Whodunnit fans are being invited to join the celebrations for Agatha Christie’s 118th birthday when the annual week-long celebration of the author gets underway on September 14th.
The author’s work is to be celebrated across a range of media with the premiere of a new Poirot television adaptation of Mrs McGinty’s Dead on ITV1 and a special performance of Christie’s classic play The Mousetrap at London’s St Martin’s Theatre for 200 children from disadvantaged neighbourhoods in and around London.
The performance is being supported by Agatha Christie Ltd, HarperCollins and the theatre charity, Mousetrap Theatre Projects.
Between 14-21 September the annual English Riviera Agatha Christie Festival will take place in Christie’s home town of Torquay and will feature screenings of films; a murder mystery dinner; and a talk by her grandson, Mathew Prichard.
Torquay will also host a production of And Then There Were None, Christie’s own stage adaptation of the world’s best-selling mystery with more than 100 million copies sold. Performed by Bill Kenwright’s Agatha Christie Theatre Company at the Princess Theatre, Torquay
ITV will be screening two further adaptations starring David Suchet, with Cat Among the Pigeons (21/9) and Third Girl (28/9) to follow. Both Mrs McGinty’s Dead and Third Girl feature Zoë Wannamaker in the role of Christie’s most autobiographical creation – that of Ariadne Oliver, the author of a series of best-selling novels about a fastidious foreign detective!
Digital radio station BBC7 will be joining the celebrations from 13th September with dramatisations of the Poirot adventures After the Funeral and One, Two, Buckle My Shoe and the Marple mystery Sleeping Murder. Also included is a reading of 8.55 To Baghdad, in which writer Andrew Eames follows in the footsteps of Agatha Christie’s true life exploits in the Middle East.
Fans will also be able to buy a new range of Christie related merchandise with the release of porcelain mugs, deckchairs and canvas bookbags based on classic Christie covers by Art Meets Matter, the cutting edge English design company behind the famous Penguin Classic collection.
Plus HarperCollins is to release what it describes as “the definitive three-volume edition” of Agatha Christie’s Short Stories containing 176 stories originally written for popular weekly and monthly magazines; some were later reworked into full-length novels or plays such as Witness for the Prosecution.
Mathew Prichard, the author’s grandson and Chairman of Agatha Christie Limited, said: “One hundred and eighteen years after she was born no one would be more surprised than my grandmother that her writing would remain so popular and that there would still be so much interest in her life and times. Perhaps her secret is that while the world she wrote about may not exist any more, the passion, motives and emotional undercurrents contained in her work are universal themes. The popularity each year of Agatha Christie Week is testament to just how timeless – and popular – her writing is.”
Tamsen Harward, Manager of the Agatha Christie literary estate, commented : “Christie fans tend to be passionate about anything to do with their favourite author but an equally important element of Agatha Christie Week is to reach out to new audiences. That’s one of the reasons behind the special performance of The Mousetrap for inner city schoolchildren. I’m excited that this year’s Agatha Christie Week festivities serve new and existing fans alike. That’s why it would be a crime to miss it.”