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New Three-Part Series AGATHA CHRISTIE: LUCY WORSLEY ON THE MYSTERY QUEEN Premieres Sundays, December 3-17, 2023 on WPBS-TV

(WATERTOWN, NY) November 28, 2023 – In her new three-part series, popular British historian Lucy Worsley turns her powers of investigation to the mysterious figure of Agatha Christie, uncovering the story of one of the most famous, complex “and misunderstood” — women of the 20th century. How did this seemingly conventional British matron write so convincingly about the dark art of murder? As in the best of Christie’s novels, clues are hiding in plain sight, and Lucy uncovers surprising new evidence and some carefully concealed secrets that illuminate the life of a writer whose work continues to delight readers worldwide. AGATHA CHRISTIE: LUCY WORSLEY ON THE MYSTERY QUEEN premieres Sundays, December 3-17, 8:00-9:00 pm on WPBS-TV, wpbstv.org and the PBS App.

Over 100 years since the publication of her first novel, Agatha Christie remains the most successful novelist of all time, outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible. In 75 novels, plays and countless short stories, she defined the detective genre. But the real woman behind the literary persona has long remained an enigma.

In this series, Lucy Worsley, who recently published the acclaimed biography Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman, explores how the arc of Christie’s life follows the dynamic history of the 20th century. She witnessed extraordinary upheaval: not just two World Wars but revolutions in scientific understanding and enormous social change. Attitudes toward everything from class and gender to race, science, technology, psychology and politics were challenged. And — touched by these changes in very personal ways — she plowed all of it into her books.

In each episode, Lucy gets to the heart of Christie’s personal experiences — her family, marriages, influences and inspirations, as well as her sorrows and struggles. She traces the novelist’s footsteps, from the beautiful countryside of the Devon coast to the landscapes of Istanbul and Egypt and analyzes the many hints of her life that the novelist planted in her works.

Episode 1: “Cat Among the Pigeons” (Sunday, December 3 at 8:00 pm)

Historian Lucy Worsley investigates the complex factors that shaped the dark imagination of a refined Devonshire lady, discovering family secrets and a childhood haunted by a sinister figure. Focusing on the first third of Christie’s life, Worsley unearths the surprising roots of the author’s most compelling themes, the inspiration for some of her greatest creations, and the secrets that the enigmatic Christie kept carefully hidden from public view. Worsley’s investigation follows the trail of pivotal moments in her life — and the nation’s — to weave a picture of a woman who was both of her time and thoroughly ahead of it. And it explores how, far from being cozy whodunnits, Christie’s early books tap into and capture the social upheavals of one of the most tumultuous periods of the 20th century.

Episode 2: “Destination Unknown” (Sunday, December 10 at 8:00 pm)

On the evening of December 3, 1926, Agatha Christie left her home. The next morning, her car was found abandoned, balanced precariously on the edge of a quarry. Christie’s coat, suitcase and driver’s license were all inside, but the author herself was gone. What followed was the most extensive manhunt yet seen in Britain. Was this a publicity stunt? A hoax? Or was she the victim of foul play? Ten days later, Christie was discovered in a hotel in Harrogate, claiming to have lost her memory. In this episode, Lucy digs into the mystery, visiting the site where the author crashed her car and Abney Hall, the grand house where she took refuge. Lucy reveals connections between Christie’s real-life experience and her novels and uncovers new evidence on her mental health and the cutting-edge psychiatric treatment she went on to receive.

In the late 1920s, Christie experienced betrayal, bereavement, divorce, and writer’s block, but she also journeyed to Iraq, an experience that would boost her confidence and begin her reinvention and recovery. In this period, the author created perhaps her most famous character: the tenacious elderly sleuth, Miss Marple. Lucy uncovers the factors that shaped this beloved protagonist and discusses the mystery writer’s subversive brilliance with modern authors, including Jean Kwok, Kate Mosse and Ruth Ware.

Episode 3: “Unfinished Portrait” (Sunday, December 17 at 8:00 pm)

In the final episode, Lucy Worsley examines Agatha Christie’s later life and discovers how, amid the turbulent social and political change of the 1930s and 1940s, newfound personal happiness ushered in a golden age for her writing. In 1930, recovering from a personal crisis, Christie traveled to the Middle East. On an archaeological dig in Iraq, she met Max Mallowan, and, despite an age difference of 14 years, they fell in love and married. Soon, Christie entered into the most prolific and successful chapter of her career. Lucy follows in the novelist’s footsteps to discover the roots of some of her classics, from the luxurious Egyptian steamship that inspired Death on the Nile to Burgh Island, the inspiration for her most successful but most controversial mystery, And Then There Were None.

Lucy observes how Christie achieved global celebrity in her later life but remained the anonymous observer hiding in plain sight. She uncovers the surprising true crime story that inspired the author to write The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in history. And she discovers how the novelist finally embraced the lure of Hollywood in old age, securing a legacy for her stories for future generations.

AGATHA CHRISTIE: LUCY WORSLEY ON THE MYSTERY QUEEN is a 3×60’ series for BBC Two and PBS and is made by BBC Studios’ The Documentary Unit. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Mark Bell and the Executive Producers are Alexander Leith and Kirsty Cunningham. Bill Gardner is Executive in Charge for PBS. BBC Studios is handling global distribution.


About Lucy Worsley

Lucy Worsley is the Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces in the U.K. and the author of numerous historical publications, including biographies of Queen Victoria, Jane Austen, and most, recently, Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman. She is the host of several popular PBS specials and series including LUCY WORSLEY’S ROYAL MYTHS AND SECRETS, A VERY BRITISH ROMANCE WITH LUCY WORSLEY, 12 DAYS OF TUDOR CHRISTMAS, VICTORIA & ALBERT: THE WEDDING, TALES FROM THE ROYAL BEDCHAMBER, and many more.

About PBS 

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