Agatha Christie’s most beloved character, Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, is being called upon once more to solve a mystery in a new novel, the first one authorized by the Christie estate since the legendary author’s death.
The Poirot torch will be passed on to bestselling British crime writer Sophie Hannah, who has written several novels including the popular Waterhouse and Zailer series.
Set in 1920s London, Hannah’s The Monogram Murders sees Poirot trying to solve a series of hotel guest murders. In a recent interview, Hannah said she intends not to mimic Christie’s writing style, but to pay homage to his iconic character.
“I know Hercule Poirot so well,” she said. “I’ve read all the books in which he stars, several times. I started reading him when I was 12 so, you know, he’s a very familiar and much-loved character to me and I wouldn’t want to change him in any particular way.”
Christie, one of the most successful authors of all-time, introduced Poirot to the world in her 1920 debut novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles. He would be brought back for more than 30 other novels and dozens of short stories. The cunning investigator has also been portrayed many times in television and movies by such venerable actors as Albert Finney, David Suchet and Peter Ustinov.
Christie died in 1976 at the age of 85.
The Monogram Murders is slated to be published in September by HarperCollins.
WIKIPEDIA ON POIROT
Hercule Poirot is a fictional Belgian detective, created by Agatha Christie. Poirot is one of Christie’s most famous and long-lived characters, appearing in 33 novels, one play (Black Coffee), and more than 50 short stories published between 1920 and 1975.
Poirot has been portrayed on radio, on screen, for films and television, by various actors, including John Moffatt, Albert Finney, Sir Peter Ustinov, Sir Ian Holm, Tony Randall, Alfred Molina and David Suchet.
The first actor to portray Hercule Poirot was Charles Laughton. He appeared on the West End in 1928 in the play Alibi which had been adapted by Michael Morton from the novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.
Austin Trevor debuted the role of Poirot on screen in the 1931 British film Alibi. The film was based on the stage play. Trevor reprised the role of Poirot twice, in Black Coffee and Lord Edgware Dies. Trevor said once that he was probably cast as Poirot simply because he could do a French accent. Leslie S. Hiscott directed the first two films, with Henry Edwards taking over for the third.
Albert Finney playing Poirot in the 1974 film, Murder on the Orient Express
Tony Randall portrayed Poirot in The Alphabet Murders, a 1965 film also known as The ABC Murders. This was more a satire of Poirot than a straightforward adaptation, and was greatly changed from the original. Much of the story, set in contemporary times, was played for comedy, with Poirot investigating the murders while evading the attempts by Hastings (Robert Morley) and the police to get him out of England and back to Belgium.
Albert Finney played Poirot in 1974 in the cinematic version of Murder on the Orient Express. As of 2013 Finney is the only actor to receive an Academy Award nomination for playing Poirot, though he did not win.
Peter Ustinov as Poirot in a 1982 adaptation of the novel Evil Under the Sun
Peter Ustinov played Poirot six times, starting with Death on the Nile (1978). He reprised the role in Evil Under the Sun (1982) and Appointment with Death (1988).
When Christie’s daughter, Rosalind Hicks, observed Ustinov during a rehearsal, she said, “That’s not Poirot! He isn’t at all like that!” Ustinov, overhearing, remarked “He is now!”
He appeared again as Poirot in three made-for-television movies: Thirteen at Dinner (1985), Dead Man’s Folly (1986), and Murder in Three Acts (1986). Unlike earlier adaptations that were set during the time in which the novels were written, however, these TV movies were set in the contemporary era. The first of these was based on Lord Edgware Dies and was made by Warner Bros.. It also starred Faye Dunaway and David Suchet as Inspector Japp, just before Suchet began to play the famous detective. David Suchet considers his performance as Japp to be “possibly the worst performance of [his] career”.
Anatoly Ravikovich, Zagadka Endkhauza (End House Mystery) (1989; based on “Peril at End House”)
David Suchet starred as the eponymous detective in Agatha Christie’s Poirot in the ITV series 1989 until in June 2013, he announced he was bidding farewell to the role. “No one could’ve guessed then that the series would span a quarter-century or that the classically trained Suchet would complete the entire catalogue of whodunits featuring the eccentric Belgian investigator, including 33 novels and dozens of short stories.” His final appearance, in an adaptation of Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case, aired on 13 November 2013.
Heini Göbel, (1955; an adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express for the West German television series Die Galerie der großen Detektive)
José Ferrer, Hercule Poirot (1961; Unaired TV Pilot, MGM; adaptation of “The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim”)
Martin Gabel, General Electric Theater (4/1/1962; adaptation of “The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim”)
Horst Bollmann Black Coffee 1973
Ian Holm, Murder by the Book, 1986
Alfred Molina, Murder on the Orient Express, 2001
Konstantin Raikin, Neudacha Puaro (Poirot’s Failure) (2002; based on “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd”)
In 2004, NHK (Japanese public TV network) produced a 39 episode anime series titled Agatha Christie’s Great Detectives Poirot and Marple, as well as a manga series under the same title released in 2005. The series, adapting several of the best-known Poirot and Marple stories, ran from 4 July 2004 through 15 May 2005, and in repeated reruns on NHK and other networks in Japan. Poirot was voiced by Kōtarō Satomi and Miss Marple was voiced by Kaoru Yachigusa.
Radio adaptations of the Poirot stories also appeared, most recently twenty seven of them on BBC Radio 4 (and regularly repeated on BBC 7, later BBC Radio 4 Extra), starring John Moffatt; Maurice Denham and Peter Sallis have also played Poirot on BBC Radio 4, Mr. Denham in The Mystery of the Blue Train and Mr. Sallis in Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. In 1939, Orson Welles and the Mercury Players dramatised Roger Ackroyd on CBS’s Campbell Playhouse. A 1945 radio series of at least 13 original half-hour episodes (none of which apparently adapt any Christie stories) transferred Poirot from London to New York and starred character actor Harold Huber, perhaps better known for his appearances as a police officer in various Charlie Chan films. On 22 February 1945, “speaking from London, Agatha Christie introduced the initial broadcast of the Poirot series via shortwave”.