Essay: “The Celebrate Poirot” in Mystery Scene

Mystery Scene has just updated an older essay I did on Agatha Christie’s famed detective Hercule Poirot; the original appeared in the online journal, but I’m glad to see it get new life and a fresh audience in print—and such a beautiful layout with great archival photos!

Here are the opening paragraphs:

Our collective image of Agatha Christie’s famous detective, Hercule Poirot, started with the mystery stories themselves—33 novels in all, as well as 65 short stories. Poirot has also, of course, stepped off the printed page and into films, plays, radio presentations, and television productions. In the last 40 years, we’ve seen Albert Finney’s brilliant portrayal in 1974’s Murder on the Orient Express and rotund Peter Ustinov’s roll through Hollywoodizations of Death on the Nile Evil Under the Sun (1982), and Appointment with Death (1988), not to mention the subsequent television films. And, of course, starting in 1989 and continuing to the present day is the very popular Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot starring the superlative actor David Suchet in a lavishly produced series of television films. 

But Christie fans may best remember the first description of the mastermind detective in her debut novel, 1920’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles: “Poirot was an extraordinary looking little man. He was hardly more than five feet, four inches, but carried himself with great dignity. His head was exactly the shape of an egg, and he always perched it a little on one side. His moustache was very stiff and military. The neatness of his attire was almost incredible, I believe a speck of dust would have caused him more pain than a bullet wound.”

Check out the full issue’s contents here and pick up a copy at newsstands now.

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