Family of Agatha Christie reveal fan letters author replied to in author's 125th birthday year

By Culture24 Reporter | 10 March 2015

Letters exchanged between Agatha Christie and fans reveal admiration from readers and advice from author with a personal touch

A photo of an old letter on yellow paper
© Agatha Christie Ltd
When Agatha Christie published Halloween Party, in 1969, the comic author PG Wodehouse wrote to tell her of his pleasure and pride at having the book dedicated to him.

Calling the publication of new Christie books “an event”, he praised her choice of title. “Getting a satisfactory title is the most difficult problem,” he observed.

Wodehouse’s is one of dozens of letters being released in the year which would have seen Christie’s 125th birthday, issued in a previously unseen collection as part of a campaign, 125 Stories, aiming to inspire fans of the novelist to share tales of how she inspired them.

Christie was a prolific letter writer. Her less famous correspondents are often the most moving: one woman had spent 12 years in a Romanian prison, relying on the memories of Christie’s works in the absence of reading material allowed by her jailors.

Mathew Prichard, Christie’s grandson, launched the initiative. “Knowing what receiving these letters meant to my grandmother, I'm sure she would be moved to see these personal stories shared publicly for the first time,” he said.

“As we call to her fans across the globe to share their stories and experiences of Christie, I look forward to discovering how her work continues to inspire today.”

A photo of an old letter on yellow paper
© Agatha Christie Ltd
A 14-year-old Christie devotee in Bristol wrote to the author in 1958. He was managing to buy one novel a week with the proceeds of a crime reading club he had started at his school.

A photo of an old letter on yellow paper
© Agatha Christie Ltd
Christie congratulated the wannabe writer on his idea and sent him a copy of one of her novels - 1957's 4.50 from Paddington.

A photo of an old letter on yellow paper
© Agatha Christie Ltd
An American fan sent a photo of a tombstone linked to one of the murders she had alluded to.

A photo of an old black and white photo of a 19th century tombstone in a cemetery
© Agatha Christie Ltd
Christie found the tombstone "rather gruesome"...

A photo of an old letter on yellow paper
© Agatha Christie Ltd
...but thanked the writer for the memento.

A photo of an old letter on yellow paper
© Agatha Christie Ltd
In one amazing letter, a woman sent to a Nazi German camp in occupied Poland during the war found solace in The Man in the Brown Suit, published in 1924.

A photo of an old letter on yellow paper
© Agatha Christie Ltd
A woman who spent more than a decade in a Romanian prison was forbidden from reading. But her memories of Christie's stories, she wrote, helped her through.

A photo of an old letter on yellow paper
© Agatha Christie Ltd
“It would be a great honour to me and you would make me feel as the most happy human being in the whole world if you would kindly offer me something (as an autograph) whatever you like”, wrote one fan from Greece. Christie praised his perception of her use of mathematics in her stories (see top of story).

  • You can share your story and read more at 125stories.com. The 125 strongest stories will be showcased at the International Agatha Christie Festival at Torre Abbey, Torquay from September 11-19 2015.

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