Richard Attenborough

A murder mystery that just won't die

A murder mystery that just won't die

Sixty years ago, an extraordinary reign began in England, one that would provide the nation with a comforting measure of stability and continuity during some of the most tumultuous decades of the 20th century and right on into the far-from-placid 21st.

The Diamond Jubilee attracted notice all around the globe, especially since it was a milestone few would have predicted back in 1952, when the curtain first rose on Agatha Christie's theatrical murder mystery "The Mousetrap" in London's West End. Even Christie figured the play would last no more than eight months.

It became instead the longest-running work in British theater history, lasting through a dozen prime...