Three Blind Mice

  • Short Story
  • 1948

Snowed in, the residents of a guest house find themselves trapped with a murderer. This story would later become the famous play, The Mousetrap.

More about this story

When Queen Mary was asked what she would like for her 80th birthday, she requested a new story from one of her favourite writers, Agatha Christie. The BBC got in touch with Christie and asked if she would like to write a short radio play for the Queen, which she happily obliged to and created Three Blind Mice. She donated her fee of one hundred Guineas to the Southport Infirmary Children’s Toy Fund. Unfortunately no recording of the original performance exists.

The idea for the radio play came, as was often the case with Christie, from a real-life news story in 1945 about two brothers abused in foster care, one of whom died as a result. It was a case that shocked the nation and resulted in the changing of the laws surrounding foster care a couple of years later.

The radio play was first broadcast on the BBC in 1947. Agatha Christie then adapted the 30-minute radio play in 1948 to a short story, published in May in Cosmopolitan magazine, and later in the 1950 US collection Three Blind Mice and Other Stories. The short story version was never published in the UK on Christie’s insistence that it should not clash with the 1952 stage adaptation, famously renamed The Mousetrap. As long as the adaptation ran in London’s West End (as it has for over 60 years) the short story wasn’t to be published.

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