTIE IN DEVON: A COMPLETE GUID TO WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO SEE, AND WHAT TO DO IN AGATHA CHRISTIE COUNTRY. Packed with facts, trivia, maps and hot tips about the “Queen of Crime", the full-colour official guide also draws upon Agatha Christie’s private photo albums. Other highlights include a guide to the Agatha Christie Mile in Torquay, and interviews with both "Poirot" TV actor Davis Suchet and Christie's grandson Mathew Prichard, who shares intimate memories of summers spent with the author at Greenway.
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.
Apart from the many great events being held near her birthplace, fans around the country also have many opportunities to celebrate Christie's life and works. Options include:
  • Seeing bestselling authors and die-hard Christie fans Kate Mosse, Val McDermid and Jasper Fforde at the Southbank Centre in London on Wednesday 16 September as they discuss the work of Agatha Christie;
  • Hearing definitive Christie biographer Laura Thompson at the Throckmorton Literary Festival in Warwickshire on Sunday 20 September;

  • 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;

  • 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.
So what will you be doing for Christie Week? What is your favourite Christie work? Thoughts? Comments welcome.


  1. I've been 'reading' an audio book version of a favourite Christie novel in preparation for a Christie blog tour being hosted by Mysteries in Paradise. I enjoyed the audio experience so much I've downloaded another one to enjoy just for the sake of it :)

  2. As you probably know Craig, we are celebrating Christie week on Mysteries in Paradise with a Blog Tour.
    First cab off the rank today is Vanda Symons, and I have also linked today's post to your blog post.

  3. I visited Greenway a couple of weeks ago and yesterday walked part of the Agatha Christie Mile in Torquay. I will be blogging about this as part of the Mysteries in Paradise blog tour.

  4. I had no idea about all that was happening for this week. Wow.

    As for myself, I've found you through Kerrie's blog tour, in which I'll be participating later in the week. Meanwhile, I'm reading an Agatha Christie book per day in honor of Dame Christie's week.