Does the Agatha Christie Society UK still exist?

Almost two decades ago I borrowed an AC novel from the library. In it I found the adress of The Agatha Christie Society in London. I wrote a letter to become a member but unfortunately it was returned  with a note of the Postal Services in the UK saying something about the adress not being correct. After that I never tried again. I wonder if the Society still exists or maybe has been moved to a different adress.  


  • adminadmin Cuanza Norte, Angola
    As far as we know The Agatha Christie Society in the UK sadly no longer exists.
  • shanashana Paramaribo, Suriname
    @admin : so sorry to read that. 
  • Dr.SheppardDr.Sheppard Oxford, UK
    Hi Shana

    Individuals that ran the Agatha Christie Society do still meet and chat via a closed group on Facebook. The question of restarting the Society came up recently and some of us would like to do just that. The question is the format; the thought is that it would be a 'magazine' available to members via the internet, free of charge (no cost to members), but what would be the content? We would not want to do it just for our closed group, but make it available to a wider audience. If there was a real demand for it, then there is the passion to get it going again.

    What would you (and others) want from being a member of the Agatha Christie Society?
  • shanashana Paramaribo, Suriname
    @ Dr. Sheppard, I got your message and quickly came alooking on the forum.
    It shocked me that in the country of her birth,  AC has no organization uniting her fans from all over the world and making her work known to new readers.Those are two things I'd want from the ACS.
    The list can go on from there, whatever the members should decide. 
    The more knowledgeable under the members could very well write up the content of the proposed e-magazine; analyzing and discussing certain subjects out of AC's work, and most importantly drawing a clear conclusion.
    It would be nice to give new members an introduction in all things AC through a standard format. It must not be overlapping with what the website and this forum have to offer, but rather complimenting it. Maybe focus more on the groups of fans everywhere, and helping them to organize events in other counties other than the UK. US and Canada. Hope this helps Dr. Sheppard.
  • Dr.SheppardDr.Sheppard Oxford, UK
    Hi Shana

    Thank you for your response.

    Currently the Agatha Christie Group number 37 and represent ideas from Australia, UK, USA, Canada, Brazil, Tasmania, Netherlands, Germany and Italy. They are passionate about AC and staying true to her work, but as you can imagine, chat about all sorts of things. Quite a few would be willing to share items for a society magazine, but it is the content that may be the stumbling block. As I was one of the early members I still have all 35 copies of the Christie Chronicle magazines, but as a paper issue I'm not sure that the same format would work with a web based edition. Times have moved on and people expect more from something they find on the internet.

    I will take your ideas on board and put them in the melting pot. 
  • shanashana Paramaribo, Suriname
    @Dr. Sheppard, thats why I mentioned an e-magazine. I agree that if there should be a magazine it should not be a paper one.

    It would be interesting to look into one of those Christie Chronicles though.

    37 members only? Are those who stuck it out? I do hope the original number of members was a much bigger number.

    By the way,on the internet I found  an AC Society with an PoBox adress in New York, USA. Are you familiar with it Dr. Sheppard?
  • Hi Shana 

    I have been re-reading items published in the Christie Chronicles and hopefully can answer your question on the New York Agatha Christie Society.

    The first annual Society gathering outside of the UK was on 22-24th September 2000 in New York. This was followed by an announcement in the Christie Chronicle ‘Winter’ 2000 #28: due to costs it was decided that the Chronicle operations would be transferred to a New York and Kate Stine would be the new Editor. However, Christie Chronicle ‘Fall’ 2001 #35, states that the society was to close with immediate effect. The Internet was the way forward with development of the Christie web site.

    So, as far as I know the New York Society no longer exists, that was also implied by two New York Facebook friends.

    NB: the society had almost 300 members, if I recall correctly.

  • shanashana Paramaribo, Suriname
    So do I understand correctly? This website has replaced the the AC society?
  • shana said:
    So do I understand correctly? This website has replaced the the AC society?
  • shanashana Paramaribo, Suriname
    Ok, then @Dr.Sheppard the AC newsletter replaced the Christie Chronicles I assume.  So why doesn't your closed chat group of X-Society members get it"s content published in the current AC newletter?

    So far the newsletter mainly gives us news about activities around Ac"s birthday celebrations, film adaptations and activities like plays, interviews around the world etc. I miss the articles the website old style offered where certain AC subjects were discussed in depth and in a comprehensive piece.
    As things stand now, one has to follow certain discussion threads where a lot is being said, very often not very much to the point, and then has to piece it all together to get a good understanding.

  • shanashana Paramaribo, Suriname
    @Dr. Sheppard,  anything happened on this subject?. After months I am visiting the forum again. I see there is a thread where @Tuppence as an administrator is asking what members want to see discussed on this forum. Is this part of the exercise you are involved with?
  • Forgive me if I misunderstand, Shana, but it seems that, amongst other things, you are saying, as I am, that feature articles about Christie would be interesting to read on the website. I surmise, from what I am observing and reading, that the problem might be that a paid researcher and in-house writer has not been appointed to work for the website, so, therefore, there is no one to do this. If the website serves also as a magazine, then it ought to have creative writers filling copy as well as an editor commissioning articles and stories, and also supplying a voice and acting as a  figurehead who is accountable for the content, tone and style of the publication. Currently, the fresh content on the website is principally being supplied, in the run of things, by  random fan posts coming from different directions and on different subjects, sometimes linking in to the posts of other fans, sometimes not,  and, also, there are  factual notices about forthcoming events. In terms of summation, summing up, in all its forms, there is nowhere more apparent as a good place for this to happen than in the 'Write a Christie story' section. There is no proactive direction of this forum  feature, alas, with the result that it ebbs and flows, rears its head and disappears, as if directing itself. The notion that a novel will ever get written,  by a dispersed readership,  acting together in partnership, would seem, at the current time, to be hopeful in the extreme - and yet the feature remains a stalwart of the members section of the website.
  • Dr.SheppardDr.Sheppard Oxford, UK

    @shana. There has been no progress on the topic of an AC Society resurrection here in the UK. When I last spoke to a member of AC Ltd they did not see the need, I think they thought they were going to have to get involved and currently they would not want to put any resource behind it. For the ‘Society’ to become official, it would need to have the support of AC Ltd and their blessing. To do anything else there would be a problem in using the patented name of ‘Agatha Christie’. I see from the threads, there is ‘Official Agatha Christie Appreciation Society’, which have been meeting for 25 years in North-eastern Pennsylvania, USA. (See Facebook). I feel that this website is there to promote AC’s books and sales products, the fact that there is a ‘discussion forum’ for fans to communicate is part of history and of no interest to the owners of the website.

    I think you have got to ask, how many fans would be interested in an AC official E-Magazine website. When I look at the numbers of individuals visiting this website, I think they are very low, that is suggested by the interest in the Mystery Man Game this year. How would ‘you’ promote interest in an e-magazine to make all the hard work involved worth it? When it was running the Christie Chronical was almost a full time job for Elaine Wiltshire, which was one reason why Chorion (AC Ltd) closed it down. To test the interest, it might be worth creating one page of an e-magazine and see the interest it generates!

    I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

  • Hi Dr Sheppard, I wanted to say that it seems to me that the Mystery Man game was very much enjoyed by many. If if happened every few months, or even more frequently, I'm sure it would attract a bigger and bigger following each time. The forum isn't busy, but there is only so much you can achieve without mediation to tie up different comments people have made, and to direct the conversation on to another interesting avenue, and to stimulate. What do other forums do? The website and forum could, ideally, work in tandem. You get a writer to research and put together a feature article in response to a member's comment: e.g., someone could be asked to write an article about locations in Devon (see a question currently being answered on the Forum by GCKFan). And following up the exchange of comments, a few weeks ago, on Nether Wallop, the website could pay a writer and photographer to take pictures of the Nether Wallop landmarks featured in the AC novels as they look today. A nice little article. Then, you could pay an actor to read excerpts of the novels - a couple of chapters at a time - and embed the video on this site, and then the Forum members would comment on what they liked in the chapter, and be stimulated. The website could organise Agatha Christie tours of key places: what is thought to be St Mary Mead; and places in Devon, such as Burgh Island, and 'Sittaford'. You could even post videos or some of the amateur dramatics or small scale performances which participants have kindly drawn attention to on the forum. Perhaps one of the team should make a point of going to see one of these shows in Woking and other places, and writing a review of them, and interviewing the director. Then again, when a member makes a link to another author who has written a similar plot, the website could print an excerpt of that other novel, and show some of the similarity, or do a bit of research to find other examples of similar plots by other writers. What is obvious, is that if AC is the most popular novelist of all time, there must be people in the world who would like to share their interest in what she has done. I don't believe that's it; no more interest in background info and chat any more. 4 billion people down to seven by 2016.  Forums aren't dead as a medium, are they??  People seek to participate in various ways. Not everybody wants to make great long comments.The website could stimulate involvement by having a forum moderator ask questions: "Who thinks AC should have kept Egg Lytton Gore going for another novel?"  "Who thinks this ending isn't fair?"You could then ask funny writers to write little mini-stories about this character - just a short. Quizzes, as happened before would be good. Some people don't like to write loads, they like to be involved through games, vox pop. 
  • Dr.SheppardDr.Sheppard Oxford, UK
    @Griselda In response to the post above I have a few thoughts:

    On the topic of The Mystery Man Game, I think it would lose its interest if it was activated too frequently, and don’t forget the work involved for the person setting it. I have monitored the number of people participating in the four games since 2010 (in 2014 it was Write Your Own Christie) and it has been a falling number. The reason might be because fewer people know about the game or that it has been of little interest on the site; it’s normally been in September of each year.

    My thoughts about the subject of paying someone to take photographs is the cost, I don’t think that the Agatha Christie Ltd would foot the bill and there are lots of photographs out there - there are some groups on Facebook that regularly post their photographs there. Tours to locations of Christie interest are available, but need to be managed correctly; the Agatha Christie name is registered by Agatha Christie Ltd and license activities to see that they are promoted in the correct way.

    On the topic of forums, these are triggered by the regular users, moderators review for bad language and suitable subject content, but they are not there to stimulate activity, in my opinion. The content can be started by forum members, but it’s the users that will follow the thread and show interest. You can identify the threads started on this site, and there may be a number of views, but many have no further comments.

    Lastly, there are publications in the market place which would satisfy all your interest / questions, you just need to search for them. Having bought all the written works of Agatha Christie I wanted read books on Christie by authors that had researched her and during 2014 I purchased 18 books costing from 1p to £10, some made good reading, others less so.   
  • Thanks Dr Sheppard for this comprehensive reply.

    I don't think that cost would necessarily have be too much of an issue. Perhaps,  there are clever ways of generating income from a website, so the articles, etc, end up being covered. To be honest, Dr Sheppard, I thought that what a website was, that is somewhere to collect together in one handy place all the information and ways of enjoying a topic. I've a friend who is on a slimming website - she has an app for it. She says she does it because she can get all her calorie counting devices, and hints and information in one place. Not being difficult, but if we are in the business of celebrating and keeping alive the work of AC, should we really be suggesting fans do their own searching about for books on AC? Shouldn't it all be made easy for them?
    Is their an Agatha Christie app?
    I think that people today like social media.  Maybe that is where a lot of fans go. But websites can go a bit deeper into topics.
  • Dr.SheppardDr.Sheppard Oxford, UK
    @Griselda. Regarding ways of generating income, this is normally by advertising on the website, I think most people would frown if that approach was used. I agree that a website should be the ideal place to act a centre for all AC material, however, there is so much and I'm not sure how it could be managed; i.e. Books, Films, Plays, Poetry, Mary Westmacott, Life history, Media, Translations, Reviews, Research, Current AC activities - local and world-wide, (I'm sure there are many more subject titles). Once you start going down some of these routes to obtain the information, it's copy-write. If you search the internet for AC information there are many sites created by 'hobbyists', that quote from a source that has provided incorrect information. You mention AC Apps, I did a quick search on Google Play Store, and found a few that were not worthy of a mention, again facts that were incorrect. Perhaps it boils down to the fact that this site is the best place to learn about AC? There is an amazing amount of information on this website if you just keep clicking to find what you are looking for. If you are looking for some current activities, then AC on FB does keep us reasonable well informed. Out of interest, what would you call the website you are looking for?
  • I think it could be this website, but made more expansive. I'm aware that AC books also act as a window on twentieth century life, just as Jane Austen books do as regards early nineteenth century life. The towns, villages, customs, social history of the war years are all interlinked. I would like to hear from fans in other parts of the world about their relationship with the novels. It would very much interest me. And as another member suggested, your little group of afficienados could post transcripts of the best bits of discussions on this site. I'd love to hear what you cover.
  • Perhaps the Devon Tourist Board could put on Agatha Christie themed tours related to events in the novels and then advertise these on the website. The publicity material would be sure to be tasteful, if the tourist board were to design it. Each quarter could oxygenate the activity of the other. Fans might visited  Devon, afficienados of the thirties might read the novels and buy the film DVDs. In other parts of the world there might be Agatha Christie tourist attractions: perhaps the archeological sites.
  • shanashana Paramaribo, Suriname
    @Dr.Sheppard, I say just let the members of this website answer all those questions and hold that poll you are suggesting . That way no one will have to guess or take chances on trying out a new format. @Griselda seems to have plenty idea"s also. 
  • Dr.SheppardDr.Sheppard Oxford, UK
    @Griselda a lot of points raised. I'll bear in mind the point regarding discussions from the group and posting them here. The promote activities taking place in Torbay, rather than provide the activity itself.
    @shana I'm in no rush to do a poll, but I'm not sure the regular visitors to this website can answer the sort of questions that Griselda believes there is a need to satisfy.

    Have either of you seen a copy of the Christie Chronicle that was available via the Agatha Christie Society?
  • I haven't seen the Christie Chronicle. What a lovely name. What an enormous amount of nuanced information could be gained about Christie, and her impact on earlier audiences, from a scrutiny of such interesting research material. What a wonderful thing it would be if this most loved and respected of authors could have a dedicated historian to collate information and artefacts. Are there artefacts in Greenaway, or whatever is the name of her Devon residence, do you know, Dr Sheppard? I get a image in my mind of a home, run for the nation, much like a Jane Austen museum might be: I think there is one in Bath. I think Raoul Dahl has a house dedicated to him, doesn't he? Thomas Hardy also? Such a museum would have many artefacts on display, and newspaper cuttings, etc. Of course her appeal goes beyond that of a writer, because she did the plotting so expertly,  so she is almost a gamemaster. Also, her works are so cinematic. You could imagine a new Christie Chronicle being produced from that house, and the material there forming the basis for a good many of the articles in a new Chronicle. There could be a room dedicated to the clothes of Christie's time, and the costumes worn in the David Suchet series. Thinking about the series, which owes everything to Christie, as well as David Suchet, allowably, there could be a whole wing of the house given over to the Suchet series, and the cars, and furniture. A room could be furnished as Poirot's London flat. David Suchet could be asked to write for a new chronicle/e magazine. Since AC provided such rich material for ITV,  the broadcasters might be interested in funding such ventures.
  • shanashana Paramaribo, Suriname
    Nope, @Dr.Sheppard haven"t seen it. And the poll would be one quick way of gathering necessary info needed to determine if and how this website should/could evolve further. I was not suggesting that it should be Dr. Sheppard himself holding the poll. But you have good contacts in the right places I have gathered. 
  • Dr.SheppardDr.Sheppard Oxford, UK
    edited April 2016
  • Dr.SheppardDr.Sheppard Oxford, UK
    edited April 2016
    Some pages from the Christie Chronicle. There were thirty-five issues between Sprint 1993 and Winter 2001.

    Why is it so difficult to attach pictures to this website?
  • Dr.SheppardDr.Sheppard Oxford, UK
    @Griselda, Hopefully you can see four pages from the Christie Chronicle I have posted in the previous thread. 
    I have been looking for some pictures of Greenway house on the internet without any luck, they may be protected by the National Trust, now that they own the property. When you visit Greenway, the NT say, they have tried to give the visitor the impression that the Christies have just popped out for a while at the time of ‘your’ visit, everything is just as they left it on display and there to view. All the family members were great collectors and there are a vast number of their belongs on display. The National Trusts own Souvenir guide to Greenway, is excellent for pictures – you can buy a new copy on Amazon UK for £2.00 or used 1p + postage.  My own copy is well thumbed as I have visited Greenway at least three times a year for the last few years.
    Mathew Pritchard gives a very brief 'tour' of Greenway, it's rather a talk which is quite interesting.

    Hope this is of interest.

  • Thank you for this information. Is it actually Mathew Pritchard there, when you visit, giving a tour, or is it in the book? Do you think a second museum in Torquay would be a good idea - with the Poirot series cars, costumes, etc. It would be great if Agatha Christie Ltd could buy Burgh Island, should it ever come up for sale again. That would make an amazing place for a museum. Interest in Agatha Christie could be an enormous boon to the Devon tourist industry. Sometimes, it is through authors that one better understands a place. I think that all things Jane Austen cast an impression of what Bath was as a watering hole. You need a bit of description and imagination sometimes to make an actual place more like itself.
  • Dr.SheppardDr.Sheppard Oxford, UK
    Mathew Pritchard did a series of 8 (I think) mini talks about his grandmother, for this website in June 2014, however, the link attached is a new one for the National Trust. Torquay museum has Poirot's office setting from the television programmes and you can sit at the desk and imagine. They also have a display room dedicated to Agatha Christie, with books, clothes and memorabilia. 
  • Very nice.  It would be nice to have more of it. And all in one place.
  • shanashana Paramaribo, Suriname
    Thank you @Dr.Sheppard for those pages of the Christie Chronicle. I would love to read the article of Writing Crooked House by AC herself f.e. That's the content I would like to read on this website f.e.. Are these Chronicles otherwise accessible on line?
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