Spider's Web

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Clarissa has a wild imagination, so will anyone believe her when she discovers a dead body in her house? Is her step-daughter really a murderer?

No other female playwright has matched Christie’s record of having three plays running simultaneously in London’s West End

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About this story

First released

September 1954 (performed at The Theatre Royal, Nottingham)

Genre

  • Locked Room

Formats

  • Novel, 
  • TV, 
  • Play, 
  • Film

Murder methods

Setting

  • House

A thriller-comedy, imaginative Clarissa cannot believe it when she discovers a body in her own home.

Originally written at the request of its star Margaret Lockwood, Agatha Christie wrote the play during rehearsals for Witness for the Prosecution which was then running in London’s West End. Lockwood’s part was named after Christie’s own mother, Clarissa. Christie even included a character suitable for Lockwood’s fourteen-year-old daughter.

The play opened at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham in 1954 and had a short national tour before making its way to the Savoy Theatre in London. It ran for 774 ...

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A thriller-comedy, imaginative Clarissa cannot believe it when she discovers a body in her own home.

Originally written at the request of its star Margaret Lockwood, Agatha Christie wrote the play during rehearsals for Witness for the Prosecution which was then running in London’s West End. Lockwood’s part was named after Christie’s own mother, Clarissa. Christie even included a character suitable for Lockwood’s fourteen-year-old daughter.

The play opened at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham in 1954 and had a short national tour before making its way to the Savoy Theatre in London. It ran for 774 performances and joined The Mousetrap and Witness for the Prosecution, making it Christie’s third play to be performed simultaneously in the West End. In March 1955, Queen Elizabeth II, Price Philip and Princess Margaret were in the audience.

The play was first published in 1957 by Samuel French, under French’s Acting Edition No. 834. It was adapted for film in 1960, The Spider’s Web, with Glynis Johns playing the lead character. A UK TV movie was made in 1982, Penelope Keith playing Clarissa. In 2000, Charles Osborne adapted the play into a novel, as he had done with two other plays previously.



Christie reading list

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Download our checklist of all the stories Agatha Christie wrote. Have you read them all?

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