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Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie's timeless stories include all the elements that make audiobooks compelling—skillful plots and intriguing puzzles; inventive, colorful characters; and brilliant narrators. AudioFile editor Robin Whitten recently spoke with two of these narrators, Hugh Fraser and Rosalind Ayres, about their experiences reading Christie for audio. - 2009 Update

Agatha Christie stories have delighted readers for nearly 70 years. Christie audiobooks have been around since the late 1980s, and American libraries and listeners have made them among their most popular listening choices. Christie on audio is perfect to listen to--for the new listener or devoted audiophile. All the elements that make audiobooks compelling--skillful plots and intriguing puzzles; inventive, colorful characters; brilliant narrators--make for the perfect storytelling medium of audiobooks.

The story of bringing Agatha Christie audiobooks to U.S. listeners is a curious puzzle. As early as the 1950s, Anthony Ditlow, founder of Listening Library, obtained the rights to produce Christie's “Ten Little Indians” as an audiobook, yet it was not until the mid 1980s that the story was completed and published. In 1987, the British production of THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD, read by Robin Bailey, was the first complete novel available in the U.S. Over the following fifteen years, with persistence and dedication, Grady Hesters of Audio Partners gathered and co-produced more than 70 Christie audio productions. After 2002, the Christie audiography passed to BBC Audiobooks America, which offers the titles today.

Cast of Characters
Agatha Christie: The Queen of Crime, most popular mystery writer of all time, author of more than 70 audiobooks
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot, Belgian detective, BBC TV series and audiobooks
John Moffat: Hercule Poirot, BBC radio theater and audiobooks
Hugh Fraser: Captain Arthur Hastings, partner and friend to Poirot, BBC TV series and audiobooks
Joan Hickson: Miss Jane Marple, elderly spinster and amateur detective, stage roles, BBC TV series, and audiobooks
June Whitfield: Miss Jane Marple, BBC radio theater and audiobooks

Supporting Cast
The narrators of single-voice Agatha Christie mysteries: Alex Jennings, Alexandra Thomas, Andrew Sachs, Anna Massey, Ann Beach, Bill Wallis, Christopher Lee, Daniel Massey, David Case, David Horovitch, David Timson, Denholm Elliot, Emilia Fox, Geraldine James, Ian Masters, James Saxon, James Warwick, Jenny Funnell, Jonathan Cecil, June Whitfield, Martin Jarvis, Michael Jayston, Nadia May, Nathaniel Parker, Nigel Anthony, Nigel Hawthorne, Norman Barrs, Penelope Dellaporta, Ralph Cosham, Robin Bailey, Roe Kendall, Rosalind Ayres, Rosemary Leach, Samantha Bond, Stephanie Cole, Tim Pigott-Smith.
In addition, dozens of actors have participated in dramatizations of more than 20 audio theater productions.

© AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine

Photo © TopFoto/The Image Works

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