Agatha Christie Recordings Discovered

More than 13 hours of audio tapes recorded by Agatha Christie have been discovered by her grandson. The reel-to-reel tapes are notes that the famed mystery author took while preparing to write her autobiography.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Like any good mystery writer, Agatha Christie never tired of surprising her readers, even in death. Yesterday, Christie's family released more than 13 hours of previously unheard tapes of the author. Let's listen along with NPR's Lynn Neary.

LYNN NEARY: Christie's grandson found the tapes in an old cardboard box when he was cleaning out the family home. Biographer Laura Thompson says listening to Christie's voice is like eavesdropping on an England that no longer exists.

Ms. LAURA THOMPSON (Biographer): Even the Queen doesn't sound like that, you know. She was born in 1890, and she sounds like a product of the world that she grew up in.

NEARY: The tapes date back to the 1960s when Christie was getting ready to write an autobiography. But for fans of her books, the biographical details may be less interesting than the revelations about her famous characters, the detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.

Ms. AGATHA CHRISTIE (Mystery Writer): Ms. Marple insinuated herself so quietly into my life that I think I hardly noticed her arrival.

NEARY: Ms. Marple, Christie said, was like some of her grandmother's cronies. But she was more puffy and spinsterish than her grandmother.

Ms. CHRISTIE: She had this in common with my grandmother. That although a completely cheerful person, she always expected the worst.

NEARY: Christie said fans wanted Ms. Marple and Poirot to meet, a suggestion she dismissed out of hand.

Ms. CHRISTIE: But why should they meet? I'm sure they would not like meeting at all.

NEARY: And no doubt, Agatha Christie knew exactly what she was talking about. Lynn Neary, NPR News, Washington.

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