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Last week, I read Nemesis by Agatha Christie, my first novel by her.
The Mystery of Agatha Christie with David Suchet aired in 2013 in the UK and premiered on PBS in the US in 2014. David Suchet played Hercule Poirot for 25 years. Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian sleuth will forever be the top listing of his career biography. In this documentary, he sets out to learn more about the author who created that character.
David (unlike Poirot, he seems like a man that you would quickly be on first-name basis with) begins at Greenway House, Christie’s holiday home in Devon. Christie’s grandson greets him and proceeds to show him childhood writings from the archives and home movies.
Given my love of British gardens, I was thrilled when David visited Torre Abbey, in Christie’s childhood hometown of Torquay, to view their collection of Agatha Christie Potent Plants. Here’s part of the description from the website:
Given that over half of Christie’s characters were poisoned we are sure that you will be intrigued and surprised at the range of beautiful but sinister plants on show, including the sources for cyanide, morphine and ricin – to name just a few!
Of course, this documentary covered, in wonderfully dramatic fascination, the great disappearance in 1926. Agatha Christie’s car was found in the countryside in south England and she wasn’t found until eleven days later at a spa in Harrogate in north England. David traced her steps in as exact of a manner as he could, using a similar model car and a train and interviewing people at both locations.
After her divorce, Agatha Christie craved adventure and went, on a whim, to Istanbul. So, that’s where David Suchet headed next. We get to walk through a spice bazaar with him and visit the station where passengers boarded the Orient Express.
Given how fascinated I was by Vera Lynn during the 75th anniversary of WWII celebrations last year, I loved that David described Agatha Christie as “the Vera Lynn of the literary world” in the way that she inspired the British public during the hard years of the war.
When the paperback took over the world of publishing, one particular artist, Tom Adams, became associated with Agatha Christie’s books. David visited him at his home to see his collection of paintings that eventually became paperback book covers.
Overall, this documentary is more personal than the two that I watched earlier this month — both for David Suchet and about the life of Agatha Christie. It’s also more strictly chronological. If I had to do it again, I think I’d watch this one first and then the two newer ones.
The Mystery of Agatha Christie is available to stream with Amazon Prime, but I streamed it via Hoopla — a service that’s available for free with my library card. I believe this is the first time I’ve streamed video from the library. I was surprised to discover just how much was available on Hoopla, everything from full-length movies to documentaries to yoga workouts. If your library offers Hoopla, be sure to check it out.
Check out what others are reading for RIP XVI using the #RIPXVI hashtag on Twitter.