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Agatha Christie and Ealing: win a book

Did you know that there are many links between the best-selling author Agatha Christie and Ealing? A newly published book outlines what these are. And you could win a copy of it in our competition.

Agatha was born Agatha Miller in Torquay in 1890, the third of 3 children. However, she often spent time with her grandmother Margaret Miller in Ealing and, in her autobiography, the author talked a lot about her elderly relative and her household. She also turned to our borough for inspiration as a writer.

Margaret Miller lived in Ealing between 1881-1914. She was a widow living with servants in a detached house on the south side of Uxbridge Road in Ealing, at 9 Craven Villas. It is long-gone and an office block now stands on the site.

But this is just the beginning of the links between the famous writer and our borough.

You can read about these in a new book, Agatha Christie and Ealing: Queen of Crime and Queen of the Suburbs, by the borough’s archivist Dr Jonathan Oates. Dr Oates works at the local history section of Ealing Central Library.

From Miss Marple to Hercule Poirot, and beyond…

In the book, you can read about how Agatha remembers as a young girl walking over the fields to St Stephen’s Church. She also recalls the visitors and relatives who called at the house and about the servants who worked there. The 1911 census shows Agatha Miller, aged 20, born in Torquay and of no occupation, at Margaret Miller’s house.

Old photograph of a young girl
Agatha Christie as a young girl. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Agatha’s parents, Frederick and Clara Miller, as well as Mrs Miller and Agatha’s sister (also called Margaret, or Madge), are all buried at Ealing Cemetery. At the entrance there is a board which provides information about them and gives the location. Her father died in Ealing in 1901, Mrs Miller in 1919 and Clara in 1926. They are laid to rest in the same grave. Next to them, in 1950, Agatha’s sister was also buried.

Ealing is mentioned in a number of Agatha’s stories. In her short story The Adventure of Hunter’s Lodge, a commuter finds a gun on Haven Green as he travels to Ealing Broadway Station. In One Two, Buckle My Shoe, the detective Hercule Poirot alights at Ealing Broadway station on his way to see a man in a road not far from Haven Green.

St Bernard’s Hospital, as the then Hanwell Asylum is now called, features in novel The Big Four. There are also a few other references to Ealing and Hanwell.

The most important Ealing influence is that the inspiration for the character Miss Marple came from Mrs Miller (Agatha’s elderly relative). Agatha wrote in her autobiography that her relative had a habit of being very suspicious about everyone and was usually proved right. That is one of Miss Marple’s main character traits and she often exclaims about the wickedness of human nature.

A Christie mystery

Intriguingly, there is an unsolved mystery about Agatha and Ealing. In her autobiography, she stated that it was in Ealing that her first piece of writing was published. This was in 1901 when she was only 11.

Apparently, she wrote a poem about the trams that had just began to run through Ealing, much to some people’s despair. Unfortunately, no one has as yet managed to locate the publication in which this poem appeared.

Win a copy of the book

We have a copy of the book Agatha Christie and Ealing: Queen of Crime and Queen of the Suburbs to give away. You can be in with a chance of winning it by correctly answering the following question and then emailing it to aroundealing@ealing.gov.uk before the deadline of 23:59pm on Monday 8 July 2024.

The front cover of a book, displaying an old photo of a woman wearing a suit and hat
Front cover of book: Agatha Christie and Ealing: Queen of Crime and Queen of the Suburbs

When emailing in your answer, you must use the subject line ‘Agatha Christie’ or your entry might not be counted.

Question: What is the title of the Agatha Christie novel in which the character Hercule Poirot first appears?

Read the terms and conditions of the competition below.

Buy a copy

You can also buy a copy of the book Agatha Christie and Ealing: Queen of Crime and Queen of the Suburbs for £6.99 by searching using the code ISBN 978-1-901091-92-2, from Irregular Special Press.

Competition: terms and conditions

After the deadline has passed, the winner will be digitally selected at random, before being contacted. Only the winner will be notified. If the winner does not respond within 2 weeks, or a similar term deemed reasonable/appropriate to the competition prize, a new winner might be drawn at random instead and awarded the prize.

Your contact details will be used for the purpose of administering the competition and contacting the winner to notify them of the prize. And, if you are the winner, we may also need to pass them on to the organisation/company/individual that is due to provide you with the prize in order for you to claim it.

The entry deadline and the random selection of the winner is final and binding in all respects on all entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.

Entries that do not comply in full with these entry terms and conditions may be disqualified. If the winning entry is disqualified for any reason, the council reserves the right to award the prize to another entrant.

There is no cash alternative to the prize. The council does not accept any liability on behalf of any third party supplying the prize. Some terms and conditions of the third party supplier may also apply to the prize.

Entrants will be deemed to have accepted these terms and conditions by entering this competition.

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