Agatha Christie is the most successful novelist of all time, outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible. Across 75 novels, plays and countless short stories, she revolutionised the detective genre for over a century - but the real woman behind the literary persona has long remained an enigma.
Over the course of three episodes, Historian Lucy Worsley turns her powers of investigation onto Agatha herself.
In episode one, Lucy explores Agatha Christie’s early life and the origins of her talent for murder mysteries, unearthing the inspiration for some of her greatest characters and the secrets that the enigmatic Christie kept carefully hidden from public view.
Lucy’s investigation follows the trail of pivotal moments in Christie’s life and the nation’s experience to weave a picture of a woman who was both of her time, and thoroughly ahead of it.
She explores how, far from being cosy whodunnits, Christie’s early books tap into and capture the social upheavals of one of the most tumultuous periods of the 20th century.
Like the best Agatha Christie stories, Worsley’s exploration is laced with charm, suspense, a sprinkling of humour and a compelling cast of characters.
Interviewees include James Prichard, Chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd and great grandson of Agatha Christie; Katie Adie, author and former BBC war correspondent; Sarah Phelps, screenwriter; Ali Marshall, Head Gardener, Torre Abbey and curator of the Poison Garden; and Jamie Bernthal, Agatha Christie expert.
Airs this November on BBC Two and iPlayer.