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The Scoop and Behind the Screen First Edition Cover 1983

Dust-jacket illustration of the first UK edition

Behind The Screen is a collaborative detective serial written by members of the Detection Club which were broadcast weekly by their authors on the BBC National Programme in 1930 with the scripts then being published in The Listener within a week after broadcast. The serial was first published in book form, together with The Scoop, in the UK by Victor Gollancz Ltd in 1983 and in the US by Harper & Row in 1984. The UK edition retailed at £6.95. See The Scoop and Behind The Screen.

Julian Symons, then President of the club [1983], explains in his introduction: "...The present volume... was written to provide funds so that club premises might be acquired. Other books with the same purpose, also the product of several hands, were The Floating Admiral (1931), ... Ask a Policeman (1933), ... and ... Verdict of Thirteen. ..."

In 2015, the BBC broadcast a re-enactment of the original episodes with 6 different readers to represent the 6 original storytellers. See Behind the Screen: Agatha Christie (2015).


The episodes, contributors, transmission and magazine publication details of this serial are as follows (all episodes were transmitted from 9.25pm to 9.40pm):

  • (1): (Episode unnamed), written and broadcast by Hugh Walpole. Transmitted on Saturday, June 14, 1930. First published in issue 75 of The Listener on June 18, 1930.
  • (2): Something is Missing, written and broadcast by Agatha Christie. Transmitted on Saturday, June 21, 1930. First published in issue 76 The Listener on June 25, 1930.
  • (3): Man at the Gate, written and broadcast by Dorothy L. Sayers. Transmitted on Saturday, June 28, 1930. First published in issue 77 The Listener on July 2, 1930.
  • (4): I Killed Mr Dudden, written and broadcast by Anthony Berkeley. Transmitted on Saturday, July 5, 1930. First published in issue 78 The Listener on July 9, 1930.
  • (5): Amy Intervenes, written and broadcast by E.C. Bentley. Transmitted on Saturday, July 12, 1930. First published in issue 79 The Listener on July 16, 1930.
  • (6): How Dudden Died, written and broadcast by Ronald Knox. Transmitted on Saturday, July 19, 1930. First published in issue 80 The Listener on July 23, 1930.

In The Listener (and subsequently in the book version), four of the episodes were untitled, the exceptions being the fourth and sixth, which were given the titles In the Aspidistra and Mr Parsons on the Case respectively.

Plot summary[]


  • Wilfred Hope
  • Amy Ellis
  • Mr Ellis
  • Mrs Ellis
  • Robert Ellis
  • Inspector Rice
  • Dr Larkin
  • Paul Dudden
  • Benson
  • Mr Parsons
  • Mrs Parsons
  • Mrs Hulk
  • Mr Hulk
  • Miss Pettigrew
  • Sgt Farrar
  • Sgt Hall
  • Detective Constable Merriman

Further Publication[]


Agatha Christie: Behind the Screen[]

Agatha Christie: Behind the Screen is a interactive murder mystery game published by Spinnaker software released in 1986. The plot of the game is adapted from the original story.