Books

More of Poirot's Finest Cases

Agatha Christie (and others)

John Moffat stars as the great Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in seven more BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisations.

Evil Under the Sun: On holiday in Devon, Poirot becomes embroiled in the murder of a glamorous American starlet.

Sad Cypress: A poison pen letter begins a chain of events which is to end in tragedy.

Murder in Mesopotamia: When death occurs at an archaeological site in the Iraqi desert, Poirot is on hand to dig for clues.

Lord Edgware Dies: Lord Edgware is found brutally stabbed, his wife the prime suspect. But did she murder him?

Hallowe’en Party: The sleuth investigates the death of a girl drowned in an apple-bobbing tub on All Hallows’ Eve.

Murder on the Links: Summoned urgently to France, Poirot finds his wealthy client dead. Can he trace the killer?

Five Little Pigs: A bride-to-be hires Poirot to solve a sixteen-year-old case and prove her mother innocent of murder.

These BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisations find Poirot pitting his ‘little grey cells’ against a variety of cunning criminals. Based on Agatha Christie’s original novels, these superb adaptations feature a host of distinguished actors including Iain Glen, Fiona Fullerton, Stephanie Cole and Stephen Tompkinson.

Agatha Christie Close Up

Agatha Christie (and others)

A fascinating collection of archive radio programmes focusing on the life and work of crime fiction's grande dame and featuring Agatha Christie in her own words.

Dame Agatha Christie published 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections in her lifetime, but to the public she remained an enigmatic figure. This quartet of BBC radio programmes looks at the woman behind the books, and explores the career of one of Britain's most famous mystery writers.

Agatha Christie in Close-Up (1955) tells the story of the celebrated author, with contributions from Richard Attenborough, Allen Lane, Margaret Lockwood and Peter Saunders; while in The Mysterious Dame Agatha (1975), Cliff Michelmore presents an 85th birthday tribute with Peter Saunders, Nigel Stock and Julian Symons. Women of Mystery: Queen of Crime (1982) sees Jessica Mann investigating women crime writers and Christie in particular; and in Agatha Christie: Speaking Her Own Words (2015), we hear specially selected excerpts from the initial, dictated version of Christie's autobiography. Recorded in 1965, these unedited personal tapes were discovered by her grandson Matthew Prichard, who introduces the programme.

Featuring the voices of fellow writers, friends, family and the Queen of Crime herself, this wide-ranging collection sheds new light on the bestselling novelist of all time. Duration: 2 hours approx.

Agatha Christie: Twelve Radio Mysteries

Agatha Christie (and others)

12 BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisations of short stories by the Queen of Crime. First broadcast in the early 2000s, the stories were adapted and brought up-to-date for a contemporary audience. The stories are ''Philomel Cottage'; 'Swan Song'; 'Magnolia Blossom'; 'Witness for the Prosecution'; 'The Gates of Baghdad'; 'The Hounds of Death'; 'In a Glass Darkly'; 'The Dressmaker's Doll'; 'The Case of the Perfect Carer'; 'The £199 Adventure'; 'The Gypsy'; 'The Last Seance' Duration: 6 hours approx.

Marple's Casebook

Agatha Christie (and others)

June Whitfield stars as Miss Marple in eight thrilling full-cast BBC Radio 4 dramatisations.

A Pocket Full of Rye A spate of unusual deaths is linked to the nursery rhyme 'Sing a Song of Sixpence'.

4.50 from Paddington After witnessing a murder on a train, Mrs McGillicuddy calls on Miss Marple.

At Bertram’s Hotel Crime lurks beneath the surface of a respectable Mayfair hotel.

The Body in the Library A mysterious blonde is found murdered in Dolly Bantry’s library.

The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side At a benefit held at Gossington Hall, harmless Mrs Badcock is fatally poisoned.

A Caribbean Mystery Bored in paradise, Miss Marple finds her interest aroused by an old soldier’s tale.

Murder at the Vicarage Everyone in St Mary Mead detested Colonel Protheroe – but who killed him?

A Murder is Announced A startling entry in a local paper’s personal column leads to a deadly shooting.

These BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisations feature eight of Miss Marple’s most complex and intriguing cases. Based on the original novels by Agatha Christie, they are performed by a stellar cast.

Duration: 16 hours approx.

Miss Marple's Final Cases

Agatha Christie (and others)

June Whitfield returns as the deceptively mild spinster sleuth in three full-cast BBC Radio 4 dramatisations.

Specially broadcast to mark the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s birth, these brand new dramas are based on three of her best short stories.

Tape-Measure Murder: When Mrs Spenlow is murdered in St Mary Mead, the village gossips all agree that her husband must have killed her – until Miss Marple is called as an alibi…

The Case of the Perfect Maid: Miss Marple investigates the problem of a lady’s maid who has been mysteriously sacked – while also helping her crime writer nephew Raymond West to cure his writer’s block.

Sanctuary: Miss Marple and her god-daughter Bunch are horrified when they discover a dying man in the local church. Can Miss Marple deduce his identity – and his killer – from his last words?

First published in the collection Miss Marple’s Final Cases, these three delightfully clever tales will keep you guessing till the end. Starring June Whitfield – reprising her role as Miss Marple for the first time since 2001 – they are dramatised for BBC Radio 4 by Joy Wilkinson.
Duration: 1 hr 30 mins approx.

Agatha Christie: The Lost Plays

Agatha Christie (and others)

A triple bill of archive BBC radio dramas, believed lost for over half a century and only recently rediscovered. Butter in a Lordly Dish, written specially for radio in 1948, features Richard Williams as Sir Luke Enderby KC, whose infidelities lead him into trouble when he goes to meet his latest flame. Williams also stars as Hercule Poirot in Murder in the Mews, a 1955 adaptation of a short story. A young woman is found dead in her flat, the day after Guy Fawkes night. Did she die by her own hand, or someone else's? In Personal Call, also written specially for radio by Agatha Christie, a disturbing telephone call from a woman named Fay has consequences for both Richard Brent and his wife Pam. This 1960 production stars Ivan Brandt and Barbara Lott.

The Pale Horse

Agatha Christie (and others)

A new BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of the novel by Agatha Christie, first published in 1961.

Mark Easterbrook learns of a mysterious organisation called the Pale Horse, and in the village of Much Deeping he is told of the organisation's supernatural connections. A piece of paper with a list of names seems to foretell the deaths of several people, and Mark must discover what connects them all, and who is behind the strange powers of the Pale Horse.

Poirot’s Finest Cases

Agatha Christie (and others)

John Moffatt stars as the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

The ABC Murders: A chilling letter sets the sleuth on the trail of an enigmatic killer.
After the Funeral: A wealthy businessman is dead, and his sister thinks it was murder.
Death on the Nile: Poirot is in Egypt when a chilling murder takes place.
Peril at End House: Whilst on holiday, the sleuth encounters a young woman, a hat and a bullet.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: Mrs Farrars is found dead, one year after the death of her husband.
Murder on the Orient Express: Poirot is aboard a snowbound train when a passenger is found murdered.
Three Act Tragedy: Poirot is one of the guests at a party when a clergyman dies whilst sipping a cocktail.
The Mysterious Affair at Styles: Poirot and Captain Hastings become re-acquainted in a quiet English village in 1916.

These BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisations showcase eight of the finest cases in Hercule Poirot’s career. Based on the original novels by Agatha Christie, they feature a cast of outstanding actors playing an array of likely suspects…

Starring: John Moffat, Simon Williams, Nichola McAuliffe, Jill Balcon, Hugh Dickson, Sean Arnold, Susan Jameson, Nichols Boulton, Philip Jackson, Annabelle Dowler, Hilda Schroder, George Cole, Gemma Saunders, Andrew Wincott, Terence Edmond, Bryan Pringle, David Thorpe, Elizabeth Conboy, Rosemary Leach, Donald Sinden, Stratford Johns, Tom George, Sylvia Syms, Sian Phillips, Francesca Annia, Frank Windsor, Peter Polycarpu, Desmond Llewelyn, Andre Maranne, Siriol Jenkins, Kate Binchy, Joss Ackland

Ordeal by Innocence

Agatha Christie (and others)

A brand new BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel, known to be a favourite among her own works.

When Doctor Calgary visits the Argyle family, he believes he brings good news. He is there to clear the name of Jacko, who was convicted of the murder of his own mother, Rachel. But the doctor’s news is not greeted with the enthusiasm he expects, and the family seem intent on resisting both his help and the investigations of Inspector Huish.

When a further murder is committed, it becomes apparent that a killer is among the gathered party. With almost everyone having a motive and the means for murder, they must all be on their guard.

Eschewing the traditional detective format, Ordeal by Innocence examines how the innocent suffer more than the guilty when a crime goes unsolved. Along with Crooked House, it was Agatha Christie's favourite of her own works.

Biography

Agatha Christie, the acknowledged ‘Queen of Crime' (The Observer) was born in Torquay in 1890. During the First World War she worked as a hospital dispenser, and it was here that she gleaned the working knowledge of various poisons that was to prove so useful in her detective stories.

Her first novel was The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which introduced Hercule Poirot to the world. This was published in 1920 (although in fact she had written it during the war) and was followed over the next six years by four more detective novels and a short story collection. However, it was not until the publication of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd that Agatha Christie’s reputation was firmly established. This novel, with its complex plot and genuinely shocking conclusion, attracted considerable public attention and has since been acknowledged by many experts as a masterpiece. In 1930 the sharp-witted spinster sleuth Miss Marple made her first appearance in The Murder at the Vicarage. In all, Agatha Christie published over 80 novels and short story collections.

The brilliance of Christie’s plots, and her enduring appeal, have led to several dramatisations of her work on radio, television and film. In 1930 she was one of a number of crime writers asked to contribute a chapter to a mystery, Behind the Screen, that was broadcast on BBC radio on 21st June that year. More recently, June Whitfield portrayed Miss Marple on BBC Radio 4, whilst John Moffat starred as Hercule Poirot. On screen, Peter Ustinov, David Suchet, Margaret Rutherford, Joan Hickson, Geraldine McEwan and Julia McKenzie have all memorably played Agatha Christie’s famous sleuths.

As her play The Mousetrap (the longest-running play in the history of theatre) testifies, Agatha Christie’s detective stories are likely to appeal for a long time to come.

Agatha Christie was awarded a CBE in 1956 and was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1971. She died in 1976.