Hercule Poirot Revisited With New Stories
Interesting News About Hercule Poirot
During Autumn 2013, the Managing Director of the Christie rights management company called Acorn Productions Ltd/Agatha Christie Ltd in the UK decided to allow a new Hercule Poirot mystery to be written by an authoress other than Dame Agatha Christie.
This seems to go against Dame Agatha's final wishes that Hercule Poirot die when she did. In fact, she wrote Curtain, discussed further below, many years before it was published. Containing the death and final case of the Belgian detective with the mustaches, Christie wrote it especially for release upon her death.
Many of the rights to her works had passed to her son, but the UK management company seems to be in charge at present. Fans will be delighted at the new installment due during the autumn of 2014, written by Sophie Hannah. She has written crime fiction for the US and UK, as well as poetry and children's literature.
I sincerely hope that Poirot is Poirot-ish enough in 2014. Does he return from the dead, or will this be a new timeline? I look forward to reading the new novel.
What Now, Indeed?
An Unexpected End
It is a coincidence that I ran upon this question a day after I finished reading the final installment of a popular long-lived mystery series. The gist of the question here is exactly what I thought; What now? This book is so good and so full of complex yet entertaining mysteries, that I am doubly at odds with the ending. What now, indeed!
Having been immersed to the knees in workforce materials and scientific/mathematical texts for years, I'd had little time until recently for all I had wanted to consume in one of my favorite literature genres, the mystery novel. This is especially the case with the deductive reasoning approach employed in many stories.
I only began reading Agatha Christie a couple of years ago, and have yet never seen one of the the movies starring M. Hercule Poirot. Since I've reached the end of the line with his cases, I shall have to go out and find the films.
Unlike the generous estate of Sir Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle, which contracts with and allows many other writers to weave tales of Holmes and Watson, there is no parallel in the case of Hercule Poirot. So I am left with, What now? There had been 33 novels and some stories of this detective, but to me, there should have been double that number.What to do? Many new mysteries series in the 21st century are pretty cookie-cutter in nature. It won't do.
I'd only just begun to be intigued and entertained. However, the last case was quite a good puzzle and new readers should appreciate it very much.
News has surfaced that two unpublished Poirot manuscripts were uncovered recently and that they were published in late 2009. Thus, we have two more cases.
Dealing with the End
Agatha Christie died just 5 months after the death of Hercule Poirot in literature.
The New York Times went so far as to publish a front page obituary for M. Poirot's demise of August, 6, 1975 at the time of the relase of Curtain, his last case. I have never seen this page, but continue to search for it.
Christie had written the manuscript of Curtain some 30 years earlier, during World War II and saved it for the end, wishing it to coincide with her own death. It would be the final curtain - no more Hercule Poirot, no one to write up any more of his cases.
According to an actual timeline, Poirot would have been about 136 years old during his last case. This is similar to The Cat Who mysteries, in which the detective Qwilleran begins as a WWII foreign correspondent in his 40s, but works well into the first decade of the 2000s and is still 50-ish. No pastiche has arisen in that line, either.
I suppose it's similar to favorite TV shows (few) that have ceased broadcasting and left viewers feeling lonely and disappointed. If we had enough good friendships and satisfiying work places, perhaps this would not be so; but, we may lack all those and become attached to television and book characters instead - or Internet game characters. Before us, folks were attached to radio and comic book heroes. We have to find something else to interest us when our favorites are gone. I wonder if anyone dies when their favorite TV show goes off the air?
Poirot's Later Days
New Storylines are Possible
In Christie's Curtain, I was not expecting the famous detective to die. In some ways, it is a strange story aside from the fact of Poirot's death before the mystery is finally solved. The book is full of references to old age and deja vu and is quite spooky in that vein. Styles is the locale of both Poirot's first (The Mysterious Affair at Styles) and last cases many years apart, and of his death. It is not a happy place, this latter Styles. In fact, it has begun to fall apart and so has Poirot.
The storyline leaves the Belgian detective's old friend, widower Captain John Hastings, with a posthumous letter from Poirot. The detective's letter instructs John to go and find Elizabeth Cole, nee Litchfield, a victim of one of the series of unfortunate disturbances in the book. The really entertaining phrasing in the letter is "Take a train, or a car, or a series of buses..." We don't know if John went, but we hope he did. Curtain's ending leaves open the possibility that Captain Hastings and Elizabeth might meet again - perhaps court, wed, and go on to solve crimes together, perhaps in the tradition of Nick and Nora Charles or Hart to Hart.
John and Elizabeth might join forces with John's scientist daughter Judith Hastings and her new husband, Dr. Franklin, also involved in the murders and plagues of the aging Styles Court. This is enough foundation for several mystery novels set in the last quarter of the 20th Century.
Alas, thus far nothing has occurred along this line, nor has Poirot been resurrected in the fashion of Sherlock Holmes in The Case of the Empty House. Nothing has been contracted with the Christie Estate in the vein of Poirot, and one does not know whether it will ever be considered. It seems pretty well set that Dame Agatha did not want others to make money from her own creation in the future; she said as much I can understand that. But I don't like running out of Poirot.
In Curtain, the aging Poirot is afflicted with arthritis and a heart condition, possibly accompanied by other maladies. He sits in a wheelchair. His hair looks different - does he dye his hair?
His mustachios - can one dye those as well?
Wait, did we see him limping down a hallway or was that another dying man - there are so many in this story?
Read several of the Poirot cases before you read this final affair at Styles. But do read it - and beware of the wheelchair that does not tell the whole truth.
My favorite Poirot is David Sachet.
David Suchet, Dame Agatha Christie. and M. Hercule Poirot
The First Poirot Case: The Affair At Styles
Curtain, Poirot's Official Last Case
© 2009 Patty Inglish MS