Running Time 2hrs
Two BBC Radio full-cast dramatisations from the Queen of Crime.
The Unexpected Guest begins on a foggy night at a lonely country house, where a woman with a gun in her hand is quietly surveying the dead body of her husband. It looks like a straightforward case of murder. Or is it? As the ghosts of an old wrong begin to emerge from the past, the case begins to look anything but straightforward, and it is up to Sergeant Cadwallader and Inspector Thomas to discover the unexpected truth… In The Pale Horse, a dying woman gasps out her bizarre story to Catholic priest Father Gorman – but no sooner has he written it down than he is violently killed. The only clue he leaves is a twisted scrap of paper on which are written nine names.
On the trail of these names Inspector Lejeune, together with academic Mark Easterbrooke and his crime writer friend
Ariadne Oliver, are led inexorably to The Pale Horse Inn, in the village of Much Deeping. The three women who live there – a psychic, a medium and a witch – all seem to have some link to Father Gorman’s death. And each of them has
their own secrets…
These two Agatha Christie stories, each with a twist in the tale, are dramatised with full casts including Siôn Probert and Stephanie Cole.
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.