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Major Ernest Albert Belcher circa 1920.

Major Ernest Albert Belcher, CBE (1871 – 1949) was the Assistant general manager of the British Empire Exhibition which was held at Wembley in 1924 and 1925. He was leader of the 1922 tour around the world to promote this event. Agatha Christie and her husband Archie were members of this group and Christie mentions him in her notes and biographies. A book, The Grand Tour: Around the World with the Queen of Mystery, gives an outline of this tour and describes Major Belcher in depth.

Belcher was the inspiration of the character of Sir Eustace Pedler in the novel The Man in the Brown Suit. In her autobiography, Christie recounted how this came about. In 1921 Belcher became the Assistant General Manager of the British Empire Exhibition. He invited Archibald Christie and Agatha to join him on a world tour to promote the event. The Christies visited Belcher several times at his then home, the Mill House at Clewer near Dorney. Belcher thought his house made a good setting for a murder mystery and he told Christie he would like to be in the novel. More than that, he refused to be the victim. He wanted instead to be a criminal because typically these are the most interesting people. Christie did not think Belcher would really like being cast as a villain but Max advised her to give the character a title--that would please Belcher.[1]

References[]

  1. Agatha Christie, An Autobiography (London: HarperCollins, 2010), 278-279, ebook edition.
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