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New Poirot story will attract more visitors
A NEW Hercule Poirot novel will help to attract more visitors to Wallingford, where author Agatha Christie lived for more than 40 years, say civic leaders.
The popular author, who wrote the Poirot and Miss Marple detective series, lived at Winterbrook House in Cholsey from 1934 until her death in 1976.
Last month Judy Dewey, curator at the town’s museum, where there is a permanent Christie exhibition, announced an Agatha Christie festival next year at a date to be fixed.
Now thriller writer Sophie Hannah has been given the go-ahead by the author’s estate to write a new Poirot novel, to be published next year.
At the same time a new episode of Midsomer Murders – which has been filmed in Wallingford – will be blended with Danish television crime thriller The Killing in another move that will keep up the town’s profile.
Mrs Dewey said Ms Hannah would be invited to take part in the festival.
She said: “We don’t have a date yet for the festival, but it’s something we discussed at yesterday’s museum board meeting.
“We will invite Ms Hannah to come and visit and see the exhibition at the museum, to show her what we have discovered so far about Agatha Christie’s life in Wallingford.
“It would be great if the author could come to Wallingford and give a talk about her book once it is published.
“The arrangements for our Agatha Christie day have not yet been finalised and we still need to discuss it with tourism bosses at South Oxfordshire District Council, but more people are becoming aware of our plans.”
Agatha Christie was the author of 80 crime novels and short story collections.
Her novels have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in foreign languages.
Ms Hannah’s novel will be set in the late 1920s and will be published 38 years after Christie’s last novel, Sleeping Murder.
Mayor Bernard Stone said the town council would be writing to Ms Hannah to invite her to Wallingford.
“This new novel is bound to boost interest in Agatha Christie,” he said. “This is an opportunity for us to remind people that the author lived here for 40 years. Her final resting place is in Cholsey.”
Mr Stone also welcomed news that Midsomer Murders is to get the Scandinavian treatment in a new episode.
Wallingford and the surrounding area is used as a backdrop for the long-running TV detective series, first aired in 1997, with Wallingford playing the role of fictional county town Causton.
Now DR, the Danish broadcaster behind award-winning crime drama The Killing, is to work with Bentley Productions, the company which makes Midsomer Murders, for a special episode marking the 100th edition of the ITV series.
Midsomer Murders is Denmark’s most popular TV import and in The Killings at Copenhagen, DCI Barnaby, played by Neil Dudgeon, travels to Denmark when the body of a Midsomer resident is found in the Danish capital.
Tour companies take crime fans on tours of South Oxfordshire, attracted by the council’s website midsomer.com, which had more than 40,000 visits last year.
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