My Material Life

Happy Birthday Dear Agatha

Yesterday I learned that Agatha Christie’s birthday is today, September 15. She was born 125 years ago. I only discovered Agatha for myself in the past decade, but I’m not at all sorry I waited. I’d rather read a Hercule Poirot story than just about anything. I love that man – his desire for order, his search for justice, his humanity. I’m not sure if I would have appreciated him quite as much when I was younger.



And I think I love Agatha too. I’ve read so many of her books that I can’t help but feel that I get her point of view on so many things, and I have this idea that we’re very alike. That’s what makes tucking into a favorite author’s books feel like having coffee with a good friend, isn’t it. That feeling that you get each other. It’s a comfort, that’s what it is.


Plus I have this English fantasy of a Tricia Guild-designed house in the country where I can enjoy my reading to the sound of the rain falling outside. The photo above is from the book, Tricia Guild Colors, Patterns, and Space. It’s a beautiful book. And of course, the settings and plots of Agatha’s stories fit right into this scheme. Let’s just hope there isn’t any poison in that wine!

If you love Agatha like me or maybe just want to see what the fuss is all about (they say she is only outsold by the Bible and Shakespeare) here are some ways you can recognize her birthday this week:

Visit your local library and check out one of her books. Not sure where to start? Why not begin at the beginning with The Mysterious Affair at Styles? Or if you’re not in the mood for a mystery you could always try one of the novels she wrote as Mary Westmacott.

Read about Agatha herself. Did you know that she loved to bathe in the sea and even went surfing in Hawaii with her first husband Archie? Did you know that she “went missing” for a short period of her life in 1926? Ah yes, there is more to Agatha than meets the eye! You can choose from her autobiography or from any number of biographies. I recommend both options. You can even visit to learn more about her. If you click here you’ll see all the fun things going on to celebrate the 125th anniversary of her birth. Wish I could go.

Or how about some telly? Watch one of the David Suchet Poirot episodes on PBS or Acorn TV. You can also look for the PBS special where David Suchet talks about playing Poirot. Suchet even has a book that takes you pretty much episode to episode through his 25-year journey playing the Belgian detective. Does that sound tedious? Well it isn’t! I read it and lapped it up. Who doesn’t love David Suchet? He is Poirot! And the production values of that show – my goodness they were outstanding. There is even a PBS special where David Suchet introduces us to Agatha Christie. I just saw that one. I truly cannot get enough of Agatha or David.

Acorn TV has also begun streaming episodes of a new Tommy and Tuppence series that is a little too modern in graphic details for a Christie story if you ask me, but I still watch it. And let’s not forget Miss Marple. You’ll find various Miss Marple productions on Acorn as well.

Happy Birthday Dear Agatha!


  1. Jo Ann

    Thanks Colleen. This explains why TCM had had several Miss Marple movies with Margaret Rutherford on yesterday as well as the movie “Agatha” with Dustin Hoffman and Vanessa Redgrave (about that time she disappeared). I recorded the movies. I’ve watched all the David Suchet specials and loved them. I had heard to that they were making the Tommy and Tuppence series but I don’t have Acorn. I’m hoping they come on PBS. There was a Tommy and Tuppence series made by the BBC in 1983 with Francesca Annis which I thought was fun and it’s available on NetFlix.
    Now you have piqued my interest in reading & rereading some of Agatha Christie. Right now I”m reading the mystery series by Louise Penny which I like a lot. She has interesting characters and the mysteries take place in Quebec. She’s written 13 books so far in the series. If you haven’t read her and are interested, I’d start with the first one “Still LIfe”.

    • Ah Jo Ann, TCM, I never even thought to check it – what a mistake! I would have recorded all of it. And I only learned about the Vanessa Redgrave movie yesterday when I was poking around the internet. I could kick myself! I’ve read one Louise Penny so far, but right now I’m really enjoying the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley. But I will put Still Life on my list. But don’t delete Agatha, ok? I might have to come over and watch it some day!

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