You're Dead To Me

The comedy podcast that takes history seriously. Greg Jenner brings together the best names in comedy and history to learn and laugh about the past.

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie

Fri, 19 May 2023 06:00

Sue Perkins and Dr Lucy Worsley join Greg Jenner to discuss the life of world-famous novelist, Agatha Christie. Agatha Christie is arguably the greatest ever crime novelist but her work has also permeated film, theatre and television over the past century. Christie also lived during an extraordinary period of modern history. Her life encompassed the end of the Victorian era, the two world wars and ended at the age of 85 in 1976. There was also much more to Christie the person: from unexpected sporting hobbies to a romantic life that had its fair share of heartbreak and harmony; her life off the page is as interesting as her novels are on it. Research by Jessica Honey Written by Emma Nagouse, Emmie Rose Price-Goodfellow, Jessica Honey and Greg Jenner Produced by Emma Nagouse and Greg Jenner Assistant Producer: Emmie Rose Price-Goodfellow Project Management: Isla Matthews Audio Producer: Steve Hankey You’re Dead To Me is a production by The Athletic for BBC Radio 4.

Listen to Episode

Copyright © (C) BBC 2023

Read Episode Transcript

This is the BBC. This podcast is supported by advertising outside the UK. Kanye was just more......going to make it happen. He was one of them. People that I knew was going to win grandies. You know, no one man can sustain or should have to even try to sustain that much about. I think what I'm just trying to say is it's so much bigger than Kanye. On an all new season of making from WBEZ Chicago, the rise and fall of Yeh, the artist formerly known as Kanye West. Listen wherever you get your podcasts. BBC Sounds, Music, Radio, Podcasts Hello and welcome to your Dead To Me, the Radio 4 comedy podcast that takes history seriously. My name is Greg Jenner, I'm a public historian, author and broadcaster. Today we are hopping aboard the Orient Express to investigate the life and works, the Queen of crime writing herself, Agatha Christie, and to help us sift through clues and detect fact from fiction. I'm joined by two very special suspects. Sorry guests, guests. In History Corner, she's a historian writer, BBC broadcaster, and chief curator, a historic royal palestinist. She's the host, the fantastic BBC Sound Historical True Crime podcast Lady Killers. A fantastic show that explores women who killed in history. She's also something of a TV detective herself, solving historical myths on royal history's biggest fives, and Lucy Wurzley investigates, that's given away the name, hasn't it? She's the author of a very British murder, and lucky for us also the author, the recent biography Agatha Christie, a very elusive woman. It's Dr Lucy Wurzley, welcome Lucy. Hello, thank you for having me. Absolutely, pleasure. It's the crossover event of the year. And in Comedy Corner, she's a renowned broadcaster, writer, actor, comedian. You name it, she can do it. You'll know her from her iconic hosting skills on just a minute, great British bake-off, in certain name here, plus various marvellous travel adventures, documentaries and shows. She's even played a contract killer in the show hitman, which she co-created. So she knows her way around a crime scene. It's the sensational Superkins, welcome Sue. It's lovely to be here. No weapons, I assume. A couple of concealed, but I don't like to talk about it. Okay, we're all friends. Let's keep them concealed from now. They're off to me now. All right. Sue, last time we had you on, we were galvancing through the unfamiliar territory, 17th century Istanbul. It was interesting, it was good fun. But this one, I think, I reckon we're closer to home here. I'm willing to bet the series budget, all £8.50, that you know. I know. I get the Christie's. Love, I get the Christie. Yeah? I have the Christie. Christie? I got the Christie's another writer. I have the Christie kept me company during a pleasant bout of Gladion Lefivre on I was sort of 1415. Wow. I read all of them. All of them. That's the way my brain works. Why do you want? And when you can do it, oh! I haven't read most of them. I read the whole lot. I've still got them. I've still got the full edition on myself. That's amazing. I've read the 80 books as such, but there are short stories that got away from me. Oh, I've not touched the short stories. Okay. Or the Marginalia. Or the Juvenalia or any other Anearia I haven't touched. In Malia. Yeah. Okay, well, I guess two experts in the room then. Then me and the corner. Thank you for thinking that 15 was in any way close in memory to me. So, what do you know? So, this is the sub-oddion note. This is where I try to guess what you, our lovely listener, might know about today's subject. And, well, I guess the Christie is the best selling fiction writer of all time. That's two billion books sold. Billion will be. She wrote such total bangers as murder on the orange express, death on the Nile, and then there were none. But with 73 novels to her name, it would be a herculeean task to name them all. That is a pun, sorry. And then, of course, there's the Telly and the Movies. Maybe you've watched the dazzling David Sushay play Detective Poirot on TV. Or Kenneth Branagh's enormous moustache play Poirot on film. Because let's be honest, the moustache did most of the acting. Perhaps you've thrilled at the recent Savagely Dark BBC TV adaptations written by Sarah Phelps. Or maybe you've seen the Maustrap in London's West End. Because it is the longest running play in theatrical history. 68 consecutive years until COVID ruined everything. We all know Christie's deliciously dark and deadly stories. But who was the woman behind the murder she wrote? Let's find out. Dr Lucy, can we start with the childhood? I'm going to guess, fairly cozy, fairly comfortable. She, I got the Christie is not yet, I got the Christie, but she is well to do, is that right? She was born into a family called The Millers in the very nice, very gentle seaside resorts of Turkey in Devon on the South Coast. And she had an unusual family. Because her father was this American, he had inherited wealth. So he was living the life of a gentleman of leisure on the English Riviera with Agatha's English mum. I say English, do you know there was an awful lot of foreign influence in this family. She had a German grandfather. So I think this is one of the things that makes Agatha a bit of an onlooker in British society right from the very start. Anyway, they lived in this big lovely house in Turkey and they had lots of money. Until they lost it all. Frittered away, the father was very good at shopping and not very good at earning. Ah, yes, that is a problem, isn't it? You can fritter if you're adding back into the... If you're replenishing, you can fritter away. Yeah, you can fritter and then replenish, but you can't just fritter and then... Fritter and flitter, it's not good. Yes, not no. Ah, dear. And siblings, Agatha are a lonely little child on her own, where she got brother's assistance. She was an afterthought. So there was a decades difference between her older sister and her older brother. So she had the kind of vibe of an only child. And she looked up enormously to her sister, whose name was Mache. And Mache was a writer and was really good at amateur dramatics. And altogether a very sort of pretty, witty, successful, intelligent person. Monty, I'm sorry to say, was a bad lot. Oh, a cat, a bander. A Roman. Yes, yes. Like quite a few characters at Agatha Christie's books. So why was he a wrong one? What did he do? I think that he bought into much, into the life of leisure and frittering away. Oh, the frittering? Another frittering, yes. Yes, he said the one thing that he didn't want to do with his life was work. And he said that he's made golden... I'm quite solidarity. And his goal in life was flirting and locking about. I'm warming to the guy. I... Monty, it sounds like an absolute A grade champ. As far as I can tell. OK, so Agatha has these two older siblings who aren't really in the picture because they've grown up and moved away. So Sue, how are you imagining the little girl Agatha Miller? Monty and Mache have gone. Monty's gone off frittering. Mache has gone off to a grace, a sort of amateur dramatics stage. So I'm imagining she... As you say, lived like an only child in her head. She was a created character and was very fanciful and occupied herself with stories and storytelling. And that's why I like to think of her. You're right. She was a great reader. She taught herself to read against the wishes of her mother. In fact, one day the Nanny said, I'm awfully sorry, man, but Miss Agatha has taught herself to read. So, OK, but they'll have to give her a nanny, but they won't give her the gift of literacy. That's really odd, isn't it? That's the Victorians. Yeah, well done. Keep the girls with them. Well, the trouble was that the older sister Mache, she had been educated. She was sent to boarding school. And when she came back from boarding school, she had all sorts of terrible ideas and light. She had thoughts. She had thoughts. And she also came back possessing sexual magnetism. Oh, wow. Yes. Really, you come back from boarding school with that. I mean, often it's sort of cold sore and some sort of... I don't know, athlete's foot, but sexual magnetism. Yeah. And the very worst thing that could happen to your daughter in the 1890s is that she could go to Cambridge. Oh, disgusting. I mean, honestly, the worst people go to Cambridge, right? So, absolutely the drags. So, okay, she had ideas. She had thoughts. She had sexual magnetism. And she was about to get a degree. Disgusting. Well, she wasn't allowed to go. She was put onto the marriage market instead. Yes. Where she did very well and snagged a very rich man with a very extensive country house. Okay. So, little agathor is at home alone with a very impressive sister to emulate. And it's slightly less impressive brother to emulate. You say the mother's not keen on the reading, the writing. But a kind mother? Well, kind is perhaps the wrong word. Oh. A very intense mother. Mm-hmm. Agatha in later life said that she felt that her mother had a sort of melancholy streak. She was someone who felt things very deeply. And Agatha and her mother, Clara, her name was, had this really deep, intense, almost spiritual relationship. Agatha describes having a feeling that they were in touch through ESP. Oh. Kind of thing. Wow. Okay. Okay. So the mother is not cruel and Victorian school mom sort of, you know, justising and... No. Possibly too loving, too clinging. Right. Perhaps. And a woman of great power. So we've established that Frederick the dad was a bit useless wasting the family fortune, et cetera. It was definitely this mother, Clara, who was the models center of the household and actually in charge of things. It's interesting for me if you look at Agatha's male relatives, they're all a bit useless. But it's her sister and her mother who are clearly role models to emulate. Yeah. But is the mom slightly using the, you can't get educated as a way of keeping the child in the house? Like, so she doesn't have empty nested in drones. So she's... Possibly, possibly that too. Yes. Yes. Her father did try to teach Agatha maths on the dining table after breakfast. And I really wish that he had persevered because Agatha described herself as being a natural mathematician. She said she would have liked to have done that as a job if she'd had a better education. And we will discover that counting and money will be her Achilles heel as we go on. Oh, okay. But then she wouldn't, if she'd gone into heavy maths, I'm trying to think of a career. An actuary, say. A scientist? If she'd been a commissary. It would have been crime writings lost. It would have been... It would have been a crime. A crime writing. Yeah. And we have also Agatha as a young person, her favourite drink. Is it need cream? And I say drink. It's sort of a food. It's sort of a drink. It's sort of... But this is something that sticks with her through life. So I get the idea here of a little girl who never really grows up. Maybe that's not fair. Neat cream. I mean, I could do a shot, but I couldn't. I couldn't drink the whole thing. Just one of those spray cans, just out of the fridge. I've done one of those. Okay. Well, all of her lives she never enjoyed the taste of alcohol. And if she wanted to celebrate her success, she had a glass of neat cream. Wow. This was happening into 70s, 80s. She did. 80s. And she always loved eating and drinking. It's one of the things I like about her. She had a great enjoyment of food. Once in a letter, she wrote, what is life without an orgy now and then? Wow. Wow. That woman after my own heart. Yeah. Bar the cream. Bar the heavy cream. The mist. Video woman after an orgy. Let's keep it light, people. It's okay. Right. But obviously we get the tragedy of the father dying. So we have the mother Clara, who's this very involved person, and loving, perhaps a little too constricting, the father dying. And that's tragic. And that leaves the family with not much money. Well, actually, that's not true. With quite a lot of money, but not enough money for their status. Is that right? That's right. When Agatha is 11, her father dies. And this is catastrophic on many levels, emotionally, but also financially, because now they're not able to live in the manner of the gentry, which is what they aspire to. And from this point on, you begin to see this streak in Agatha that today I feel might get you diagnosed with depression by your doctor. She talks about, from this point, having this recouvernt nightmare, which is the nightmare of the gun man. And in her dream, her mother turns into this stranger, a man who walks through the house with a gun and doesn't have a proper hand. His hand has been replaced by a weapon. And I think this is sort of stands for her mother having become a stranger in her bereavement and her grief. But it's interesting how it's that she can't see that her mother is now the authority figure. She has to make him into a man. But also it's framed immediately in that kind of violent criminal framework. And I think it's important for a crime writer, because in all of her stories, somebody in the plot appears to be nice and normal. Don't point at me. Yes, somebody that's like your mother, your friend, but really that person can sort of transform into a killer into a gun man. Oh my goodness. So they're assisting on 400 pounds per year, which now, of course, not enough, back then 10 times the annual salary. It's already a four-way now. So they're comfortable, but they feel the pressure, because obviously they feel like they should be living higher up. That takes us up to an interesting moment in, like there's a young life, which is her sort of debutante coming out to status. You know, the fact that I'm going to introduce her to the marriage market. And they can't afford the lavish version that Maj has had. So they're going to go for a budget option. So what is the budget option for a young Agatha Miller? Well, it's sausage rolls and down, a registry of this isn't it? But in terms of attracting, in terms of attracting the husband, is that what you mean? In terms of where do they go? Did they just go for a promenade? Did they just go to the beach and just basically just walk her up and down and someone says, all right, I'll take her off your hands. What would they do? So I guess you'd have a society ball if you had a lot of money, and you'd have all those sort of available young men turn up. I'm saying just some discrete house visits from an arranged marriage. That is what you would do on a budget. I feel like their budget's a bit bigger because they go to Lucy. Cairo. They get to Egypt. You made me think it was really low budget. Is that a thing at the time when you've spent all most of your money on getting a partner for your eldest? You just randomly take the second or third to Egypt. It's not random because in Cairo, there are British garrisons and a lot of British officers. And while she's there, she spends three months in Cairo. Agatha has to go to a dance five times a week. And I love the fact that this is almost like, um... That's work. Yeah, it's like work. You've got to put the hours in if you want to find a husband. So this is 1908. They've gone to Egypt. I mean, that's a year's salary for Clara. So they've blown the budget on this. Yes. Clara has dipped into savings to fund this trip to find her daughter, the right kind of husband, because that's obviously the goal of their lives. And I guess the idea is she'll meet and marry somebody so wealthy that it will save Clara at the same time. And the family's entire fortune will be restored. Monty can go back into the fold. It's all good. Yeah. Speculates to accumulate, that sort of thing. Yeah, and not only... I mean, the fascinating thing to me is that there's this joke about her being a very good dancer if only she could talk. It's a line that someone says. Which seems a little harsh. Well, Agatha Christie was, I believe if you'd met her, a shy person. She was reserved. And she describes how during these, the drudgery of the nightly dance in Cairo, she very slowly and painfully learnt to make small talk. But she was never good for this. It's one of the things that draws me to a shy person myself. I feel the pain. I feel the pain. We do. So, imagine this sort of chatty, witty, out there, vivacious one, and Agatha's more bookish perhaps. Well, I don't want to say totally nerdy, because she was tall and blonde and beautiful and very athletic. She was a really good swimmer. She liked wheel-ascating. A lot of people here. And not only is she out there trying to meet a fella, she's writing already. She's 18 years old. She writes her first novel, which is called What? It's called Snow Upon the Desert. And it's not a detective story. It's a kind of a Jane Austen type social satire that's basically laughing at all of these British as a board in Cairo. Posh people in the sun. Yeah. But the novel doesn't get picked up. But she does do quite well on the marriage market. How many engagement offers do you think young Agatha Miller gets from her Cairo, Sirjourn? I don't know, obviously, without the numbers of people attending the dance, and it's other same people going every night for five nights a week or a different crowd. I mean, that could really get, I would say seven. I'm going to go for seven. Yeah, it's not a bad guess. It's nine. Point of the fact, the nine offers included when she was back in England. Oh, OK. They were calling Cairo. So she's... I think she only got one in Cairo. Oh, is it a disaster then? Cairo's a failure. But she comes back with a turn. Is that what it is? What do you do in that situation where you've got nine offers? Do you sit down in an evening? If they've got a Victorian... What about... I try to think what the name of the... DeGero type. Yes, the thing that they've got. A DeGero type of all the... Yes, of all the suitors that they've got laid out. And they pick one. How do they do it? Well, they come one after another. So you can't sort of compare them all at the same time. Unless you get two at once, which is something that did. Oh, hello. Or the same night. No, she was... She was engaged to one when another one came along. She kind of had to choose between the two. And one of the engagements goes to Clara on behalf of Agatha. So one of the suitors says to Clara, I'd like to marry your daughter, but doesn't actually mention this to Agatha. To Agatha. And Agatha is really cheesed off about this. She wants to receive her own proposals. And then she gets rather efficient at getting rid of them. There was one young man who she turned down and she said, Look, I'm not going to marry you. And really, it's an awfully silly thing to go and propose to a girl like that. We've only known each other for 10 days. That's quite... She's very grown up, isn't she? She's very grown up, but I just think of that poor lad, you know? I know. Plucking up the courage and that she just bats him off like that. There's a degree of sort of self-possession there. I mean, she's just saying not only from writing the books, but the way that she's handling herself on this horrific sort of chiro-meet market. There's this wonderful strong core of self-belief at the heart of her. Yeah. Which we don't always see. It gets sort of attacked and trampled down by the world. But certainly she's a woman who knows what she wants. She's engaged and then suddenly another one comes along and she goes, actually, this one's better. So the first chap is... Is it Roger Lacey? Is that right? Redy Lucy? He doesn't really matter because he just disappears from the story. He's out. Yeah, yeah, he's... Okay, Redy Lucy. He's gone. She's at another ball back home at Devon this time when in walks the tenth man and he's incredibly hot and he's an aeroplane pilot. Yeah, that's fun. And on top of this, he buys a motorbike as well. Double hot. It's Tom Cruise. It's Maverick. It's basically Tom Cruise. Yeah, absolutely 1913. I was going to say, yeah, but it's first gen Maverick. It's not the second time around Maverick. They've literally just invented planes. Yeah, so beautiful. So 1913, his name is Archie. Archibald Christy. Gevernie known as Archie. Christy, good surname. And so he breaks the first engagement by his hot face and says, hey, come with me. Get on the motorbike and off we go. And I get them and says, yeah, all right. Absolutely. Bit of umming and earring and thinking about it. But when the war breaks out, he goes off to France. And when he comes back at Christmas, he's like, right, we've got to do it. I've seen things that make me think that we've got to do it. So he insists that the marriage is done and dusted in his Christmas leave of 1914. So the marriage starts with a war in the way, which is a bit tricky. The most important thing I think from Agatha is a crime writer is what she gets up to in World War I. Do you know? I don't. But it's so Languels is World II, isn't it? But presumably there's stuff going on for women. Are they co-opted in any way into the war effort? And they certainly get a little bit more free, do you imagine? Because the louder away, what I was going to say in trenches, but I don't think Archibald was necessarily trench based. But she's a bad VAD. She's a volunteer nurse. I know, yeah, yeah. She enters four years of this really strange time in her life when she's married, but not living with her husband, because he's in France. So she kind of goes on living a singleton's life and she volunteers to work in the hospital that's set up in the in the. Which is perfect, because this is where she learns about strict mean and asking all the things that become her stock and trade. Yeah, absolutely. And we get her first detective novel written soon after this. Is that, I mean, yes. She's working this hospital dispensary. And while she's waiting for the prescriptions to come in for her to mix up the poisons, she writes medicines. Yeah, very important. We say medicines at this point. And the death rate was very high. Yeah, yeah, yeah, medicines. Well, one of the things about poison that's fascinating, medicine that's fascinating is that you only need a little bit too much to take it from life saving to life ending. So it's kind of on the edge the whole time, isn't it? And she writes her first book that gets published, which is called The Mysterious Affair at Styles. And it features a death by poisoning. And it also features a young lady who works in a hospital dispensary. Yes. And it also features a certain detective, Sue. Well, this will be... Poirot. Poirot. Yeah. It's a key. It might be marple, but yes, it's poirot. That's right. And he is, I mean, for listeners who don't know, he's a Belgian. But that's again from the war, let's see. Sue, do you know this story? I don't know, but I'm presuming it's from sort of flanders or somewhere, you know, sort of round. I'm hoping that's in Belgium. Yeah, it's not so much to do with the war efforts to do with refugees. So, Hercules Poirot, he's representing... It's like a quarter of a million Belgian refugees who flee Belgium in the first world war. And they come to Britain, right? So, this is agatha again drawing on experiences and what's happening in society. But she's also writing against type. She's a huge fan of Conan Doyle. She loves Sherlock Holmes. She doesn't want to write a hero who leaps over things and is athletic and does karate. I think this is linked to the fact that she is a woman now living in a man's world, the world of the hospital, the world of violence and death and saving life as well. And she looks unfreatening, right? And yet she has so much to offer that you don't know at first glance. And the same as true of Hercules Poirot. There's even a joke in his name. You know Hercules. Yeah. It's a big, strong, classical hero. But Hercules, it's diminutive. It's camp, if you like. And everybody underestimates Poirot because he has a foreign accent. And he looks a bit sort of small and ridiculous with his moustache and he hasn't been to public school. Yes, he's always dismissed. He's always at least one character who's belittling him, who's making some observation about the way he speaks with the way he looks a little fat man. And he's not active. He's very passive, so he just recedes a lot of observes and then draws them together at the end like the master's sermon is. And I think this is a huge part of his appeal. I mean, everyone will say they like Poirot. But if you yourself are a bit of a geek or a nerd or a loner, then I find that people passionately love him for that reason. I love that you look to me there because you there. Let's be honest, geek and nerd. Sure. And with, you know, terms of professional success, she has a hit. She has a book that sells well. People are unaware of her as a writer. The fascinating thing actually is the editor of the book makes one key change to the story. Yes, she goes in and she says, look, I think I should call myself by a man's name. But he being a commercially savvy guy thinks, hang on. The war is over. The world is changing. The world is now ready for female writers. So he says, no, use your own name. Absolutely. Of course. He's a self agatha Christi. And also, of course, the famous scene at the end where Poirot was meant to solve the case. He does it in a courtroom. The editor says, I don't believe it. Yes. Yes, the problem was the original ending had, Poirot telling everybody what had happened and giving the whole case away from the witness box. And that's not legally, that would happen. That would happen. So she had to go away and rethink it. And she came up with this hallmark of the Christy world, which is solving the case in a domestic situation. In the lounge. In the library. In the lounge. So she's taking the story from the public, back into the world of women, the domestic world. Yes, because the drawing room is the sort of feminine space. It's safe. It's quiet. It's cozy. It's not a place where violence happens. And that action is basically saying, look, women are now in control of this genre. Get with it. Yeah, that's right. What I love as well is it's not a procedural, the sense that the police are there, but they're very much secondary, tertiary characters. It's more this little domestic scene of a strange man who comes to the house for tea and then observes everything and then draws them all together at the end for the revelation. It's really interesting. Disfascinating. And it's a hit book and that's obviously going to get her on the road to being a hugely successful writer. But in terms of her private life, the marriage with Archie Sauer is quite quickly. She's trying to be a housewife, but he quickly gets bored. He's off with his mistress. He's playing golf. He's away at the weekends. He's got a bit of a Monty. He's gone full Monty. Yeah. He's gone full Monty. And so I got the Christy, is now I got the Christy in terms of her writing, but she's actually already suffering the slightly lonely life of the housewife who's been neglected. Yes, one of the things I like about the bag of Christy's life is the way that she seems to stand in for the experience of so many other women in the 20th century. And Archie likes so many other men, couldn't really settle down after the war, after four years in France. And he got himself a job in the city. He didn't find it challenging. He took up golf. He got bored of his wife. They had a little girl by this boy, which is a key fact. And it's really hard to track this down through the archives, but there are hints that he was uncomfortable. It would have been surprising if he wasn't uncomfortable with the fact that his wife was being so professionally successful and earning all of this cash as well. She bought the house that they lived in. But his job takes him around the world, and he takes Agatha with him on this talk, because he works for a British Empire style, her way for the Empire type festival, and off they go on a huge tour, they go to Madira, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand. It's nine months. And once she's on the tour, she goes to Honolulu, where she discovers a new sporting passion. So do you know what it is? Well, I'd imagine it's Honolulu. I mean, I don't even want to say it, because I can't imagine it, but surfing? Yes, surfing. Yes, that's great. I love her. I love her. I love her. Oh, I love her. Carol Bunn, yeah. Absolutely. Catching some waves. Oh, that's amazing. Yeah, so as you say, she's sporty. She's athletic. She's modern in a lot of ways. And yet she is still kind of trapped in the conventional marriage of husband who plays golf and ignores her. But we also then get this sort of leap forward in her writing career, which is writing book after book after book after book and the 20s. And we get 11 books, I think it is, in 10 years, including some classic detective stories, some poetry, a novel, thrillers. She's bouncing between the genres, Lucy. She's trying to figure out what sells. Is that fair? In 1926, she publishes her absolute best book yet, The Murder of Roger Atcroix. And this just takes her upper level into the stress. Yeah. It's often vases as the greatest detective story ever written. Yeah, listeners, we're going to give a spoiler now because we have to take Agatha Christie seriously as a writer. So we have to talk about her techniques. So what is it about Roger Atcroix that is genre defining or genre breaking? I'm trying to remember which one it is now. It's a nice one. Is it... He's not... No, hang on, that's another one, none. Er... If I say unreliable narrator to you. Yes, of course. So Lucy, we have the narrator of the book who everyone is trusting as they read at all. Yes, he's the killer. Yes, it's like Dr Watson did it. It's that level of shock and surprise. Right. Yes, it's that sort of confessional end, didn't it? There's sort of basically sort of slowly changes key. And then there's this... Yeah, I remember now. Yeah. And this is not an original idea that Agatha has herself. This is an idea that's been sent in by two separate people but she executes it perfectly. That's the thing about her. Just readers ascending her insurgent. This is Lord Louis Mountbaton, who sends us the idea. He says, I think it'll be great if a doctor Watson type character. I'll tell you what, Greg. He claims that he sent in the idea. So does her brother-in-law. Yeah. And I think that all the guy called Agatha was thinking, oh, I'll let them think that. Do you think she's allowing it to happen? Yeah. Do you think it's guys just not allowing her to have her moment? They mansplained her in work too, man. They retroclaimed it. Yeah. Well, maybe that's true. Because that's a classic Agatha Christie thing, isn't it, too? Oh, yeah, just keep quiet. Hide under a bushel. But what's so important is that she executes the flawless writing. You have no idea what is happening until you, at the end, you go, oh, my, what, he did it. And that's the first time that we've had a non-reliable narrator in... Well, it's a text that's always a very young genre at this point, isn't it? It's a technique that goes back to 18th century novels. But it's the execution of the idea in this context. OK. So, it's also in the context of in the 20s. Writers are coming up with what they call the rules of detective fiction. They're even codified in a kind of a joky way. And some people get crossed because they think this is a breach of the rules. Oh, really? Yeah. I've read those rules. Oh. I tell you why I've read those rules. When my dad passed away, I wanted to... We were unsure whether his dad was really his dad. And I wanted to write a detective story finding out. Because weirdly, I looked up the rules of detective fiction. And one of them is no twins. Yes. Oh. My dad's an identical twin. Oh. And then I said to my mum, well, I'm going to do this. I'm going to find out because you cut a lock of his hair when he passed away. And she went, no, you did. And then I went, no one really, I bought an array of things. It was just really fascinating. I never got around to it in the end because we found out through lots of other means that he was not illegitimate as he thought. But I remember reading those rules and thinking, oh, the first thing I want to do is play with those. That's fascinating. OK. So there are hard and fast rules already. And I get there is breaking them. Well, that's arguable, you see. Yeah. Some people thought that she'd broken the rules. And that sort of gets her in the public imagination a kind of a tinge of duplicity trickiness. But she said, no, I gave you all the information you needed. And other writers like Darfiel says, spoke up for her and they said, no, it was all fair. And the next part of the story really is the most famous thing. The most scandalous thing in some ways is the vanishing of Agatha. And I think we're going to leave this for now because I think Lucy's going to cover it in the nuance window. But what we'll say is that there is a huge scandal in this period where Agatha becomes a celebrity for the wrong reasons because she vanishes. Vanishes. The late 11 days. We get then this successful writer who divorces her husband. She moves on from Archie. He's been cheating on her. He's been playing golf inverted commas with a young lady. And so how does Agatha get over Archie? So this is 1928, by the way. Well, I know she marries again. So she could quickly move on as a way of... Yeah....getting her revenge. Yeah. Or she could just sell a shedload more books and enjoy her time, briefly, as a very successful single woman. But I'm not sure how counts that would be in the late 20s. I don't know. Well, it's another adventure. I mean, so it's not Honolulu surfing, but it is another trip. Does she go base jumping in New York? So she goes... Does she want to dig? Because I know how she goes in a... So where would she probably gone back to... To... to... pretty gone back to Egypt or somewhere. I just go on a... It's a good guess. She goes back to Egypt later, doesn't she? But at this stage, it's Iraq. At the time, there was this archaeologist called Mr. Wolley, who was excavating the ancient city of Er. And it was super famous. This was the archaeological sensation that everybody wanted to go to see. So she heard good things about it. And she decided that she was going to travel there on the Orient Express and see the thing for herself. Oh! Yeah. Wow. And so it's Catherine and Charles Wolley, the sort of celebrity archaeology pair. And their assistant is called Max. Max Malowan, who's just a young man. He's 14 years younger. He's dark. He's quiet. He's kind of diligent. Gets almost stuff. And the key thing is he's safe. You know, never going to play golf. Yeah. But hit it off. Yes. Of course, since she was divorced, she's rich, she's famous, she's successful. She's had all of these men hitting on her. And I think she kind of relaxes into a friendship. With him. Because he doesn't appear to be at all threatening. And he respects her brain. Because he also has academic aspirations of his own. But he has to convince. He has to convince her. Yeah. And to get to Agatha, he has to get to the daughter too, in terms of convincing. Because Rosalind holds some cards here. Young Rosalind. So how does Max, this kindly nice clever man, convince a young daughter that he would be a good stepfather? He'd protect him all of the trip or knee, or he'd reassure her in some way. By, he'd entertain her in some way, or give her a skifter something, or pay for something close to her heart. Hey, good. You're on the money, Lucy. Well, there's a fabulous letter, which Agatha writes to Max, saying Rosalind, the daughter, has found out about the proposal. And she will give her consent to the marriage. If you send her by return, two dozen toffee lollipops from Selfridges. Oh, that's marvelous. Please tell me she was sort of 21 at the time. No, she was little, but that's brilliant. She was a levelian. I'm 40. I can easily be per- I'm a toffee apple. You bring those in and I am yours. I will do whatever you want. You're all right. Max sent her 26 for luck, which is good. So he's 26 toffee apples, and Rosalind says, yep, I'm signing off on this. That's fine. You can get married. All good. So on newlyweds, they have an age gap. So Agatha is 39, but she's lying about her age. Now, this is all very complicated, because they put false ages down, because they want to reduce what's this really countercultural age gap between them. And the reason I have some respect for them as a couple is because it was like Mrs. Fatcher and Dennis Fatcher. He had to put up with the fact that she was always the queen of crime and was younger and had less money and all of that. And this makes me a bit sad. She kind of got around this by worshiping him, holding him up to the world as this fantastic man who was so clever. And she was sensitive to his feelings of inadequacy. And that she perhaps overcompensated or... They were a couple that worked, but they were an odd couple. And I like that. Yeah, they're an odd couple, but a warm couple. And it's going to be a very successful marriage, which is a beautiful thing. By the 30s, Agatha is a rock star in terms of her needs in stardom and books and output. And she's rich now, like properly rich. She's onto a second husband, but she calls it her Plutacratic period. Oh, that's marvelous. Yeah. Wow. I'd love one of those. Yeah. Do we have any metric of how wealthy she was at the time? Ooh, this is always murky stuff, because it's still at the buying power of other than that. Exactly, yeah. Money. But enough to own eight houses? Wow, OK. Yeah, yeah. The thing was she was publishing her novels, and that's what we think of her doing. But these novels were serialised in the newspapers. And I think people don't realise what a sort of journalist she was in that sense, writing very quickly, to order sometimes. And then the books were published in America, and they were serialised in the American newspapers too. So it was going, boof! What she was perhaps not doing as she should have done is keeping the records and paying the tax. Yes. And the 1930s, not only is it a time of great lavishness for her. She's buying these gorgeous houses, and she loves doing them up. She loves interior design and all that. But creatively, she's so fertile in the 30s, in terms of the book. I mean, the ABC murders, murder on the Ornette Express, murder in the Vicarage, the first Marple, we get Murder and Mesopotamia, which I guess is... Sessin, yeah. Sessin, there are. You know, really, we're now into the kind of golden age of Agatha Christie as the crime writer. Golden age for Agatha Christie, and it's also generally known as the golden age of crime fiction, although today you always put a footnote and say apart from the racism and the sexism, you can pass it over to the rest of us. And Rosalind, therefore, is slightly packed off to boarding school, is that fair? Yes, Agatha Christie was a single working mum, basically, for her daughter's childhood. And one of the things that, you know, you'll often hear it said, Agatha Christie, was a bad mother, simply kid after boarding school. But the kid will learn sexual magnetism. Ah! That's very true. That's very true. That's good. Yeah, because, yes, because she wasn't present in the way that her own mother had been and... Except, except, except, except. I don't personally think there's such a thing as a bad mum. There were mums who have good days and mums who have bad days. And what Agatha did was admit that the bad stuff happened, and she wrote about it. So people, you know, they remember that. Sure. They remember the negative stuff. So Rosalind's off to boarding school, and then to Paris, a sort of finishing school in Paris. And then, you know, classic, obviously, we've got an archaeologist here, so I'll make the analogy, but as with Indiana Jones, the Nazis ruin everything. World War II has begun. And World War II is an incredibly interesting time for Max and Agatha in terms of relationship, because the blitz is happening. And she has the lovely eight houses. And suddenly, the houses go to... They get bombed. They get bombed, and they're sure they get given to various coast guard and military units and school boy A back-u-E's to sort of live in. And she's going to go and live in the blitz. She moves into the blitz. She does, because she takes a job. And she always had this great sense of public service, and she took a job at the London University College Hospital, and she went back to the dispensary. Back to the Poisons? Yes. She's straight back to Streckman. Yeah. And Max, meanwhile, is in Cairo. So he's in the war zone, because Cairo's going to be under attack from Rommel, and she's in the blitz. I mean, she's literally been bombed. She's killing to the blitz, catch her, so yeah. But she moves into a very famous building called the Isacon Building. Oh, which I... On Lawn Road. Yeah. The Lawn Road, so obsessed with it. Yeah, I love the design that came out. Yeah, it's an incredible building. Architecturalism, modernism. Yeah, it's got a sort of central cafeteria. I love it, because it's full of Russian spies. The KGB and the fact that there were various sort of departments sent spies in it, to the point that the Russians are spying on themselves, because they don't really know if there are so many spies in the net from different departments. That's my philosophy. So it's Magatha Christie, various artists, and loads of Russians. She's writing through the war, and she's writing like an absolute 100 miles an hour writing, isn't she? She's not getting on well without Max. He was an essential support, and he's off serving in North Africa. So one of the ways in which he keeps herself... On something like an even keel, although it's very rocky, is producing a huge number of books. So, I mean, you're a writer. I don't know what a good day would be in terms of work, how? Oh, I mean, a good day is actually doing some writing. I mean, I have terrible intention issues, and yeah. But a concept of a magician, how? She must be turning up two years at this stage. OK. Plus stuff, poems and essays, and as you say, stuff to order. So for me, a good day of writing 3,000 words. That's an amazing day. Agatha Christie, 17,000 words a day for three days straight. She writes a book in three days. It's 54,000 words long. She's almost like a few states when she's doing it. Yeah, I mean, she's... Do we know if she's plotted before? If she... Do we know the style of writing? Is she... She's got it all in the memory bank, and then she just runs it out. I go, this particular book, she says it was the book that she'd wanted to write all of her life. She'd been planning it. She'd been building up to it. And there's little glimpse of her at work like a demon for the three days. I think it's really important, because we'll learn that when she's had her confidence knocked by the mystery that we're going to come back to, after that point, she never liked to talk about her technique. She'd like to downplay the fact that she was a professional writer. But in this moment, when she produces a book in three days, we catch her taking herself seriously. And she did describe writing as a time when she felt close to God. There was something really sort of spiritual about that. Extatic, or... She's in flow, probably in flow in that time. And what's interesting is this book is called Absent in the Spring, and it's not an agatha Christie. She writes under a pseudonym. Do you want to guess the pseudonym? What would your pseudonym be? Er... Wait, to put it up good, the book is. I mean, if it was good, I'd have something that you'd fancy what was bad, I'd just melgedro, it's probably a really annoying album. Er... Is it... She's still... She doesn't use a masculine non-deployment. No, it's still a woman. It's still a lady author. A lady author. Okay, and it's... Can I ask what the genre of the book is? It's not a crime. Is it romance? It's an interesting question, because conventionally, these are said to be romance-sits. But I don't like that name for them. I think if they were published today, you might well call them Listerary Fiction. Yeah. Kind of women's box. Does she use her mother's maiden name? Ah, close, yes. Yeah. Clear? Not quite, Lucy. It's Mary Westmacott, which is her own... I've heard of that. I've heard of it. Now you said that's wrong about where in Westmacott? It's a mash-up of family names, basically. Yeah, and that's classic aggr-pacrystically drawing from her own life. Slightly twisting, so you don't realise it's her. Mm. She's writing this feverish book. She's nearly bombed out. I mean, her street is bombed, isn't it? The Isocon building is nearly bombed. Then the war ends and Max returns home safely and... And hooray, good for that. And Rosalyn has also had a real tragedy. Her husband has died, doesn't she? Super sad, yes. Her husband had died after 18 months, I think, of marriage. It's after the day, isn't it? He'd gone into Northern France and left Rosalyn with a little baby boy. Matthew. Matthew, that's correct. Yeah, that's correct. So Agatha's grandma kind of rolls up her sleeves and gets to work and helps out to bring up the baby. She even cooks the dinner and slightly later on, maybe Matthew acquires a nanny. And the nanny's relatives say one day, oh yes, they'd like a writer called Agatha Christie. And then he says, oh, I know Agatha Christie. She's our cook. Really? Nice, good thought. Oh, good for Agatha Christie, though, mucking in. So Rosalyn's new husband's called Anthony Hicks and he sort of becomes head gardener at Agatha's favourite home, which is called Greenway, which you've been to since. I have. I was doing a documentary and we went there. And the National Trust was in the process of removing all of the furniture on that day in order to stop it falling down. Riffurbish it. Yeah. And I had this like, sainted day, this glorious sunshine looking at the river. It's unbelievable. And these amazing plants, because the Victorian plantsmen have gone off and sort of gone to Yunnan or where they'd gone, brought back these amazing things. And they were in full tilt and it was just, it's an amazing house. She had taste that woman. Yeah. She was a realtor. Well, we have these lovely letters of her being so excited to buy sort of chest of drawers and wardrobes. She really loves going shopping for things she doesn't need. She doesn't. And the way this fits into the 20th century more broadly is that this is the 1950s, which people think of as the age of the happy homemaker. And this is the one time in her life when Agatha Christie lets up a bit on the work in order to have the pleasure of decorating and going shopping mad and refurbishing Greenway. And I think Greenway's her favourite home probably. It's also probably today where the fans might go as a bit of a pilgrimage. But also this decade, the late 50s into the 60s, it's when the movies and TV shows start to happen. The Agatha Christie sort of transferred to the screen. Well, there's two things that have happened really and it's interesting that you didn't even say. There's the age of her as a playwright. Yeah, well. She was the queen of the West End and people have really forgotten that today. Of course. She's a novelist, but before the films come, the Maus trap and witness for the prosecution, which are both going to be performed in London tonight. And I think it's fair to say that she's history's most performed female playwright. But the Maus trap is 1958 and it until COVID came along was the longest running play in the history of the world. And I think it was racking up nearly 30,000 performances before COVID. Still nobody knows how it ends. Everyone's kept saying, you might, I'm not saying that. But we get 1961, the first MGM movie. And then they start to sort of churn them out and we end up with her murder on the Orient Express, which I think is like the biggest ever smashed in 1974 in the British box office. But we also get the tax crisis because in the 70s and 60s, like, because the tax rate is 83% for top rate. And so Agatha gets some... That's not true. She gets some tax issues, Lucy. Yes, the reason that she sells the rights to make films of her books to MGM studios. She doesn't want to do this because she won't be in control, right? And we've established that she's a control freak. The reason she does this is partly because she's run up these massive, massive back tax bills going right back to the 1930s. And members of her family say, look, become a tax exile. But she doesn't want to do that. She sort of feels like she has to keep on working. But she's got such an ambivalent mixed up attitude because, as we know, also, her work is really important to her for her mental health. OK, so 51% of her rights are sold. That clears the tax bill. And also, I suppose there's an element there that she's got all these people around her who orbit her. I mean, she's a superstar. So she must have agents and managers and editors and people who need her to keep writing books so they can have their nice homes. It's true. And one thing that's quite cool is that she gets the company to buy her a Rolls-Worst. Oh, OK. And that's nice. Agatha Christie just showing up in the rolls. Hello. That's sweet. She deserves that. She can write a book in three days. I don't know anything she wants. Yeah. I mean, that's absolutely astonishing work rate. And as you say, you know, the theatre radio plays, novels, the Mary Westman-Cock books. This is a prodigious output of quality work. And I think some would say her work slightly reduces in quality towards the end of her life. Some would say it's just a little bit harsh. But I think the thing is that she's just incredibly rich and fertile in her ability to just tell stories. But she does, sadly, of course, die in the end in 1976. She's 85. It's been a long and happy life. Does Max survive her? He does. He's with her when she dies. He was pushing her in her wheelchair into the drawing room just after lunch. And he was by her side where he'd been since 1930. Wow. And he couldn't live alone. He did quite quickly get married to a family friend. He was one of those people who couldn't survive being not part of a couple. That's OK. 46 years of marriage. There's no judgment there. No, absolutely not. And so in total, I think we've got 73 novels, 30 plays for Stage TV Radio, 26 collections, three books of poetry and autobiography in two volumes, which was published after her death, which is interesting. She had also put a couple of her... I think she put a couple of novels in a safe during the war in case she was killed as a future pension plan for the family. So at the end of her life, there is this sort of commemoration in the West End. They dim the lights in the West End on the night that she dies to. Yes, for the Maustrap and also the other play that was running then, which was the murder of the Vicarage. Yeah. So she became a bit of institution. She is an institution. I feel like she's part of the wallpaper in the back of a lot of British people's minds. And they don't realise quite what an interesting... quite slightly mix. Yeah, yeah. Counter-cultural figures she wants. Yeah. And she'd also given a farewell for her famous character, Poirot. So she had these two great detectives, Marple and Poirot. Curtin. Is it? Curtin, I say his final novel where he dies and in knowledge of the incredible stature of the character, the New York Times gave him an obituary. On the front page. From page obituary, for a fictional character. It never happened before. It's a very sad and poignant farewell, isn't it? But this is so long. But she'd created these two brilliant characters, both of whom are detectives who are always underappreciated. You know, Marple is little old lady who everyone ignores, a cute Poirot, a Belgian foreigner who everyone ignores. There's her sense there that she liked to write quite some versibly. But also, I think ending him in a way kind of still gives her control. So that he's not sort of boundless in the public's imagination. There's a sort of finite point to which he reaches so that she gets to sort of, yeah, all for that and could tell any sort of possible sequels without her consent. That's interesting. You'll stay right. And the reason that her autobiography was only published after her death is that she didn't really want to publish it. The reason she was working on it was so that her agent could say, when people said, can I write Mrs. Chrissy's biography, he could say, no, she's writing her own. I mean, to see you, obviously, you read all those novels when you were 1415. Yes. And this was a long time ago. A long time ago. But I wanted to ask you, why do we love Agatha Chrissy novels so much? Because on the face of them, they are full of cruelty and violence and deceit. And they are subversive and they are threatening. Yes. And equally, they're also, I mean, I imagine if I read them now, they would also be challenging in the sense that they represent very old-fashioned and sometimes un-palsable kind of tropes. But for me, the reason they endure is they ask something of the reader. You know, you're very much brought in as, can you do this? Can you work this out? She's always very clear that it's been laid out, that everything is there to find. However, that's sort of very, very hidden. But also, she earns, I think, the right for you to sort of schlep through some perhaps not-so-good ones, because she has genuinely written three or four books, which have plots so masterful and game-changing that people endlessly want to recreate them in film and television, you know, orient Express, and then they were non, as you were saying, the merger of Roger Acroid, they're all game-changing sort of Rubik's Cube twists in the way that people view the crime novel, I think. Yeah. And there are elements of her writing, which we now find very shocking, you know, racism, anti-Semitism, the use of the N word. But there are also a lesbian couple at the heart of a book. Yes, just after the war in a murder is announced, there is a same-sex couple living happily in the village, nobody bats an eyelid. And she, you can see as she gets older, you can see her own attitudes slowly changing, things, she's gradually liberalizes her views on, say, people from Iraq, who develop into characters more in some of the later books. And if you read them purely as entertainment, then yes, they come with a health warning. But if you're reading them as a historical as source, or as a great work of literature, like Dickens or Shakespeare, then you're going to be prepared for the fact that these are views of the world in the past. But you want to window! Well, it's time now for the New Ones window. This is where Sue and I drink gallons of neat cream. We allow Dr Lucy to talk for two uninterrupted minutes to tell us something that we need to know about Agatha Christie, and the famous vanishing, which is a very famous story, but I think Lucy, you'd like to re-contextualise it and look again. And a quick content warning, listener, this will mention self-harm. So if that's not something you want to hear, then skip ahead to the quiz. Okay, Lucy, my stopwatch is ready. Take it away. In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days, and she was discovered living under a false name in a hotel in Harrogate, and at the time, and since the time a lot of people will tell you that she did this, I have it to get publicity for her books, or to frame her cheating husband with having murdered her. And this is often still spoken off as a mystery, because people got set caught up in this event at the time that was in all the newspapers. The sad truth is that she explained exactly what had happened in an interview to the Daily Mail. So it's not a mystery at all. The thing is, people didn't want to hear what she had to say, because it was distressing, it was difficult to hear. She said that after her husband's betrayal, she began to experience suicidal thoughts, and she made an attempt on her life, she tried to crash her car that night in December, 1926. And after that, she went into what's called a fugue state, which is where you set aside your normal self and your trouble and your trauma, and you adopt a kind of different imaginary persona. So when she was in Harrogate, this at the time was a place of health and medical treatment, and an obvious place for her to go, she was living under a false name to protect herself from the reality of her situation. So the mystery of what happened in the 11 days isn't a mystery at all. Agatha was really ill, and she was doing what she could to make herself better. I just found that really awful, that a woman of that time, and perhaps still of this time, society around her finds it more palatable to create this sort of dangerous dark mythology around her than accept that women are very, very damaged as our men, but unfaithful, unhappy, difficult, and traumatic relationships. Because it was published in no order to see it, it was it had to come with this sort of corona of sort of mystery and intrigue. No, it's just basic human emotions, and she was just sad and tired and messed up, and it makes me very, very sad for her, because that sort of disassociation of personality must have been caused by years of trauma and grief and pain. And part of the historical context was that we're just after World War I. If people had heard of Fugue State, it was because they'd heard about soldiers going into this state, shell shock, it was called, but that was associated with shirking, right? So when she did come out and say, I was in a Fugue State, I lost my memory, people thought, oh yes, we know all about that then. Yeah, Caledis, it's the idea of, you know, stepping up. Yeah, it's very sad, isn't it? And it's really fascinating, and your book goes into much more sort of richly, if people want to read it, they should. So what do you know now? It's time now for our quiz. This is a So What Do You Know Now? Let me have our Quick Five Quiz. Ten questions for Sue. Sue, are you feeling the pressure? I am now, actually, yes. Oh, I'm sorry, but we've had a lovely chat, so let's spoil it now with a quick five quiz. Sorry, the format demands it. Listen, I understand. Procedure is, as it must be. Okay, so we have ten questions. Here we go. Question one. What was Agatha Christie's mother called? Clara. What's Clara? Question two. What was Agatha's favourite drink? Through childhood and adulthood? Nick Cream? Oh, yeah. Question three. Who was Agatha's daughter with her first husband Archie? That was... What, I'd never name, I'd never name, I'd never name, I'd never begin. Rosalind, yes. Yes, very good. Question four. Where did Agatha volunteer during the First World War? She volunteered at the University College Hospital, where she went in the dispensary. That's the Second World War. First World War? She was at the dispensary again. Yes, she talked to you. She talked to you, yeah. I'll let you have that. Question five. Which puro mystery released in 1926 caused controversy with its unreliable narrator? The murder of a rat crater? Yes. Question six. Where was Agatha Christie eventually found after her disappearance in 1926? In Harrogate. Question seven. What pseudonym did Agatha Christie use to write a series of novels during the 1930s and 40s? Merry Westpacock. Yeah. Question eight. Well, Agatha and her first husband actually were traveling in Honolulu. What sport did she discover? Surfing, dude. Oh, yeah. Question nine. Why did Agatha sell 51% of her Agatha Christie limited company to book a books? Because she had a massive tax bill. Massive tax bill. And this for a perfect ten. Agatha Christie died in 1976. How was she commemorated in the West End that night? They dimmed the light. They did. Ten out of ten. Never end out. Superkins. Honestly. Extraordinary stuff. Thank you so much. So, I'd like to say a huge thank you to our guests in History Corner. We have the murderously magnificent Dr. Lucy Wurzley. Thank you, Lucy. You charmer. Any comedy corner, we have to fatal funny superkins. Thank you so. Pleasure. Love death. And to you, lovely listener. Join me next time as we apply our little grey cells to another historical mystery. But for now, I'm off to go and order a giant crate of Toffee Loddy Pops. Mmm. Bye. Your dead to me was a production by the Athletic for BBC Radio 4. The research was by Jessica Honey. This episode was written by Jessica Honey, Emmy Rose Price Goodfellow, Emma Negose and me. And was produced by Emma Negose and me. The assistant producer was Emmy Rose Price Goodfellow. The project manager was Isla Matthews. And the audio producer was Steve Hanky. Hello, I'm Lucy Wurzley. And I want to tell you about Lady Killers from BBC Radio 4. It's a program that mixes true crime with history, but with a twist. With our all-female team of experts, I am re-examining the crimes committed by murderesses in the past. Through the eyes of 21st century feminists. What can we learn from these women? And would it be any different today? Lady Killers. Listen first on BBC Sounds. Kanye was just more going to make it happen. He was one of them. People that I knew was going to win grandies. You know, no one man can sustain or should have to even try to sustain that much about. I think what I'm just trying to say is it's so much bigger than Kanye. On an all-new season of making from WBEZ Chicago, the rise and fall of Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West. Listen wherever you get your podcasts.