Verdict by Agatha Christie
Tenterden Town Hall
Charlotte Maughan Jones
Director Fabian Worsfield
Verdict is a 1958 play by British mystery writer Agatha Christie. It is unusual for Agatha Christie plays in more than one way: for example, it is an original play, not based on a story or novel; and though there is a murder in the story, it is a melodrama more than a typical ‘whodunnit’ mystery as the murder takes place on stage.
The play tells the story of Karl Hendryk, a brilliant professor who, with his wife and her cousin, have fled persecution in their country. It is not explicitly mentioned that they are Germans persecuted by Nazis – and Agatha Christie has probably deliberately given the characters names that are not evidently traceable to any national origin. The professor is contentedly ensconced in a British university, where he is respected by students and faculty alike. His wife, Anya, an invalid suffering from a progressively debilitating disease, bitterly regrets having been forced to leave her home and her friends and is unhappy with all aspects of her life in England. Her cousin and close friend, Lisa Koletzky, has moved with them to care for Anya and to manage the professor’s home. Karl and Lisa have suppressed feelings for each other, and the situation is further disturbed when a young rich student, Helen Rollander, takes on private lessons with the professor.