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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 July 2006, 23:57 GMT 00:57 UK
Christie belongings under hammer
Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie was born in Torquay in 1890 and died in 1976
More than 700 personal items from the former Devon home of the "Queen of Crime" Dame Agatha Christie are set to be auctioned.

The signed books, ceramics, pictures, prints, furniture and jewellery are expected to draw worldwide interest.

Christie lived at Greenway House, near Brixham, for 38 years.

There will be more than 700 lots at the sale, on 12 September at Bearnes of Exeter, with reserve prices ranging from under 100 to thousands of pounds.

Dame Agatha's books have sold more than one billion copies in the English language and another billion in more than 45 foreign languages.

It is claimed she is outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare.

See some of the 700 personal items which are going to be auctioned

Dame Agatha grew up in Torquay where her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was begun, and several locations in Torquay and Devon inspired her later novels.

She bought Greenway in 1938 and although she never wrote any of her books there, it became a holiday home and a retreat for her until her death in 1976.

The house, which sits on the banks of the River Dart, made thinly-disguised appearances in at least two of Dame Agatha's novels.

It is thought to appear in Dead Man's Folly, written in 1956, and Five Little Pigs, written in 1943.

Greenway was gifted to the National Trust in 2000 by Dame Agatha's daughter Rosalind Hicks and her husband Anthony.

Two years later, its 30-acre gardens were opened to the public along with the boat-house and footpaths on the 278-acre estate, but the Grade II-listed house remained the private residence of the Hicks family.

MYSTERY WOMAN
Born in Torquay in 1890
She published 66 novels, 154 short stories and 20 plays
Her books have been translated into over 70 languages
The Mousetrap, which opened in London in 1952, is the longest continuously running play in theatrical history
She wrote six romantic novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott.

Following the death of Rosalind in 2004 and Anthony in 2005, Dame Agatha's grandson Mathew Prichard gave permission to the National Trust to open up the 18th Century house, which the writer bought in 1938.

The trust hopes to reopen the house during 2008 once a multi-million pound restoration is completed.

Mr Prichard intends to gift much of the treasure trove of possessions built up by his grandmother, mother and stepfather to the National Trust.

The auction will dispose of some surplus items, with half of the proceeds going to the National Trust to help fund conservation work at Greenway.

Mr Prichard said: "The bulk of what she collected will ultimately be on display at Greenway.

Agatha Christie's home Greenway
Agatha Christie bought Greenway in 1938

"What is offered for sale on 12 September is either what there is not room for at Greenway, or what did not really belong there.

"All of it is authentic family material, including some signed Agatha Christie books."

He said he hoped the items on sale would give "an opportunity to share in a piece of literary history, as well as a piece of stunningly beautiful Devon property".

The sale coincides with the second Christie Week, a national celebration to mark her birthday and recognise her legacy.


SEE ALSO
The mystery of Agatha Christie
13 Sep 05 |  Magazine
Agatha Christie tops crime poll
18 Jul 04 |  Entertainment

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