Day: March 10, 2020

Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976) Updated 10 March 2020

agatha-christieAgatha Christie, in full Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, née Miller, (born September 15, 1890, Torquay, Devon, England—died January 12, 1976, Wallingford, Oxfordshire), English detective novelist and playwright whose books have sold more than 100 million copies and have been translated into some 100 languages. Educated at home by her mother, Christie began writing detective fiction while working as a nurse during World War I. Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920), introduced Hercule Poirot, her eccentric and egotistic Belgian detective; Poirot reappeared in about 25 novels and many short stories before returning to Styles, where, in Curtain (1975), he died. The elderly spinster Miss Jane Marple, her other principal detective figure, first appeared in Murder at the Vicarage (1930). Christie’s first major recognition came with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926), which was followed by some 75 novels that usually made best-seller lists and were serialized in popular magazines in England and the United States.Christie’s plays include The Mousetrap (1952), which set a world record for the longest continuous run at one theatre (8,862 performances—more than 21 years—at the Ambassadors Theatre, London) and then moved to another theatre, and Witness for the Prosecution (1953), which, like many of her works, was adapted into a successful film (1957). Other notable film adaptations include Murder on the Orient Express (1933; film 1974 and 2017) and Death on the Nile (1937; film 1978). Her works were also adapted for television. In 1926 Christie’s mother died, and her husband, Colonel Archibald Christie, requested a divorce. In a move she never fully explained, Christie disappeared and, after several highly publicized days, was discovered registered in a hotel under the name of the woman her husband wished to marry. In 1930 Christie married the archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan; thereafter she spent several months each year on expeditions in Iraq and Syria with him. She also wrote romantic nondetective novels, such as Absent in the Spring (1944), under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. Her Autobiography (1977) appeared posthumously. She was created a Dame of the British Empire in 1971. (Source: Britannica)

Agatha Christie published more than ninety stories between 1920 and 1976. Her best-loved stories revolve around two brilliant and quite dissimilar detectives, the Belgian émigré Hercule Poirot and the English spinster Miss Jane Marple. Other stories feature the “flapper” couple Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, the mysterious Harley Quin, the private detective Parker Pyne, or Police Superintendent Battle as investigators. Dame Agatha’s works have been adapted numerous times for the stage, movies, radio, and television.

Hercule Poirot novels: The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920); Murder on the Links (1923); The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926); The Big Four (1927); The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928); Peril at End House (1932); Lord Edgware Dies (1933) aka Thirteen at Dinner; Murder on the Orient Express (1934) aka Murder in the Calais Coach; Three Act Tragedy (1935) aka Murder in Three Acts; Death in the Clouds (1935) aka Death in the Air; The A.B.C. Murders (1936) aka The Alphabet Murders; Murder in Mesopotamia (1936); Cards on the Table (1936); Dumb Witness (1937) aka Poirot Loses a Client; Death on the Nile (1937) aka Murder on the Nile and as Hidden Horizon; Appointment with Death (1938); Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (1938) aka Murder for Christmas and as A Holiday for Murder; Sad Cypress (1940); One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (1940) aka An Overdose of Death and as The Patriotic Murders; Evil Under the Sun (1941); Five Little Pigs (1942) aka Murder in Retrospect; The Hollow (1946) aka Murder after Hours; Taken at the Flood (1948) aka There Is a Tide; Mrs McGinty’s Dead (1952) aka Blood Will Tell; After the Funeral (1953) aka Funerals are Fatal; Hickory Dickory Dock (1955) aka Hickory Dickory Death; Dead Man’s Folly (1956); Cat Among the Pigeons (1959); The Clocks (1963); Third Girl (1966); Hallowe’en Party (1969); Elephants Can Remember (1972); Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case (written about 1940, published 1975)

Hercule Poirot short story collections, novellas and miscellanies:

Poirot Investigates a short story collection first published in the UK by The Bodley Head in March 1924. It contain the following eleven stories: “The Adventure of the Western Star”; “The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor”; “The Adventure of the Cheap Flat”; “The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge”; “The Million Dollar Bond Robbery”; “The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb”; “The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan”; “The Kidnapped Prime Minister”; “The Disappearance of Mr Davenheim”; “The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman” and “The Case of the Missing Will”. The American version of this book, published by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1925, featured an additional three stories which did not appear in book form in the UK until 1974 with the publication of Poirot’s Early Cases: “The Chocolate Box”; “The Veiled Lady” and “The Lost Mine”.

–  Murder in the Mews a short story collection first published in the UK by Collins Crime Club in March 1937. In the US, the book was published by Dodd, Mead and Company under the title Dead Man’s Mirror in June 1937 with one story missing (The Incredible Theft); the 1987 Berkeley Books edition of the same title has all four stories. All of the tales feature Hercule Poirot. The four short stories are: Murder in the Mews; The Incredible Theft; Dead Man’s Mirror, and Triangle at Rhodes.

–  The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories a short story collection first published in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1939. Five of the stories feature Hercule Poirot (“The Mystery of the Bagdad Chest”, “How Does Your Garden Grow?” “Yellow Iris”, “The Dream”, “Problem at Sea”). The collection was not published in the UK and was the first time a Christie book was published in the US without a comparable publication in the UK; however all of the stories in the collection were published in later UK collections.

–  The Labours of Hercules a short story collection first published in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1947 and in the UK by Collins Crime Club in September of the same year. The twelve stories are:The Nemean Lion”; “The Lernaean Hydra”; “The Arcadian Deer”; “The Erymanthian Boar”; “The Augean Stables”; “The Stymphalean Birds”; “The Cretan Bull”; “The Horses of Diomedes”; “The Girdle of Hippolyta”; “The Flock of Geryon”; “The Apples of Hesperides” and “The Capture of Cerberus”.

–  The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories a short story collection first published in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1948.  Only the short story “The Second Gong” features Hercule Poirot.

–  Three Blind Mice and Other Stories a short story collection first published in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1950. The later collections The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (1960), Poirot’s Early Cases(1974), Miss Marple’s Final Cases and Two Other Stories (1979), and Problem at Pollensa Bay (1992) reprint between them all the stories in this collection except the title story “Three Blind Mice”, an alternate version of the play The Mousetrap, and the only Christie short story not published in the UK. The stories featuring Poirot are “The Third Floor Flat”; “The Adventure of Johnny Waverly”; “Four-and-Twenty Blackbirds” and “The Love Detectives”.

–  The Under Dog and Other Stories a short story collection first published in the US by Dodd Mead and Company in 1951 comprising the following stories: “The Underdog”, “The Plymouth Express”, “The Affair at the Victory Ball”, “The Market Basing Mystery”, “The Lemesurier Inheritance”, “The Cornish Mystery”, “The King of Clubs”, “The Submarine Plans” and “The Adventure of the Clapham Cook”. All the stories were published in British and American magazines between 1923 and 1926. All of the stories, save the title story, were to appear again in 1974 in Poirot’s Early Cases.

–  The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding a collection of six short stories, five of which feature Hercule Poirot, first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in October 1960. It comprises: “The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding”, or “The Theft of the Royal Ruby”; “The Mystery of the Spanish Chest”; “The Under Dog”; “Four and Twenty Blackbirds” and “The Dream”. It was not published in the US although the stories it contains were published in other volumes there.

–  Double Sin and Other Stories a short story collection first published in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1961. The collection contains eight short stories and was not published in the UK; however all of the stories were published in other UK collections. The titles featuring Hercule Poirot are: “Double Sin”; “Wasp’s Nest”; “The Theft of the Royal Ruby” (aka “The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding”); “Greenshaw’s Folly”; and “The Double Clue.

–  Poirot’s Early Cases a short story collection first published in the UK by Collins Crime Club in September 1974. Although the stories contained within the volume had all appeared in previous US collections, the book also appeared there later in 1974 under the slightly different title of Hercule Poirot’s Early Cases. The eighteen short stories are: “The Affair at the Victory Ball”; “The Adventure of the Clapham Cook”; “The Cornish Mystery”; “The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly”; “The Double Clue”; “The King of Clubs”; “The Lemesurier Inheritance”; “The Lost Mine”; “The Plymouth Express”; “The Chocolate Box”; “The Submarine Plans”; “The Third Floor Flat”; “Double Sin”; “The Market Basing Mystery”; “Wasps’ Nest”; “The Veiled Lady”; “Problem at Sea” and “How Does Your Garden Grow?”

–  Problem at Pollensa Bay and Other Stories a short story collection published in the UK only in November 1991 by HarperCollins. It was not published in the US but all the stories contained within it had previously been published in American volumes. It contains two  stories with Hercule Poirot, “The Second Gong”, first published in issue 499 of the Strand Magazine in July 1932, and the basis of the novella “Dead Man’s Mirror” in 1935. ”Yellow Iris”, first published in issue 559 of the Strand Magazine in July 1937, and the basis of the novel Sparkling Cyanide, in which Poirot was replaced by Colonel Race and the plot was heavily altered. “The Regatta Mystery”, first published in issue 546 of the Strand Magazine in June 1936 under the title “Poirot and the Regatta Mystery” was later rewritten by Christie to change the detective from Hercule Poirot to Parker Pyne before its first book publication in the US in The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories in 1939 and in the UK in this volume. The publication in the Strand Magazine remained the only publication of the original version of the story in the UK until 2008, when it was included in the omnibus volume Hercule Poirot: the Complete Short Stories

The Harlequin Tea Set a short story collection first published in the US by G. P. Putnam’s Sons in April 1997. It contains nine short stories each of which involves a separate mystery. With the exception of “The Harlequin Tea Set”, which was published in the collection Problem at Pollensa Bay and Other Stories, all stories were published in the UK in 1997 in the anthology While the Light Lasts and Other Stories.  “The Mystery of the Spanish Chest” is the only story featuring Hercule Poirot.

–  While the Light Lasts and Other Stories a short story collection first published in the UK in August 1997 by HarperCollins. It contains nine short stories. In addition to detailed notes by Christie scholar Tony Medawar, the collection comprises the following Poirot stories: “Christmas Adventure” first published in issue 1611 of The Sketch Magazine on 11 December 1923, later expanded into novella form under the title “The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding”and was printed as the title story in the 1960 UK collection The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding; and “The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest” first published in issue 493 of the Strand Magazine in January 1932. The story was later expanded into novella form and was printed as “The Mystery of the Spanish Chest” in the 1960 UK collection The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding.

–  Hercule Poirot: The Complete Short Stories. Omnibus Collection. All 51 Hercule Poirot short stories presented in chronological order in a single volume – plus a bonus story not seen for more than 70 years. First published by HarperCollins Publishers in the UK in 1999. Contents: “The Affair at the Victory Ball”; “The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan”; “The King of Clubs”; “The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim”; “The Plymouth Express”; “The Adventure of “The Western Star”; “The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor”; “The Kidnapped Prime Minister”; “The Million Dollar Bond Robbery”; “The Adventure of the Cheap Flat”; “The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge”; “The Chocolate Box”; “The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb”; “The Veiled Lady”; “The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly”; “The Market Basing Mystery”; “The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman”; “The Case of the Missing Will”; “The Incredible Theft”; “The Adventure of the Clapham Cook”; “The Lost Mine”; “The Cornish Mystery”; “The Double Clue”; “The Theft of the Royal Ruby”; “The Lemesurier Inheritance”; “The Under Dog”; “Double Sin”; “Wasps’ Nest”; “The Third Floor Flat”; “The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest”; “Dead Man’s Mirror”; “How Does Your Garden Grow?”; “Problem at Sea”; “Triangle at Rhodes”; “Murder in the Mews”; “Yellow Iris”; “The Dream”; “The Labors of Hercules”; “The Nemean Lion”; “The Lernean Hydra”; “The Arcadian Deer”; “The Erymanthian Boar”; “The Augean Stables”; “The Stymphalean Birds”; “The Cretan Bull”; “The Horses of Diomedes”; “The Girdle of Hyppolita”; “The Flock of Geryon”; “ The Apples of the Hesperides”; “The Capture of Cerberus”; and “Four and Twenty Blackbirds”.

–  Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making by John Curran. First published by HarperCollins Publishers in 2009. Includes two unpublished Poirot stories: “The Capture of Cerberus” and “The Incident of the Dog’s Ball”.

–  Black Coffee First published in the UK by HarperCollins Publishers in 2000. A stage play written by Agatha Christie in 1929, accepted for production in 1930 at the Embassy Theatre in Swiss Cottage, London and adapted as a novel by Charles Osborne.

–  Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly. First published posthumously in the UK by HarperCollins Publishers in 2014, a novella that turned into Dead Man’s Folly. In 1954, Agatha Christie wrote this novella with the intention of donating the proceeds to a fund set up to buy stained glass windows for her local church at Churston Ferrers, and she filled the story with references to local places, including her own home of Greenway. But having completed it, she decided instead to expand the story into a full-length novel, Dead Man’s Folly, which was published two years later, and donated a Miss Marple story (“Greenshaw’s Folly”) to the church fund instead.

Miss Jane Marple novels: The Murder at the Vicarage [1930]; The Body in the Library [1942];
The Moving Finger
[1942]; A Murder is Announced [1950];
They Do it with Mirrors
[1952];
A Pocket Full of Rye
[1953];

4.50 from Paddington
[1957];
The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side
[1962];
A Caribbean Mystery
[1964];
At Bertram’s Hotel
[1965];
Nemesis
[1971] and Seeping Murder [1976].

Miss Marple Short Story Collections: The Thirteen Problems (1932) and Miss Marple’s Final Cases (1979)

Tommy and Tuppence: They appear together in four full-length novels and one collection of short stories. The collection of short stories is Partners in Crime, (1929, each story referencing another writer’s work); the four novels are The Secret Adversary (1922), N or M? (1941), By the Pricking of My Thumbs (1968); and Postern of Fate (1973). Postern of Fate was the last novel Christie ever wrote, although not the last to be published.

Non-series works by Agatha Christie : The Sittaford Mystery (1931)  aka Murder at Hazelmoor; Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (1934)  aka The Boomerang Clue; And Then There Were None (1939) aka Ten Little Niggers / Ten Little Indians; Death Comes as the End (1945); Crooked House (1949); They Came to Baghdad (1951); Destination Unknown (1954) aka So Many Steps to Death; Ordeal by Innocence (1958); The Pale Horse (1961); Endless Night (1967); and Passenger to Frankfurt (1970)

Harley Quin appears in the 12 short stories: The Mysterious Mr Quin, first published in 1930, and in an additional two short stories, “The Love Detectives” and “The Harlequin Tea Set” from Problem at Pollensa Bay and Other Stories. Mr. Quin’s emissary Mr. Satterthwaite, who appears together with him in all the previously mentioned short stories, also appears without him in Christie’s short story “Dead Man’s Mirror” in the collection Murder in the Mews, and in her novel Three-Act Tragedy.

Parker Pyne appears in Agatha Christie’s anthology Parker Pyne Investigates, and the short stories “Problem at Pollensa Bay” and “The Regatta Mystery

Superintendent Battle appears as a detective in the following novels: The Secret of Chimneys [1925]; The Seven Dials Mystery [1929]; Cards on the Table [1936], with Hercule Poirot, Ariadne Oliver and Colonel Race; Murder is Easy [1939], and Towards Zero [1944].

Miss Ariadne Oliver: After a very brief appearance in Parker Pyne Investigates, mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver appeared in a total of six novels with Hercule Poirot [Cards on the Table (1936); Mrs McGinty’s Dead (1952) aka Blood Will Tell; Dead Man’s Folly (1956); Third Girl (1966); Hallowe’en Party (1969); Elephants Can Remember (1972)], one stand-alone novel The Pale Horse (1961) and Greenshore Folly, an earlier shorter version of Dead Man’s Folly(1956) that was published posthumously.


743

(Facsimile Dust Jacket, John Lane, The Bodley Head (UK), 1920)

My Ten Favourite Poirot Novels

Mike Grost on Agatha Christie

Gadetection