Agatha Christie’s personal notebook full of story ideas, drafts, and sketches is going on display for the first time

Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot in the 2017 film version of

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Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot in the 2017 film version of “Murder on the Orient Express.”
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YouTube/Murder on the Orient Express

  • A rare Agatha Christie notebook is being put on display in Hong Kong.
  • It dates back to 1948 and contains story ideas, drafts, and sketches.
  • It is the only such example outside of her estate’s collection.
  • The book is being put on display for free at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum.

Agatha Christie fans can come face-to-face with the novelist’s doodlings, drafts, and sketches for the first time, in the form of one of her personal notebook is going on public display.

The artefact – the only one of its kind outside of her estate’s collection – is being shown in Hong Kong next weekend after being out of the public domain for more than 50 years.

It will be one of the items shown at the the Hong Kong Maritime Museum on from November 17-19 as part of the China in Print exhibition, after which it will be sold.

The manuscript contains notes for works which would later become the novel “A Murder Is Announced” and the play “Spider’s Web.”

The first page of the manuscript.

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The first page of the manuscript.
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China in Print

It was owned by an unnamed private collector until earlier this year, who decided to sell after more than half a century. Its current owner, bookseller Lucius Books, hopes the item will fetch around HK $465,000 (£45,380, or $59,620).

The first page of Christie’s manuscript, which has been released to the media ahead of the exhibition, begins with the words “Baghdad 1948: A Murder Has Been Arranged”, a working title for what would become “A Murder Is Announced”.

It continues: “A murder has been arranged & will take place on Friday Dec. 13th at Little Paddocks at 6.15 precisely. Friends, please accept this.”

Christie then turns to the novel’s opening scene, which she has decided will include an “excerpt from [the] will” of the murder victim.Agatha Christie (left) with actress Margaret Lockwood in a London theatre, 1956.

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Agatha Christie (left) with actress Margaret Lockwood in a London theatre, 1956.
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Getty Images.

Further down the page her handwriting becomes harder to interpret, but includes references to the names Evelyn and Leslie Grammont.

The auction comes not long after Christie’s work hit the headlines again with the release of Kenneth Branagh’s Hollywood adaptation of “Murder on the Orient Express.”