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  • Writer's pictureDavid Morris

INSIGHTS: Christie's still unpublished works.

Updated: Apr 24, 2022

While most of Agatha Christie’s works have been published, there are still numerous items unpublished. Some may be deemed too rough or unfinished by Agatha Christie Limited, while others may have been adapted into a more complete work which was published. Regardless, one imagines that most fans of Christie’s works would enjoy the opportunity to read them. Most still exist and are in the Agatha Christie Archive or are draft playscripts in private hands. One is lost though known to have existed through correspondence. There may still be others yet to be found. It is highly possible we’ve missed something or listed some that have been published somewhere we are unaware of, so we welcome insights and corrections from our readers.

We have separated these unpublished works into plays and stories. We have also made our best effort in trying to list them in chronological sequence.

Unpublished Plays:

The Clutching Hand: This play is an adaptation of Arthur B. Reeve’s play The Exploits of Elaine, in which the criminal was known as The Clutching Hand. In the early 1900s, Reeve’s protagonist, Professor Craig Kennedy, was one of the most popular characters in fiction so Christie was certainly well aware of his appeal. Reeve’s also adapted his book for the silent screen. With a strong female character, this book (and the film) may have given Christie confidence to centre many of her books around a strong female lead, such as Tuppence Beresford, Anne Beddingfield, and even Hilary Craven.

Eugenia and Eugenics: This early comedic play features Eugenia who has to consider the impact of a potential new law that would only allow people who are physically and mentally fit to marry. This discipline of eugenics leads Eugenia to attend a facility that advertises itself as a place to meet your perfect partner. Comedy ensues.

The Lie: As with Eugenia and Eugenics, this three act play also takes a position on contemporary social issues. This time, Christie discusses marriage and divorce laws through her play. Here the focus is on romance between in laws. While not published, BBC Radio Four did produce the play for broadcast. It aired on 29 August 2020. An online recording can still be found.

Marmalade Moon: This short play centres around two couples staying at a hotel. The first couple is two honeymooners while the second couple are celebrating one year of being divorced. The title refers to the second Honeymoon you get if you remarry.

Moon on the Nile: There is a lot of debate around the sequencing of all Christie’s writings generally collected under the umbrella of ‘Death on the Nile’. This play, Moon on the Nile, was the first stage version of the story and has never been performed. It was likely written in the 1930s but it is unclear if this play preceded the novel or novel’s early script. It is commonly accepted that this play is meaningfully different from Murder on the Nile, the play that has been performed and published by Samuel French.

Someone at the Window: This play was likely written in the mid-1930s and has not been performed. Based on the short story The Dead Harlequin, it removed the main characters of Harley Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite. Christie frequently removed dominant characters for stage plays (i.e Poirot was removed from Murder on the Nile). With a murder at a fancy dress ball, the play is long – coming in at 175 pages – and involved with 16 characters. The play has a prologue with three acts. The first two acts are set at Canforth Castle in 1919 as a prologue / flashback. Act Three is set in 1934 in London. the third act the scene shifts to London in 1934. Working copies of this script are known to have been circulated amongst theatre producers and so they will occasionally appear for sale. They were distributed by L.E. Berman.

Miss Perry: This two-act play has also not been performed. Potentially written in the early 1960s (some believe 1964), it is referenced in one of Christie’s notebooks (#53) from that period. The playscript is 80 pages long. It was common for Christie’s agent to send copies of manuscripts out to various theatrical producers to see if there was interest. It implies that her agent at the time, Hughes Massie & Co, believed this play has qualities worthy of production.

Unpublished Novels & Short Stories:

Snow Upon the Desert: In what was most likely 1908, Agatha Christie went to Cairo, Egypt for ‘the season’, chaperoned by her mother. Shortly after returning to England, Agatha Christie wrote this romantic novel. She set the book in Cairo and populated it with characters modelled on people she’d seen at the Gezira Palace and the affiliated social functions. While she tried numerous times to get it published, it never made it into print. It has been shared with us that the story is quite amateur and probably not suitable for publishing.

Being So Very Wilful: Likely written around the same time that she wrote Snow Upon the Desert (1908-1909), this story is currently ‘lost’. It is known that Christie lent a copy to Eden Phillpotts - author, family friend and neighbour - asking for his opinion. Philpotts’s reply is known as he wrote "All is going exceedingly well with your work … if you can write like this now you might go far." Little did he know when he wrote that comment!

The House of Beauty: This short story was also written in her teens, likely after Being So Very Wilful, but prior to 1914. Christie considered this the first thing she'd written with any promise! She later rewrote it into the short story The House of Dreams which was published in 1926 in The Sovereign Magazine.

The Green Gate: One of Christie’s supernatural short stories believed to have been written in the 1920s when similar stories were penned.

The War Bride: Another supernatural short story also likely written in the 1920s.

Stronger than Death: Another supernatural short story also likely written in the 1920s.

Witch Hazel: Another supernatural short story likely written in the 1920s.

Missing Pieces:

The Last Séance: It appears there may be a playscript for this short story, though information is fairly limited, and our notes are incomplete. Hopefully, one of our readers can fill in the gaps!

Anything else: We welcome any other missing knowledge for this article and we will edit / update it as appropriate.

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