Agatha Christie thought she killed off her famed Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, with the 1975 release of "Curtain," the novel which details his death. Little did she know that 39 years later he would be brought back to life in an upcoming addition to her series.
A Sept. 3, 2013 press release from William Morrow reveals that the Agatha Christie estate has chosen Sophie Hannah, a British author whose psychological crime novels consistently appear on bestseller lists, to continue the "Hercule Poirot" series. Hannah's new novel is scheduled to be published in September 2014.
"It is almost impossible to put into words how honored I am to have been entrusted with this amazing project – in fact, I still can't quite believe that this is really happening!" Hannah commented. "I hope to create a puzzle that will confound and frustrate the incomparable Hercule Poirot for at least a good few chapters."
According to Mathew Pritchard, who is both Agatha Christie's grandson and Chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd., the choice of Hannah to author the new publication was a case of "pure serendipity." "Her agent happened to approach HarperCollins in exactly the same week that my colleagues and I started discussing a new Christie book. 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," he stated.
Agatha Christie began her "Hercule Poirot" books in 1920 with "The Mysterious Affair at Styles." Although the series' concluding volume, "Curtain," came out in 1975, Christie actually wrote this book during World War II. Thereafter, she kept it in a vault, intending that it be released after her death.
Christie's deliberate decision that her character's life should end with her own has caused many to question the choice to continue Christie's series. John Sutherland's Guardian article, "Exhuming Poirot is disrespectful towards Agatha Christie's careful burial," makes the case for these critics. Nonetheless, even Sutherland concedes that "Having said that, of course I'll download it [Hannah's novel] 30 seconds after it comes out in 2014."