Thirty-eight years after Herceule Poirot’s death in Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case, a fully-authorised new Poirot novel is in the works. The new novel, penned by crime novelist Sophie Hannah will be published worldwide in September 2014.
She won approval after presenting a detailed 100-page outline to the publishers and Christie estate.
Mathew Prichard, Agatha Christie’s grandson and Chairman of Agatha Christie Limited said:
‘It was pure serendipity that led to Sophie Hannah being commissioned to write this book. Her agent happened to approach Harper Collins in exactly the same week that my colleagues and I had 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.’
The book will be set roughly between The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928) and Peril at End House (1932).
The last Poirot novel was actually written during the early years of WWII, along with the final book in the Miss Marple series, Sleeping Murder. Christie feared she may be killed in the air-raids in London in 1939 and placed both manuscripts in a bomb-proof vault in a bank. She authorised the publication of Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case in 1975, the year before her death.
Despite writing 33 Poirot novels, Agatha Christie was heartily sick of him, calling him a “detestable, bombastic, tiresome, ego-centric little creep.” In a long-lost essay written in the 1930’s, she warned “I would give one piece of advice to young detective writers: be very careful what central character you create – you may have him with you for a very long time!”
Sophie Hannah knows she has some rather large shoes to fill, saying “it was Christie’s brilliant plotting and deep understanding of the human psyche that shaped my identity as a crime writer. Therefore, it is almost impossible to put into words how honoured I am to have been entrusted with this amazing project – in fact, I still can’t quite believe that this is really happening!”