Agatha Christie Wiki

Chimneys is a play by Agatha Christie which she adapted from her own 1925 novel The Secret of Chimneys. Based on a typescript in the Agatha Christie Archive, it is known that one draft was completed at least as early as 5 July 1928.[1] Subsequently theatrical producer Alec L. Rea of Reandco (who also produced Black Coffee) acquired the rights to produced Chimneys in April 1931.

The play was due to open at the Embassy Theatre in Swiss Cottage in December 1931. One year previously, Black Coffee, Christie's first performed stage play, had opened at the same theatre.

As was the law at the time, the play was vetted by the Lord Chamberlain's Office and passed for performance. Several press articles in fact mentioned the forthcoming Christie play. However, due to a number of complex factors, the play was not eventually staged. The previous play had proven successful and a decision was taken to extend its run and then to move to the West End. This necessitated a recasting of Chimneys which proved logistically daunting. In the end the theatre substituted Mary Broome, a four-act comedy from 1912 by Allan Monkhouse, in its place in December. Chimneys was rescheduled to February or March 1932 but before that could happen, financial pressure forced Reandco to give up its lease on the Embassy theatre. As Christie researcher noted: "Chimneys, therefore, was to an extent a victim of the organised chaos of the repertory system...."[2]

The play was all-but-forgotten until December 2001 when John Paul Fischbach, the artistic director of the Vertigo Mystery Theatre in Calgary, Canada was looking to re-launch the company after it had been forced to vacate its home in the Calgary Science Centre and was opening in its new home of the Vertigo Theatre Centre. In looking for something special and relatively unknown to celebrate the opening, Fischbach contacted Agatha Christie Limited, who handle the author's rights, and was told by its chairman (and Christie's grandson, Mathew Prichard) that the only relatively unknown stage work that could be performed was the 1930s play A Daughter's a Daughter which was performed once in the 1950s but had previously been revised into a 1952 novel published under the nom-de-plume of Mary Westmacott.

Fischbach had a copy of the play available and in looking through it, found another manuscript headed: Chimneys: A play in three acts by Agatha Christie. He again contacted Prichard who admitted that he had heard of the play but had never seen a copy. Prichard contacted the British Library who found a second copy of the manuscript in their archives and the Vertigo Mystery Theatre presented the play's world premiere on October 16, 2003 with Mathew Prichard in the audience.

The UK premiere took place on June 1, 2006 when it was performed by the Pitlochry Festival Theatre Company. The US premiere took place on June 12, 2008 as part of the International Mystery Writers' Festival in Owensboro, Kentucky.

The play has been published in the collection "Discovering New Mysteries Scripts" by On Stage Press, a division of Samuel French, Inc.

UK premiere – Pitlochry (2006)[]

The play was directed by John Durnin.



  1. Julius Green, Agatha Christie: A Life in Theatre (London: HarperCollins, 2018), 84, ebook edition.
  2. Julius Green, Agatha Christie: A Life in Theatre (London: HarperCollins, 2018), 99-104, ebook edition.