The market town of Wallingford in Oxfordshire is marking the Murder Mystery Weekend on 9-10 September 2023 with an unveiling of a Bronze Statue celebrating its famous former resident, Dame Agatha Christie.
The famed Queen of Crime and internationally acclaimed author lived in Wallingford for 42 years (1934-1976), and was a popular figure around town, and famously disappeared for 11 days causing a nationwide search and media frenzy.
The statue reveal at noon on Saturday 9th September kicks off a fun-packed weekend of Murder Mystery events and activities throughout the town.
Commissioned by Wallingford Town Council and funded by an Arts Grant, the Bronze shows The Queen of Crime seated on a bench overlooking The Kine Croft Park, as if drawing inspiration for her next novel. Figurative sculptor Ben Twiston-Davies, who also designed the Agatha Christie sculpture ‘The Book’ in London, sees the statue as a ‘testament to the power of imagination’, and there are many intriguing details to captivate those who pause to sit next to her.
The bench is positioned against the backdrop of Wallingford Museum, where visitors will discover a permanent Christie exhibition with correspondence and pictures from the time she spent living here inconspicuously beside the Thames.
The Murder Mystery Weekend Celebrating Agatha Christie sees a host of creative events to entertain the local community and visitors alike. The full schedule and booking information will be available online over the coming weeks with an initial line-up that includes:
- Immersive Murder Mystery Experiences on the steam-powered Bunkline – a train service which Christie used – organised by the Cholsey & Wallingford Railway. https://www.cholsey-wallingford-railway.com/
- A programme of free Murder Mystery films at a pop-up, Open-Air Cinema in Wallingford’s historic Castle Gardens. https://www.wallingfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/visitors/places-to-visit/wallingford-castle-gardens-and-meadow/
- A themed talk by Christie expert, historian, and author Lucy Worsley at the Corn Exchange Theatre, home of the Sinodun Players, the local amateur dramatics society of which Christie was President. https://www.cornexchange.org.uk/
- Shuttle rides on the Bunkline train between Wallingford and Cholsey to visit Christie’s Grave at St Mary’s Church, Cholsey. https://www.stmaryscholsey.org/
- Guided walking tours led by volunteers from Wallingford Museum, re-tracing the town’s links to Agatha and including a glimpse outside her former home, Winterbrook House. https://www.wallingfordmuseum.org.uk/
- Exhibitions at Wallingford Museum include ‘At Home with Agatha Christie’ detailing her personal letters, work with archaeologist husband Max Mallowan, and their home life at Winterbrook House; and The Midsumer Murders connection – Wallingford was the original ‘Causton’. https://www.wallingfordmuseum.org.uk/
- A Murder Mystery themed supper at the Five Little Pigs restaurant, named after Christie’s Poirot novel, with a specially created Killer Cocktail. https://www.fivelittlepigs.co.uk/
Councillor Steve Beatty who heads-up the project for Wallingford Town Council says: “It is fitting that Wallingford has a permanent tribute to Agatha Christie and we hope that the town comes together for a weekend of celebrations”.
For a full programme of events, details of what to do and where to stay, see www.visitwallingford.uk
Who was Agatha Christie?
Agatha Christie was an English writer widely regarded as one of the greatest mystery writers of all time. She wrote more than 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, most of which revolved around the investigations of the characters Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Many of her stories were adapted into plays, films, and television series. Her works have been translated into over 100 languages, and her books have sold over two billion copies worldwide.
Agatha Christie is a major influence in the world of crime fiction. Her works helped to popularize the “whodunit” genre as she reduced the number of suspects in her stories, often to one or two characters, making it easier for the reader to solve the mystery. Her stories are known for their intricate plots, often involving complex details and red herrings.
She was also a pioneer in the use of plot twists, which often reveal hidden aspects of the story that the reader had not previously known. Her work has been immensely popular over the decades and continues to be a major influence on crime fiction today.
Where is Wallingford, Oxfordshire?
If you are making a special trip for the weekend, then do it as Agatha lived here for a reason. Wallingford is a historic market town in South Oxfordshire, England. It is located about 10 miles south of Oxford (half hour drive) and 30 miles north-west of London. The town is situated on the River Thames, and known for its rich history, with the town being mentioned in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle in 912.
It was also the location of a Norman castle, which was destroyed in 1263. The town was an important trading centre during the medieval period and was granted its first charter in 1226. Today, Wallingford is a popular tourist destination, known for its beautiful architecture, quaint cobbled streets and traditional English pubs. The town also offers a range of attractions, including the Wallingford Museum, a working watermill, a riverside walk and a variety of shops and restaurants.
Where is Agatha Christie’s Grave?
Located in: St. Mary’s Church
Address: Church Rd, Cholsey, Wallingford OX10 9PS
Agatha Christie’s grave is located at St. Mary’s Churchyard in Cholsey, Oxfordshire, England. Her grave is marked with a simple grey stone which bears her name and dates of birth and death. Fans and admirers of her work come from all over the world to pay their respects.