The market town of Wallingford in Oxfordshire is planning a Murder Mystery Weekend on 09 and 10 September 2023, celebrating its famous former resident, Dame Agatha Christie – who lived here for 42 years (1934 to 1976) – with the unveiling a life-size bronze of the internationally acclaimed author.
The statue, to be revealed at noon on Saturday, 09 September, will kick off a fun-packed weekend of Murder Mystery events and activities throughout the town.
Commissioned by Wallingford Town Council and funded by an Arts Grant, the Bronze shows The Queen of Crime seated on a bench overlooking The Kine Croft Park as if drawing inspiration for her next novel.
Figurative sculptor Ben Twiston-Davies, who also designed the Agatha Christie sculpture ‘The Book’ in London, sees the statue as a ‘testament to the power of imagination’, and there are many intriguing details to captivate those who pause to sit next to her.
The bench is positioned against the backdrop of Wallingford Museum, where visitors will discover a permanent Christie exhibition with correspondence and pictures from the time she spent living here inconspicuously beside the Thames.
The Murder Mystery Weekend Celebrating Agatha Christie sees a host of creative events to entertain the local community and visitors alike. The full schedule and booking information will be available online over the coming weeks with an initial line-up that includes:
- Immersive Murder Mystery Experiences on the steam-powered Bunkline – a train service which Christie used – organised by the Cholsey & Wallingford Railway.
- A programme of free Murder Mystery films at a pop-up Open-Air Cinema in Wallingford’s historic Castle Gardens.
- A themed talk by Christie expert, historian, and author Lucy Worsley at the Corn Exchange Theatre, home of the Sinodun Players, the local amateur dramatics society of which Christie was President.
- Shuttle rides on the Bunkline train between Wallingford and Cholsey to visit Christie’s Grave at St Mary’s Church, Cholsey.
- Guided walking tours led by volunteers from Wallingford Museum, re-tracing the town’s links to Agatha and including a glimpse outside her former home, Winterbrook House.
- Exhibitions at Wallingford Museum include ‘At Home with Agatha Christie’ detailing her personal letters, work with archaeologist husband Max Mallowan, and their home life at Winterbrook House; and The Midsummer Murders connection – Wallingford was the original ‘Causton’.
- A Murder Mystery-themed supper at the Five Little Pigs restaurant, named after Christie’s Poirot novel, with a specially created Killer Cocktail.
Councillor Steve Beatty, who heads up the project for Wallingford Town Council, said: “It is fitting that Wallingford has a permanent tribute to Agatha Christie, and we hope that the town comes together for a weekend of celebrations”.
The Thameside Market Town in Wallingford, South Oxfordshire, with a population of approximately 11,600, dates from Saxon times. William The Conqueror crossed the Thames there in 1066 and was responsible for building Wallingford Castle, which survived until the Civil War in 1652.
Today it’s possible to explore the Castle ruins and meadows and walk the picturesque Thames Path or The Ridgeway, which crosses through the town and up into the surrounding Chiltern Hills.
There is a thriving local community, clubs, societies and an active annual programme of events, including Britain’s largest free festival, Bunkfest.
Wallingford also has an array of independent stores, antiques, restaurants, pubs, cafés, and tea rooms. See the Wallingford Town Council website for a full programme of events and details of what to do and where to stay.