What makes Agatha Christie's novels so popular

Hercule Poirot

 


by Ceska Soda

 

He is described by Agatha Christie as a small, plump man (under 165 cm) with an egg-shaped head and a sharp, logical, functioning mind and an exaggerated sense of order. He has a penchant for perfection and loves straight shapes. His love for elegance, beauty and precision, as well as his eccentric idiosyncrasies are often ridiculed by the local bumbling police officers, but it is always Poirot who has the last word.

Agatha Christie never thought how popular Poirot would become, nor how many stories she would write about him. He plays in 33 novels and 54 short stories, including some of Christie's most successful titles such as Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile.

Order and method are his gods. He is without a doubt a head person who follows his goal of exposing the criminal in an absolutely straightforward manner.

The gray cells made him famous and enabled him to solve the most complicated cases.

"A strange little man with a huge mustache". "....... his clothes are always so flawless, as if a single grain of sand could cause him more pain than a cannonball".

His ego is considered to be extremely large, so he prides himself on not having made any mistakes in his career as a detective. Once, he interjects, when he was still with the Belgian police, he was unable to solve a case properly and misjudged a situation. But he corrected this mistake years later. Poirot is never wrong.

The story begins in 1917 during the First World War (1914-1918). After Poirot leaves the Belgian police as a pensioner, the German occupiers invade neutral Belgium. They destroy large parts of the country, they are accused of some atrocities and go down in history as the "Rape of Belgium".
The population seeks their salvation in flight and tries to get through to allies such as the British. Great Britain takes in many Belgians.

Poirot and seven of his compatriots flee into exile to Leastways, Styles St. Mary, Essex / England. There he finds a patroness in Mrs. Ingelethorp.

Here he meets his friend Athur Hastings by fate or by fate, who, as a war wounded lieutenant, is spending his convalescent leave in "Styles" St. Mary, the Cavendish family's country house. Mrs. Ingelethorpe is the stepmother of John Cavendish, Athur Hastings' childhood friend.
 
How both Poirot and Hastings meet for the first time is only mentioned in passing, the reader only learns that they know each other from Belgium, where Poirot was solving a case. Hastings describes Poirot as a dandy, always dressed meticulously from head to leg, with emerald green eyes that change color depending on the mood. This probably explains why Poirot is often not taken seriously by the population and is often perceived as a hairdresser.

Due to his demeanor and his graceful, accented pronunciation, he is often taken for a French, he always tries to correct this mistake immediately. He is happy to be Belgian. His mustache, which he especially cherishes and cares for, is his whole pride, he brushes and waxes it, brings it into shape. Very soon it will become his most prominent trademark.

He smokes perfumed Russian cigarillos and likes to drink juices (thick juice: créme banana), tisane (barley stock, herbal stock), liqueur (syrup de cassis), crème de menthe (sweet with peppermint flavor), hot chocolate, coffee. He avoids English tea and whiskey wherever he can

The first case, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was Agatha Christie's first novel, which she wrote in 1916 while working as a volunteer nurse. It can be assumed that this novel was written for more than a year, since the times (days, weeks, months) in the novel are precisely applicable to the year 1917. For example, “July 16 fell on a Monday.” Or “Tuesday, July 24 ...” Both are only valid for the year 1917

 


Even then, she describes Poirot as an older gentleman, but he will accompany her work for three decades.

At this point it should be said that Agatha Christie was only 26 years old and anyone between 40 and 50 was older for her. Assuming 1865 as the fictional year of Poirot's birth, he was 52 years old when he retired from the Belgian police force. Not so absurd when you look at the circumstances of the time. Of course, Poirot had to be a sedate middle-aged gentleman, for life experience was a defining characteristic of this figure. Since "curtain" means the end of Poirot and this novel was written in 1945, Hercule Poirot was 80 years old.

His ambition is to retire in the country, far from London, where he would like to grow pumpkins in a small symmetrical house with a garden. In fact, he is trying to take up this hobby in his temporary retirement in his house "The Larches" in King's Abbot. However, this is not very satisfactory as pumpkins do not follow logic. The case "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd / Alibi" (1926) lets him quickly forget country life. He moves back to London, ending his early retirement. This novel is considered a milestone in detective story history, it is referred to as Agatha Christie's masterpiece.

He and Hastings move to 14 Farraway Street in London, then to Whitehaven Mansions, Park Lane London.

His last Fall Curtain (curtain) also takes place in the country house "Styles" St.Mary. Agatha Christie wrote this novel in the 1940s and left it in the safe for 30 years. It was only to be published after her death.

In 1975 the book was published while she was still alive, since a novel came out every year. Agatha Christie, but in poor health, wrote nothing. Agatha Christie died a year later, a year after her detective, so to speak.

Agatha Christie wrote 33 novels and many short stories with the little Belgian master detective.
This list is intended to give an overview (by year of publication) of your work:

  1. The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920) Roman deut. The Mysterious Crime in Styles (1929) or The Missing Link in the Chain (1959) / Film: A Family Is Under Suspicion (1989)
  2. The Plymouth Express (1923) / The Murder on the Plymouth Express, short story
  3. The Murder of Links (1923) Novel / Murder on the Golf Course
  4. Poirot investigates (1924) deut. Poirot accounts (1924), collection of short stories
  5. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) Alibi or The Murder of Roger Ackroyd or Roger Ackryd and his killer, novel
  6. The Big Four (1927), The Big Four, novel compiled from short stories that have already been published
  7. The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928) / The Blue Express, novel based on the short story of the Plymouth Express (1923)
  8. Peril at End House (1932) / The house on the dune, novel
  9. Lord Edgware dies / Thirteen at Dinner (1933) / Thirteen at the table, novel
  10. Murder on the Orient Express / Murder in the Calais Coach (USA), (1934) / Mord im Orientexpress or Die Frau im Kimono or Der Rote Kimono, Roman
  11. Three Act Tragedy / Murder in Three Acts (USA), (1934) / Nicotin, Roman
  12. Death in the Clouds / Death in the Air (USA), (1935) / Tod in den Wolken, novel
  13. The ABC Murders, 1936, The ABC Murders or The ABC Timetable or Murder According to the Timetable, novel
  14. Cards on the Table, 1936 / With cards open or cards on the table, novel
  15. Murder in Mesopotamia, 1936 / Murder in Mesopotamia or A Woman in Peril, Roman
  16. Death on the Nile, 1937 / Death on the Nile novel
  17. Dumb Witness / Poirot Loses a Client, 1937 / The dog playing ball, novel
  18. Murder in the Mews and three other Poirot Cases, 1937 / Hercule Poirot never sleeps, short story collection
  19. Appointment with Death, 1938 / Death is waiting or Rendezvous with a corpse, Roman
  20. Hercule Poirot's Christmas / Murder for Christmas / A Holiday for Murder1938 / Hercule Poirot's Christmas, Roman
  21. Sad Cypress, 1940 / Morphine, novel
  22. One, two, Buckle my Shoe / The Patriotic Murders, 1940 / The Secret of Buckle Shoes, Roman
  23. Evil Under the Sun 1941 / The Evil Under the Sun or Riddle of Arlena, novel
  24. Five Little Pigs / Murder in Retrospect, 1942 / The unfinished portrait, novel
  25. The Hollow / Murder after Hours, 1946 / Das Eulenhaus, Roman
  26. The Labor of Hercules, 1947 / The Labor of Hercules, collection of short stories
  27. Taken at the Flood / There is a Tide, 1948 / The death vortex, novel
  28. Mrs. McGinty's Dead / Blood will Tell, 1951 / Four women and a murder, novel
  29. After the Funeral / Funerals are Fatal, 1953 / The wax bouquet, Roman
  30. Hickory, Dickory, Dock / Hickory, Dickory, Death, 1955 / The Kleptomaniac, Roman
  31. Dead Man's Folly, 1956 / Reunion with Mrs. Oliver, Roman
  32. Cat Among the Pigeons, 1959 / The cat in the dovecote, novel
  33. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, 1960 / A diplomatic incident or Poirot's Christmas short story collection
  34. The Clocks, 1963 / On a double track, novel
  35. Third Girl, 1966 / The Forgetful Killer, novel
  36. Hallowe'en Party, 1969 / The Snow White Party, Roman
  37. Elephants can Remember, 1972 / Elephants don't forget, novel
  38. Hercule Poirot's Early Cases / Poirot's Early Cases, 1974 / Poirot's first cases, collection of short stories
  39. Curtain, 1975 / Curtain, Roman
  40. Problem at Pollensa Bay and Other Stories, 1991 / Die Murderische Teerunde, collection of short stories

Poirot is getting on in years so the last "curtain" falls in 1975

• Murder on the golf course(1923)
• Alibi(1926) 
• The big four(1927) 
• The blue express(1928) 
• The house on the dune(1932) 
• Thirteen at table(1933) 
• Murder on the Orient Express(1934) 
• nicotine(1935) • 
• Death in the clouds(1935) 
• The murders of Mr. ABC(1936) 
• Murder in Mesopotamia(1936)
• With open cards(1936) 
• Death on the Nile(1937) 
• The dog playing ball(1937) 
• Death is waiting(1938) 
• Hercule Poirot's Christmas(1938) 
• morphine(1940) 
• The secret of the buckle shoes(1940) 
• Evil under the sun(1941) 
• The unfinished portrait(1942) 
• The owl house(1946) 
• The vortex of death(1948) 
• Four women and one murder(1951) 
• The wax bouquet(1953) 
• The kleptomaniac(1955) 
• Reunion with Mrs. Oliver(1956) 
• The cat in the dovecote(1959) 
• On a double track(1963) 
• The forgetful murderess(1966) 
• The Snow White Party(1969) 
• Elephants don't forget(1972) 
• curtain(1975)