Poirot set to return in new novel
Hercule Poirot is being resurrected for a new novel after Agatha Christie's family signed up poet-turned-crime writer Sophie Hannah to breathe new life into the Belgian detective.
The as yet untitled book, which will be published next September, comes more than 90 years after Christie introduced Poirot in her first novel The Mysterious Affair At Styles.
Christie's grandson Mathew Prichard said: "It was pure serendipity that led to Sophie Hannah being commissioned to write this book.
"Her agent happened to approach HarperCollins 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."
Hannah, whose psychological crime fiction is published in 24 countries, said Christie was the writer who made her "fall in love with mystery fiction" when she was 13.
She said: "I read and collected all her novels within a year, and have been a passionately - some might even say obsessively - devoted fan ever since.
"It was Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple who, between them, made me want to devote my working life to crime fiction, and 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! I hope to create a puzzle that will confound and frustrate the incomparable Hercule Poirot for at least a good few chapters."
Two of the Cambridge-based writer's novels have been adapted for television and her poetry collection, Pessimism For Beginners, was shortlisted for the 2007 TS Eliot Award. Christie, who died in 1976, has sold more than two billion books which have been adapted countless times for the stage, television and film.
Poirot is not the first fictional character to develop a life after the death of their creator - a new Jeeves and Wooster novel is due out this year written by Sebastian Faulks, who is one of several writers to pen a James Bond novel.