Monday, December 21, 2009

Agatha Christie 1st Edition Facsimiles

This was supposed to be a simple post about the wonderful Agatha Christie facsimile editions being published by HarperCollins, but once we started writing about Christie’s mysteries the words flowed like sherry. We decided to stick to Christie of the printed page here, and will do a future post on Christie adaptations for television, another subject dear to our hearts. We aren’t sure how we remained so oblivious to these facsimiles for so long. The first batch was published in 2005. They only came to our attention recently. We have had to play catch up, and despite a ruinous exchange rate, bundles from Britain began arriving regularly. Unfortunately, several are officially ‘sold out,’ the few copies in circulation selling at ridiculous prices. We are delighted with those we’ve been able to get our hands on, though. We thought maybe there might be one or two people out there, who like us, didn’t know these existed, so created this post as a public service announcement. The facsimiles are like a dream come true, then, with original dust cover art reproduced from the Christie family’s own archives. We also of course enjoy the period features, such as Christie’s original dedications, advertisements for other contemporary mysteries, and the amazingly short list of “other books by this author” inside early works like Murder on the Links. It was a pleasure to donate our paperback copies to the SPCA fundraiser book sale (where maybe they will strike the fancy of potential new Christie fans?). Now, if only they will reprint more of the sold out volumes, and if someone would do the same for Dorothy Sayers, P.G. Woodhouse, and E.F. Benson (We don’t ask for much…!).
Brief background Agatha Christie’s first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, appeared in 1920. Set during the Great War, it’s narrated by Arthur Hastings and features Hercule Poirot as the detective in the Sherlock-Holmes-Watson tradition. Her second novel, The Secret Adversary, published in 1922, takes place in the immediate postwar period and features Tommy Beresford and Prudence “Tuppence” Cowley. Her works (mostly the short stories, but some novels as well) appeared in major magazines, like Ladies Home Journal, Colliers, and The Saturday Evening Post, as well as newspapers. For instance, The Secret Adversary ran in numerous rural newspapers in the US between May and December 1923. Agatha Christie mystery novels and short story collections published in the 1920s & 1930s
This is complicated; we’ve tried to simplify it here. For example, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas was actually released in December, 1938 but its copyright date is 1939. We listed it under the copyright date. More detailed information about the publication dates, etc. can be found in Agatha Christie reference works such as Agatha Christie: A reader’s Companion by Vanessa Wagstaff and Stephen Poole. Sometimes there was a difference in the UK and US publication date, and some works had different titles for the U.S. edition. Though we’re in the U.S., ours are the British editions, so we are going by those publication dates titles. If applicable, we’ll list the U.S. title in parenthesis. Novels 1920. The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Poirot) 1922. The Secret Adversary (Tommy & Tuppence) 1923. Murder on the Links (Poirot) 1924. The Man in the Brown Suit 1925. The Secret of Chimneys 1926. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Poirot) 1927. The Big Four (Poirot) 1928. The Mystery of the Blue Train (Poirot) 1929. The Seven Dials Mystery 1930. Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple) 1931. The Murder at Hazelmoor (US: The Sittaford Mystery) (Miss Marple) 1932. Peril at End House (Poirot) 1933. Lord Edgeware Dies (US: Thirteen at Dinner) (Poirot) 1933. Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (US: The Boomerang Clue) 1934. Murder on the Orient Express (US: Murder on the Calais Coach) (Poirot) 1935. Three Act Tragedy (US: Murder in Three Acts) (Poirot) 1935. Death in the Clouds (US: Death in the Air) (Poirot) 1936. The A.B.C. Murders (US: The Alphabet Murders) (Poirot) 1936. Murder in Mesopotamia (Poirot) 1936. Cards on the Table (Poirot) 1937. Dumb Witness (Poirot) (US: Poirot Loses a Client) 1937. Death on the Nile (Poirot) 1938. Appointment with Death (Poirot) 1939. Hercule Poirot's Christmas (US: Murder for Christmas) (Poirot) 1939. Murder is Easy (US: Easy to Kill) 1939. Ten Little N-----s (US: And Then There Were None)

Short Stories Many of the short stories, having appeared in a magazine or newspaper, would later be published as a collection, although in some instances with different titles than those used in the periodical version, and the plots may have been altered and/or expanded. So, the stories within a collection would typically have been written earlier than the publication date of the book. Some stories were not collected until decades after they were written (we sorted those out and will note them separately below). Some of the collections were not released in the UK, and vice versa – we’ve noted those too. 1924. Poirot Investigates (Poirot) All of these stories had first appeared in a UK magazine in 1923. The US edition of Poirot Investigates, published in 1925, also included "The Chocolate Box," "The Veiled Lady," and "The Lost Mine." These stories had appeared in the US in a magazine between 1923 and 1925. 1929. Partners in Crime (Tommy & Tuppence) The stories had appeared in UK magazines between 1923 and 1928.

1930. The Mysterious Mr. Quin For the most part, these stories had been published in UK magazines between 1923 and 1929, and in US magazines between 1925 and 1929.
1932. Thirteen Problems (US: The Tuesday Club Murders) (Miss Marple) These stories, with the exception of “The Four Suspects,” had first appeared in UK magazines between 1927 and 1931 – most, therefore, predating the first novel-length appearance of Miss Marple in 1930’s Murder at the Vicarage. “The Four Suspects” appeared in the US in 1930. 1933. The Hound of Death (UK only) (Crime Club edition: 1936) This collection was first available only by sending in coupons from a weekly magazine called The Passing Show. It was first available in stores in 1936. A few of the stories (Red Signal, Fourth Man, Wireless, Blue Jar, Last Séance, and SOS) had appeared in UK magazines between 1924 and 1927. “The Witness for the Prosecution” appeared in a US magazine in 1925; "The Last Séance” appeared in the US in 1926. 1934. The Listerdale Mystery (UK only) The stories from this collection appeared in UK magazines between 1924 and 1929. 1934. Parker Pyne Investigates (US: Mr. Parker Pyne, Detective) These stories, with one exception, appeared in magazines between 1932 and 1933. The original publication of “The Case of the Middle Aged Wife” is not known (by us - someone may know). 1937. Murder in the Mews (US: Dead Man’s Mirror) (Poirot) Versions of these stories had previously appeared in magazines and newspapers. “Murder in the Mews” in 1936; “The Incredible Theft” was based on a story that had appeared in 1923, “The Submarine Plans;” “Deadman’s Mirror” (as “The Second Gong”), in 1932, and “Triangle at Rhodes” (as “Poirot and the Triangle at Rhodes”) in 1936. The US edition did not include "The Incredible Theft." 1939. The Regatta Mystery (US Only) (Poirot, Miss Marple, Parker Pyne) These stories had previously appeared in US magazines between 1932 and 1937. “Miss Marple Tells a Story” also appeared in the UK as a BBC radio play in 1934.

Is That All There Is? No! We created the list above for those who might wish to create an authentic 1920s/1930s library. But Christie wrote many other short stories during that time that contemporary readers would have had access to in magazines and newspaper supplements and/or mystery anthologies. Some of these Art Deco era stories were collected into books in later decades, as follows: 1947. The Labors of Hercules Stories in this collection, with the exception of “The Capture of Cerberus,” were previously published in the UK in The Strand magazine in late 1939 and 1940.In the US, they appeared in a magazine called This Week that ran in the L.A. Times and other newspapers, and in Ellery Queen magazine between 1939 and 1947. “The Lernaean Hydra” (as “Invisible Enemy”), “The Girdle of Hyppolita” (as “The Disappearance of Winnie King”), “The Stymphalean Birds” (as “The Vulture Women”) and “The Cretan Bull” (as “Midnight Madness”) ran in This Week in September 1939.

1948. The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories (US only) The stories in this volume, with one exception, appeared in the UK in The Hound of Death and The Listerdale Mystery. “The Second Gong,” had appeared in magazines in 1932 and was later reworked and expanded as “Dead Man’s Mirror” for the Murder in the Mews collection in 1937. 1950. Three Blind Mice and Other Stories (US only) This collection contains three stories from the 1920s: “The Adventure of Johnny Waverly” (1923); “The Love Detectives” (1926); and “The Third Floor Flat” (1929). The others date to the 1940s. 1951. The Underdog (US only) (Poirot) These stories appeared in UK and US magazines between 1923 and 1926. The plot of “The Plymouth Express” was later reworked as The Mystery of the Blue Train in 1928, as noted above, “The Submarine Plans” story was reworked as "The Incredible Theft" for The Murder in the Mews collection in 1937.

1960. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and a Selection of Entrées (UK only) Five stories in this collection are 20s-30s era: “The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding” first appeared (in a shorter version) in a magazine in 1923; “The Underdog” and “Four and Twenty Blackbirds” date to 1926; The Mystery of the Spanish Chest is an expanded/reworked version of the “Mystery of the Bagdad Chest,” dating to 1932 and had appeared in the US in the 1939 Regatta Mystery collection, as had “The Dream.” The final story, “Greenshaw’s Folly,” is more modern. 1961. Double Sin and Other Stories (US only) One of the stories in this collection, “The Last Séance,” appeared in The Hound of Death collection in 1933. “Double Clue” (where Poirot meets Countess Vera Rossakoff) is from 1925; “The Wasp’s Nest” dates to 1929, and The Theft of the Royal Ruby” (as “The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding”) dates to 1923 as noted above). The others are more modern. 1971. The Golden Ball and Other Stories (US only) With one exception, the stories in this collection appeared previously in 1934’s The Listerdale Mystery collection of 1934 and The Hound of Death from 1933 (see above for details). “Next to a Dog” dates to 1929. 1974. Poirot's Early Cases (US: Hercule Poirot's Early Cases) The stories in this collection were written between 1923 and 1935. “The Veiled Lady,” “The Lost Mine,” and “The Chocolate Box” had appeared in the US version of Poirot Investigates in 1924; The Problem at Sea” and “How does Your Garden Grow” were in 1939’s The Regatta Mystery. 1979. Miss Marple's Final Cases and Two Other Stories “Miss Marple Tells a Story” and “In a Glass Darkly” date to 1934. The others are more modern. 1984. Hercule Poirot's Casebook This collection contains Deco era stories that were included in pervious collections, as well as some later ones from The Labors of Hercules collection. 1991. Problem at Pollensa Bay and Other Stories (UK only). With one possible exception, the stories in this collection were published between 1926 and 1937. The date of “The Harlequin Tea Set” is not known for sure. 1997. While The Light Lasts (US: The Harlequin Tea Set) These volumes contain similar stories that, with one possible exception, were originally published between 1923 and 1935. The UK collection includes “A Christmas Adventure,” a reworking of “The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding.”

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