Beloved mystery author Agatha Christie is the most widely read British writer after William Shakespeare, having cranked out 95 books, which have sold billions of copies and been translated into 105 languages.

Her secret? Historical re-enactor Betsey Means says it was peace and quiet in the deserts of Mesopotamia.

The British “Queen of Crime” spent much of her life in the Middle East with her world-renowned archaeologist second husband, Sir Max Mallowen.  

“Splendid conditions,” she wrote of her desert writing retreats. “No telephone.”

Means will perform her one-woman show “Agatha Christie: Packing for Syria” scripted from Christie’s diaries at the Forest Park Public Library, 7555 W. Jackson Blvd. on Sunday, Sept. 16.

“Packing for Syria” was developed for Chicago’s Oriental Institute and originally performed in a boat on the Chicago River (aka the Nile). Set in 1949, Christie mulls over her life and travels and the secrets behind her most famous fictional detectives, Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot and the prim Miss Marple.

Means, a Shakespearian actress and Chicago voiceover artist, performs one-act historical presentations with Women Lore, creating scripts directly from the writings of women in history.

The performance will take place at 2 p.m. in the Austin Room of the library.

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...