Saturday, 1 July 2017

Agatha Christie's Lost Plays

I've very much enjoyed listening to a two-CD set of Agatha Christie's Lost Plays. This comprises two pretty obscure radio plays, Butter in a Lordly Dish and Personal Call, and a radio adaptation of the Poirot short story Murder in the Mews. The plays are supplemented by rare radio recordings of Christie, and also an interview with the actor who plays a boy in Murder in the Mews and went on to win an Oscar as a set designer.

All three plays make for very good light entertainment, and Butter in a Lordly Dish I found especially impressive. It's a very good example of the way in which the nature of justice and retribution regularly plays a part in her work, a feature that critics have often under-estimated. I was also interested in that it was one of six plays written by members of the Detection Club shortly after the Second World War in an attempt to raise funds.

It was first broadcast on 13 January 1948, and it was followed by:

  • The Murder at Warbeck Hall by Cyril Hare
  • A Nice Cup of Tea by Anthony Gilbert
  • Sweet Death by Christianna Brand
  • Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble by E. C. R. Lorac
  • Where Do We Go From Here? by Dorothy L. Sayers

A good list, huh? Hare's play formed the basis for his entertaining later novel An English Murder.

Personal Call is a neat story with a faint touch of the supernatural, while Murder in the Mews is a story with a cleverly contrived plot that, like so much of Christie's work, plays games with the listener's expectations. All in all, this is an excellent CD, with first class bonus extras. Recommended.


J said...

That would make a nice Detection Club volume...

Martin Edwards said...

Too right! The main snag will be finding all the scripts. The Hare script exists, though.

Val said...

Butter in a Lordly dish is a cracker isn't it!

Martin Edwards said...

It really is, Val. Excellent plot and concept.

Clothes In Books said...

Oh that sounds great! Perfect in-car entertainment for the next time I drive up to Liverpool. am off to order my CDs.

Martin Edwards said...

Yes, ideal for the car, which is how I listened to it. I'm sure you'll enjoy the plays.