The unexpected guest Program Notes
by Kathe Atwood & Scott Guerin
Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan (1890-1976), is often referred to as the "Queen of Crime" / "Queen of Mystery." She authored 66 detective novels,14 short story collections, and also wrote the world's longest-running play, the murder mystery The Mousetrap. Christie’s early writing career began with some short stories and two failed novels. After her marriage to Archibald Christie in 1914 and the birth of her only child in 1919, she decided to try writing once again. Christie had long been a fan of the detective genre, and decided to write one of her own. Subsequently in 1920 her first successful book, The Mysterious Incident At Styles, featuring Hercule Poirot, was published. The rest, as they say, is history. In 1926 her husband asked Christie for a divorce, prompting one of the more curious incidents in the author’s life: she disappeared under mysterious circumstances, and was not found for nearly two weeks. At that point she was discovered at a hotel registered under a pseudonym, suffering from amnesia. It was never determined what had actually transpired, and Christie never spoke of the incident with anyone. After her divorce in 1928, Christie met Max Mallowan, whom she married in 1930. Mallowan was an archaeologist based primarily in the Middle East, where Christie accompanied him, influencing such classics as Murder On the Orient Express and Death On the Nile. During World War II, Mallowan was stationed in Cairo while Christie remained in England, resulting in her most creative writing period, during which she produced her perennial bestseller, And Then There Were None. During the late 1940s and into the 50s, Christie adapted her canon for theatrical productions, which limited the time she dedicated to writing. Two billion copies of Christie’s prolific output have been sold, third only to the Bible and Shakespeare’s works.
We hope that you enjoy our production of The Unexpected Guest and have fun guessing “whodunit” this time!