Agatha Christie recordings recently discovered

September 15, 2008 5:15:02 PM PDT
Mystery writer Agatha Christie can be heard musing about the origins of Jane Marple, one of her best-loved heroines,on recently discovered recordings, her grandson said Monday.Mathew Prichard said he found a host of old tapes when cleaning out his grandmother's house several years ago, but could not play them until he fixed the obsolete machine on which they were recorded.

"Not being a technical person I didn't realize how modern technology can resurrect (the tapes)," Prichard told The Associated Press. He called the experience of hearing Christie's voice again "quite eerie."

Fans hoping for a posthumous mystery will be disappointed - the tapes served as raw material for Christie's autobiography and do not add much to what has already been written about her, Prichard said.

They capture Christie speaking in a thin, deliberate voice. In an impeccably old-fashioned English accent, she describes the origins of the sleuth known to millions of readers worldwide as Miss Marple.

"Miss Marple insinuated herself so quietly into my life that I think I hardly noticed her arrival," she said, according to an excerpt of the recording carried on The Daily Telegraph newspaper's Web site. "An old spinster lady, living in a village, the sort of lady who would have been rather like some of my grandmother's cronies."

Christie, who died in 1976, said Miss Marple and her grandmother had in common an infallible instinct for calling out crooks and sniffing out conspiracy.

"'I shouldn't be surprised if so-and-so was going on,' my grandmother used to say, and although with no grounds for these assertions, that was exactly what was going on," Christie said.

Prichard said the recordings also covered Christie's trips to the Middle East and her honeymoon with her second husband, Max Mallowan. It was not clear when exactly the tapes were made, although Prichard said Christie often relied on dictation in the 1960s.

While the tapes have now been digitized, Prichard said he wanted to consult with his family before deciding whether to put more of the material in the public domain.


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