Hercule Poirot in literature

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This page details the books featuring the fictional character Hercule Poirot.

Hercule Poirot and Fictional Canon[edit]

The sets of rules involving "official" details of the "lives" and "works" of fictional characters vary from one fictional universe to the next according to the canon established by critics and/or enthusiasts. Some fans of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot have proposed that the novels are set on the date they were published, unless the novel itself gives a different date. It has further been proposed that only works written by her (including short stories, the novels and her play Black Coffee) are to be considered canon by most fans and biographers. This would render everything else (plays, movies, television adaptations, etc.) as an adaptation, or secondary material. A contradiction between the novels can be resolved, in most cases, by going with the novel that was published first.

An example of this would be the ongoing controversy over Poirot's age. Taken at face value it appears that Poirot was over 125 years old when he died. Though the majority of the Hercule Poirot novels are set between World War I and World War II, the later novels then set him in the 1960s (which is contemporary with the time Agatha Christie was writing even though it created minor discrepancies). Many people believe, from her later works, that Poirot retired from police work at around 50, but this is untrue, because as shown in the short story "The Chocolate Box", he retired at around 30. By accepting the date given in "The Chocolate Box" over later novels, which never gave precise ages anyway, it can be explained why Poirot is around for so long.

Also the debate over Poirot’s family is fuelled mainly by the fact that he mentions a sister in the original publication of "The Chocolate Box" but for some reason this reference was removed from the later editions.

The Poirot books are still under copyright. The Mysterious Affair at Styles is now Public domain in the US but will not become Public domain in the UK until 2020. Christie's grandson, Matthew Prichard, now owns the royalties to his grandmother's works.

In 2014, the Christie estate authorized author Sophie Hannah to write a new Poirot book, The Monogram Murders.

Publication order[edit]

Short story collections listed as "ss"

  1. The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
  2. The Murder on the Links (1923)
  3. Poirot Investigates (1924, ss)
  4. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)
  5. The Big Four (1927)
  6. The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928)
  7. Black Coffee (1930 play - novel adapted from play published in 1998)
  8. Peril at End House (1932)
  9. Lord Edgware Dies (1933) also published as Thirteen at Dinner
  10. Murder on the Orient Express (1934) also published as Murder in the Calais Coach
  11. Three Act Tragedy (1935) also published as Murder in Three Acts
  12. Death in the Clouds (1935) also published as Death in the Air
  13. The A.B.C. Murders (1936)
  14. Murder in Mesopotamia (1936)
  15. Cards on the Table (1936)
  16. Dumb Witness (1937) also published as Poirot Loses a Client
  17. Death on the Nile (1937)
  18. Murder in the Mews (1937, ss) also published as Dead Man's Mirror
  19. Appointment with Death (1938)
  20. Hercule Poirot's Christmas (1938) also published as Murder for Christmas and as A Holiday for Murder
  21. The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories (1939, ss)
  22. Sad Cypress (1940)
  23. One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (1940) also published as Overdose of Death and as The Patriotic Murders
  24. Evil Under the Sun (1941)
  25. Five Little Pigs (1942) also published as Murder in Retrospect
  26. The Hollow (1946) also published as Murder after Hours
  27. The Labours of Hercules (1947, ss)
  28. Taken at the Flood (1948) also published as There Is a Tide
  29. The Under Dog and Other Stories (1951, ss)
  30. Mrs McGinty's Dead (1952) also published as Blood Will Tell
  31. After the Funeral (1953) also published as Funerals are Fatal
  32. Hickory Dickory Dock (1955) also published as Hickory Dickory Death
  33. Dead Man's Folly (1956)
  34. Cat Among the Pigeons (1959)
  35. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (1960, ss)
  36. Double Sin and Other Stories (1961, ss)
  37. The Clocks (1963)
  38. Third Girl (1966)
  39. Hallowe'en Party (1969)
  40. Elephants Can Remember (1972)
  41. Poirot's Early Cases (1974, ss)
  42. Curtain (written about 1940, published 1975)
  43. Problem at Pollensa Bay and Other Stories (1991, ss)
  44. The Harlequin Tea Set (1997, ss)
  45. While the Light Lasts and Other Stories (1997, ss)

Continuation novels[edit]

  1. The Monogram Murders (2014, written by Sophie Hannah)

Books in chronological order[edit]

Poirot's police years[edit]

Career as a private detective and retirement[edit]

Shortly after Poirot flees to England (1916-1918)[edit]

The Twenties (1920-1929)[edit]

Poirot settles down in London and opens a private detective agency. These are the short story years (25 short stories and only 4 novels).

The Thirties (1930-1939)[edit]

Christie increased her novel production during this time (14 novels, 21 total short stories and one theatre play). 12 short stories form The Labours of Hercules. The other short stories listed here take place in this period but were published before and after the publication of Hercules. The theatre play is named Black Coffee and was written by Agatha Christie, who stated a frustration with other stage adaptations of her Poirot mysteries. In 1998, author Charles Osborne adapted the play into a novel.

Post World War II[edit]

A new detective, Miss Marple, enters the stage and Hercule Poirot mysteries become rare. In 36 years Agatha Christie wrote only 13 novels and one short story.

Posthumous[edit]

  • Curtain, Hercule Poirot's last case (published in 1975)
  • The Monogram Murders, written by Sophie Hannah (published in 2014)

Expanded/Adapted stories[edit]

Some Poirot adventures were later expanded into other stories or re-written. They are:

Drama[edit]

Other stories were adapted by Christie into plays, sometimes removing Poirot:

In addition, the 1930 play Black Coffee was novelized by Charles Osborne in 1998.

Other stories set in Poirot's universe[edit]

References[edit]