THE POPULARITY OF Agatha Christie’s debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, and the public enthusiasm for its hero, dapper Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, prompted Bruce Ingram, editor of London-based society magazine The Sketch: A Journal of Art and Actuality, to offer the author a contract for a series of twelve short stories.
When they finished, they had proved so popular that Ingram asked for a second round — another twelve.
Then, the following year, Christie wrote a third set of twelve Hercule Poirot stories for The Sketch — this time arranged as a serial novel, The Man Who Was Number Four, which she later rewrote into her seventh novel, The Big Four.
It is these early Poirot short stories, written and published in 1923 and 1924, that are collected in this book.
BY THE END of this third series, Christie had Poirot retired and Hastings married off, and clearly intended for that to be the end of it; but, fortunately for us, she brought him out of retirement in 1926 with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and he went on to become one of fiction’s most beloved characters ...
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