100 years on: exploring Agatha Christie's life and work

Agatha Christie as a young woman

2020 marks 100 years since the publication of Agatha Christie's first novel, 'The Mysterious Affair at Styles'. We’re marking this milestone by delving into the life and work of this much-loved author. We’ll reveal treasures from her collection in a video tour of Greenway, and share a new podcast featuring memories from Agatha’s grandson.

Caring for Agatha Christie's collection

With your help, we care for Greenway in Devon, Agatha's beloved holiday home. Agatha and her family would spend summer and Christmas holidays at Greenway, relaxing by the river, playing croquet, and reading her latest mystery to their guests.

The Greenway estate was gifted to the Trust 20 years ago in 2000, but Agatha’s family continued to live in the house until 2005. In 2005 Agatha’s grandson, Mathew Prichard gifted the house and contents to us so that everyone had the chance to explore Agatha’s life and glimpse many of her prized possessions, including artefacts from her travels, family momentos, and first editions of her novels.

Video

Take a tour of Greenway

Although the house has now reopened, if you can't visit in person we'll take you on a special virtual tour, showing you some of the objects in the collection that visitors wouldn't normally see. Find out how we care for 'the loveliest place in the world', as Agatha herself once described it.

Who was Agatha Christie?

Agatha was born in Torquay, Devon in 1890, and was educated largely by her father. She first began writing detective fiction when she worked with the Voluntary Aid Detachment in a Red Cross Hospital during the First World War – this was the beginning of the work Agatha became most known for.

During her lifetime, she wrote over 60 detective novels, bringing to life iconic characters such as the eccentric Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and the seemingly unsuspecting golden age detective Miss Marple.

Agatha weaved together internationally known stories, such as ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ (1926), and captivating plays, such as ‘The Mousetrap’ (1952), that would firmly secure her status as a canonical figure in the history of detective fiction. In fact, 'The Mousetrap' set a world record for the longest running play in the world.

Codger's Fort on the estate at Wallington, Northumberland

Podcast: 100 years of mystery

While many of us are familiar with Agatha Christie’s characters, just how well do we know Agatha the person? Listen to our latest podcast to learn more about the woman behind the books, and hear from her grandson as he shares his memories of their holidays together at Greenway.

Agatha Christie on the 1922 world tour

Agatha Christie and Greenway's global connections 

Agatha Christie travelled all over the world and collected objects on her travels, many of which are in the collection at Greenway. Discover the collection's links to the British Empire and explore contemporary perspectives on her legacy.

Explore literary treasures

Thanks to your support, we look after many precious books and manuscripts and care for the former homes of famous writers, playwrights and poets poets, including Samuel Coleridge, Vita Sackville-West, Beatrix Potter and Thomas Hardy, to name a few. Some of these places even inspired their work, including Greenway which featured as the scene of a crime in Christie's novel, 'Dead Man's Folly'.

Double-paged coloured engraving

Great books in our collections 

From Renaissance manuscripts, Persian poetry, song books and sonnets, to a Welsh bible from 1630, we look after more than 400,000 books and manuscripts. Libraries Curator, Tim Pye, takes a closer look at some of the most significant works in our care.

Create a cosy reading nook

Sometimes in life all you need is a comfy corner to relax in and unwind with a good book. Our online shop has everything you need to create the perfect reading nook in your home or garden. What's more, 100 per cent of profits support the work we do to care for the nation’s nature, beauty and history for everyone, for ever. 

Petworth painting conservation

Protect buildings and collections in our care 

We depend on your donations to help us carry out our vital conservation work and the coronavirus crisis means that we need your support more than ever. Some of the nation's best-loved buildings need urgent restoration, including Greenway, and we can only do this with your help. Please consider donating today and help protect nature, beauty and history. Thank you for your support.