Close Search

Selected Shorts

Cozy and Chilly: An Agatha Christie Celebration



Guest host David Strathairn introduces two tales by master of mystery Agatha Christie. We celebrated her work at a special live Selected Shorts event hosted by crime writer Megan Abbott, who comments on the stage in this program.

Christie is considered the queen of the “cozies”—murder mysteries that feature colorful characters and dastardly deeds committed in elegant country homes, picturesque villages, or glamorous continental resorts. Christie was also an ingenious plotter—almost anyone could be a killer. Among Christie’s legion of fans is, unexpectedly, the sardonic essayist and quintessential New York cosmopolitan Fran Lebowitz, who cheerfully admits that she’s read the same Christies over and over, because she can never remember who did it, and doesn’t care!

Christie’s two most famous characters were Hercule Poirot, a Belgian-born detective with a vast mustache and an ego to match (most recently played by Kenneth Branagh in a remake of Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express) and village spinster Miss Marple.

Miss Marple is given to dithering and self-deprecation, but has a mind like a trap and is a shrewd judge of human nature. Her ego is much smaller than Poirot’s, but she does boast a little in “Miss Marple Tells a Story,” read by Lois Smith.

Not all Christie’s stories featured her signature characters. She was equally capable of infusing dread in any ordinary setting, such as the peaceful village in “Accident,” where a former CID man is sure he’s spotted a murderer. “Be very careful,” warns the fortune teller at the village fete. And is he? Well, you’ll hear whether he is or not in this read by Hugh Dancy.

Share This Episode:

Radio & Podcast Schedule

View Schedule