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Inside The Mind Of Agatha Christie

Stream or tune in Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021 at 10 p.m. on KPBS 2

Agatha Christie, the most successful writer of all time, wrote 66 murder myst...

Credit: Courtesy of Christie Archive Trust

Above: Agatha Christie, the most successful writer of all time, wrote 66 murder mysteries and several plays, including the longest-running play ever, "The Mousetrap."

Explore the Fascinating World of Bestselling Novelist Agatha Christie with Two New Specials

Surpassed only by the Bible and Shakespeare, Agatha Christie is the most successful writer of all time; her books have sold over a billion copies in English and a billion in translation.

She wrote an astounding 66 murder mysteries, several plays including “The Mousetrap” — the longest-running play of all time — and her classic works continue to be adapted for film and television. But how did a refined, upper-class British girl evolve into the queen of crime, poison, and murder?

Photo credit: Courtesy of Christie Archive Trust

Agatha Christie, the most successful writer of all time, wrote 66 murder mysteries and several plays, including the longest-running play ever, "The Mousetrap."

Two new specials — “Inside The Mind Of Agatha Christie” and “Agatha Christie’s England” (Premieres Sunday, January 24 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV) — attempt to solve this mystery, exploring the life and times of the woman who transformed crime fiction and continues to win loyal readers across the globe.

Narrated by Samantha Bond, both programs are filled with clips from movies and television series based on Agatha Christie novels, as well as home movies and audio recordings of Christie.

With rare access to family members, scholars and her personal archive, “Inside The Mind Of Agatha Christie” explores what made the world’s most successful crime writer tick. Millions of readers worldwide know Agatha Christie’s indelible characters and plot twists, but what do we know about the author herself?

Inside The Mind Of Agatha Christie: Trailer

Discover what made the world's most successful crime writer tick. Clues from Christie's personal archive and interviews with family and scholars provide new insights into the author who continues to delight readers across the globe. Airing: 01/17/21

Dr. John Curran has spent years poring over her personal archive, a treasure trove containing letters, manuscripts and 73 meticulously kept notebooks in which she documented everything she saw and heard.

He and others explain how the author used her experiences to weave together formidable plots and how, despite being known as the queen of “cozy” crime, Agatha’s mind was, in the words of screenwriter Sarah Phelps, “incredibly dark.”

While she may have outwardly resembled a tweedy, Marple-esque figure, Agatha Christie was infinitely more complex. Insights into her life reveal that her isolated childhood sparked her imagination, and her time as a nurse during World War I gave her a knowledge of medicine — and poison, blood and gore.

An Unusual Childhood Gives Clues to Great Stories

How did an isolated, self-educated child turn into one of the greatest authors of the 20th century? While Agatha Christie’s notebooks offer a glimpse into how her stories took shape, it is her unusual childhood and family that provided the inspiration for some of her greatest characters. Airing: 01/17/21

Biographer Laura Thompson reveals how the heartbreaking breakdown of her first marriage gave her a starring role in her own mystery — a disappearance that transfixed the nation. Ultimately, wanderlust healed her broken heart as she traveled the world and transformed her writing from a hobby into a profession.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Christie Archive Trust

Agatha Christie with her first husband, Archie Christie. Following the breakdown of their marriage, Christie mysteriously disappeared for 11 days, which became a national news story.

World War II brought a sense of her own mortality and an urgency to her writing, resulting in a staggering three to four books each year.

Towards the end of her life, the increasingly famous Christie retreated from the public eye to her beloved holiday home, Greenway.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Christie Archive Trust

Agatha Christie (right) walks the grounds of Greenway, her beloved country home, with her second husband Max Mallowan.

Watch On Your Schedule:

Both programs will stream simultaneously with broadcast and be available on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Samsung Smart TV and Chromecast.

Credits:

Produced and directed by Matt Cottingham. Executive Producers are Basi Akpabio, Jonathan Stadlen and Natalie von Hurter. Filmed, produced and directed by Toby Roebuck. Executive Producers are Jonathan Stadlen and Natalie von Hurter.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Christie Archive Trust

Portrait of Agatha Christie. (undated)

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