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Visitors to get clued up on Agatha Christie at crime writing festival

Crime fiction fans will be able to visit a major exhibition celebrating Agatha Christie this summer at the hotel where she was found after her mysterious disappearance in 1926.

Agatha Christie Credit: Press Association

The Poirot and Miss Marple writer famously left her Surrey home on December 3 1926 and was discovered 11 days later staying under an assumed name at a hotel in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, but with no recollection of how she got there.

This year's star-studded Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is to be held at that same hotel - the Old Swan Hotel - over four days in July.

Attendees will be able to explore Christie's writing, life and publishing career through rare photographs and documents from her own archives and those of her publisher HarperCollins in an outdoor display.

The Christie exhibition is being held as part of Harper Collins' 200th anniversary celebration.

The ghost of Agatha Christie clearly haunts the Old Swan Hotel.

Nowhere is the genre she devoted her life to so enthusiastically celebrated than at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival - the biggest event devoted to crime fiction in Europe, if not the world.

– Crime Writing Festival's programming chair, crime novelist Elly Griffiths

The annual event will open with the crime writing equivalent of the Oscars, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, which has previously been won by the likes of Val McDermid, Lee Child and Mark Billingham.

The festival will host panels focusing on ITV dramas Vera and Grantchester, with their respective writers Ann Cleeves and James Runcie and stars Brenda Blethyn and Robson Green in attendance.

There will also be a chance for keen scribes to attend a day-long writing workshop, get involved in heated debates about crime reboots and see some of the world's most celebrated crime authors - including Child, Dennis Lehane, Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride and Arne Dahl - in conversation and mingling at the hotel bar.

Hosted by Harrogate International Festivals, the literary event is now in its 15th year and is known for welcoming a mix of wannabe writers, established and respected authors, publishers, agents and readers from all over the world.

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival takes place at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate, July 20-23 2017.