Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot back in new novel by UK author

Tue Sep 3, 2013 7:08pm EDT
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By Paul Casciato

LONDON (Reuters) - Bestselling British crime novelist Sophie Hannah will revive Agatha Christie's fictional detective Hercule Poirot in a new novel due out next year.

When Hannah's agent told her he had suggested to publisher HarperCollins that they ask her to write a continuation novel, an idea she had been trying to turn into a novel for years suddenly took shape, the author told Reuters.

"As soon as he said 'Agatha Christie novel' I thought actually that idea would work perfectly as a story set in the 1920s," said Hannah, a life-long Agatha Christie devotee.

When she met the Christie family, the decision on whether it would be Poirot or her other famous character, Miss Marple, was still up in the air.

"The Poirot novels were the first ones that I've read. I've read all of them, I've seen them all on TV," she said. "From my point of view, the particular plot idea that I had, I could just see it as a Poirot, totally."

The Christie family readily agreed.

"Her idea for a plot line was so compelling and her passion for my grandmother's work so strong, that we felt that the time was right for a new Christie to be written," Agatha Christie Limited chairman and grandson of the famous novelist, Mathew Prichard, said in a statement from publishers HarperCollins.

Hannah's story will be set in the interwar "golden age", but the dapper Belgian sleuth who Christie introduced in "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" in 1920 will have to make do without his usual sidekicks Hastings and Inspector Japp in the as-yet-untitled book by the psychological crime fiction writer.   Continued...

British writer Agatha Christie's belongings are displayed in a special exhibition in Istanbul January 27, 2006. REUTERS/Stringer