This festive season features a feast of Midsomer magic on TV – including episodes such as Ghosts of Christmas Past. The style of the plot twists in such programmes owes much to Agatha Christie; the mystery writer who lived, worked and died in the beautiful South Oxfordshire town of Wallingford.
January 12th marks the 34th anniversary of the novelist’s death and the Christie-related events that took place in 2010 (the 120th anniversary of her birth) show that her cultural legacy has not been forgotten.
To mark the 120th anniversary, which fell on the 15th September, search engine Google replaced the G on its home page with the moustache of Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective that Christie’s pen so brilliantly brought to life.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that Christmas was a big part of the author’s life; from 1936 until her death 40 years later her books were timed to be released in December and marketed as ‘a Christie for Christmas’.
Christie lived in a house called Winterbrook in Wallingford between 1934 and 1976 – a time when she wrote her most famous books, including Death on the Nile and Ten Little Indians. Winterbrook was obviously inspirational for the writer as it is thought to have been the model for Miss Marble’s house, Danemead. Today, the house has a blue plaque on its wall to commemorate the literary legend’s life and work.
Wallingford Museum is set to make 2011 another big Christie year by staging an exhibition about murder mysteries.