Talk:Agatha Christie

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Former good article Agatha Christie was one of the Language and literature good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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The previous discussions have been archived [[Talk:Agatha_Christie/Archive_1|he--Calimero54 (talk) 21:17, 23 January 2011 (UTC)re]] as per Wikipedia’s talk archiving policies. Wikieditors are invited to peruse the archive before starting a new discussion to determine if any issue of interest is dealt with therein. This current Talk page is for starting new discussions not covered in the archive, or for re-visiting older issues. The archive itself is not to be edited. Happy reading!— SpikeToronto (talk) 19:04, 22 August 2009 (UTC)


56 languages must be an underestimate of translation number[edit]

The article says that Christie's works have been translated into at least 56 languages; this is surely an underestimate. According the Index Translationum, she is the most translated individual fiction author in the world. Since the works of Paulo Coelho have been translated into more than 60 languages and - as the article on Enid Blyton says - Enid Blyton's works have been translated into nearly 80 languages, Christie, who I believe continues to hold this record, must have had her works translated into higher figures than these. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 16:45, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

The phrase "at least 56 languages" (my emphasis) appears to be a deliberately conservative estimate. If we can find a reliable source giving a higher number, then terrific; otherwise, the "at least" part makes it factual, anyway. Rivertorch (talk) 18:38, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

Max Mallowan's (Alleged) Affairs[edit]

Alzheimer’s Disease[edit]

There has been a recent addition to the article that Chrisite suffered from Alzheimer’s at the end of her life. However, the source given does not say that. Thus, I have added the {{Failed verification}} template to both the body of the article and the reference in question. Moreover, her very recent biographer, Laura Thompson, makes no mention of this notwithstanding full and complete access to all of the family’s papers, etc., and extensive interviews with family and colleagues (see Thompson, Laura. Agatha Christie: An English Mystery. Headline Review. 2007). — SpikeToronto (talk) 05:30, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Spike, do you have access to Orlando—i.e., does the source not say that or does the linked page not say that? The detailed pages on the site in question are password-protected, so one needs to have access privileges to be sure. The only relevant guideline I can find is here, and it leaves a good bit of wiggle room. The source itself seems reliable enough but I cannot quickly or easily get full access. Rivertorch (talk) 06:54, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
The wikieditor who entered the reference suggests in his/her entry that one could elicit that information from the “overview screen.” Yet, I could not deduce any such evidence from that. Anyone can link to such a subscription-only site and claim that it says such-and-such, confident that virtually no-one else will be able to verify the claim. I realize that one must assume good faith in the edits of other wikieditors, but such a heretofore never heard of claim should be especially verifiable. I cannot find anything that supports the Alzheimer’s claim in Thompson’s biography. Can you find anything in Morgan’s? (Let’s forget about Cade: I suspect that he would claim she drank Kool-Aid™ and ascended to some spaceship behind some planet if it would accrue to him sufficient notoriety and sell some books!) — SpikeToronto (talk) 07:19, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
As you have noted, there are AGF implications. The editor's newbie status might have raised a warning flag, but the addition seemed to be sourced rather meticulously for a hoax (if ultimately unhelpfully). I also thought the claim itself was credible and not disparaging in any way. (Not sure if we should worry about disparagement with dead people, what with the L in BLP, but better safe than sorry). On further consideration, however, I think that unless the Alzheimer theory is very new, it should have been mentioned somewhere other than a registration-only site. And if it is new, it will find its way to a more accessible source very soon. Since it's now tagged, I'd suggest leaving it for at least a few days and seeing if Henrietta Stackpole comes back and has anything to add here. I'll leave a message for Henrietta. Rivertorch (talk) 07:49, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

There are no references in Morgan either. She writes, on page 374 of the 1984 first hardback edition, "Fragile and immensely aged, Agatha became, as the very old sometimes do, more and more like the child she had been eighty years before." She goes on to talk of her being "serene" and at other times "eccentric". Later in the paragraph she states, "She could be as interested and quick-witted as ever...she now greeted her solictor with the words, 'I wonder what has happened to Lord Lucan? From time to time she still pounced on an idea for a plot." None of this seems like a lady with Alzheimer’s to me. If the two biographers who had access to Christie's papers and interviews with her daughter and grandson don't mention it, the probable truth is that she didn't have it, irrespective of what one internet site says. I say remove the wording.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 08:27, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Should I replace the {{Failed verification}} template with the {{Verify source}} template in Henrietta’s citation? However, and in the meantime, I have found some other references that could instead be quoted and cited: See The Telegraph and The Ottawa Citizen. These are citations that do not require registration/subscription to view. I am saddened that this research comes from Canada … Sad-tpvgames.gifSpikeToronto (talk) 18:50, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

I've added the words "may have" into the wording of the article. The wording that was there indicated that the scientist's conclusion was definate but the Ottawa Citizen piece doesn't go that far.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 08:52, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Then, why don’t we insert an actual quote from the Citizen and replace Henrietta’s subscription-only citation with the Citizen citation? — SpikeToronto (talk) 22:45, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Without going into excessive detail, could it also be given some context? ie "Research" is very vague and could be misinterpreted. It could relate to changes of behaviour, but the "research" relates only to examination of her writing style and word-usage and the possibility that the changes may be explained by Alzheimer's. As it reads, it could be incorrectly assumed that stories have emerged about Agatha's day-to-day life, and that does not seem to be the case. (Certainly this type of anecdotal "evidence" should have been turned up by at least one of her biographers.) Another article goes into some detail here and I'm sure there are others. Changing to "may have" was a good move as the original edit seemed to be drawing a conclusion. Rossrs (talk) 23:41, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

To be completely honest, ordinarily I would not have a problem re-writing the section under debate, but I find many-years-later, posthumous diagnoses, especially as they pertain to one’s mental faculties, distasteful. I think that such attempts are little more than pseudo-science and I do not like to lend them credence. This is why I said earlier that I am disappointed that the “research” seems to have come from my home country, Canada. Thus, I elect to be an ostrich placing my finely plumed head in the sand, choosing to ignore this latest theory and am going to leave it to one of you fine fans of the great writer to come up with a delicate, balanced, contextual way to enter the “stuff” into the article, since, I guess, we have a responsibility to do so. <grrr> — SpikeToronto (talk) 23:54, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree with you. I really do not think it belongs where it is, in the biographical/personal life section of the article, because it seems to me that it can never be more than a theory, and one that probably won't be universally accepted. If there was a "legacy" or "cultural impact" and "scholarly analysis" section - (as there is, for example, on today's FA Noël Coward) - it could be included, reliably sourced and with supporting information, as part of the discussion of her work. Given her stature, I'm surprised there isn't more than the very slim "reception" section. This information doesn't belong where it is, but there is nowhere else for it go. I think it's equally possible that an old woman in failing health, who has spent her whole life thinking about plots and writing down ideas, may lack the energy or the motivation she once possessed, and might not write with the same precision that characterised her earlier work. It bothers me that the "research" is analyzing the information and suggesting that the results can only have one cause. It makes me wonder if the research is biased in purposefully searching for clues to Alzheimer's. Rossrs (talk) 04:29, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Been rethinking this today . . . Any number of people may have had Alzheimer's, but unless changes in their cognition or behavior had demonstrable impact on whatever made them notable or otherwise had a major effect on their biographies, it doesn't add anything to our understanding of them. I haven't checked lately, but my understanding has been that Alzheimer's cannot be definitively identified without examination of the brain. If I remember that correctly and it's still the case, and assuming that Christie's brain wasn't examined, then any conclusion drawn by any researcher today can be little better than informed speculation. My sense of it is that if we can't know for sure, and it doesn't really matter since it has little if any bearing on what made Christie notable, then it doesn't need to be in the article. If multiple reliable sources or perhaps one major biography mentioned it, that might be different. But one newspaper article plus a subscription-only Web page that no one here has even read? Boo. Hiss. I say let's delete it and offer a wet towel to poor sand-encrusted Spike, who must be a unique ostrich indeed to have head plumes. Rivertorch (talk) 04:36, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
I also think it should be deleted, and with some urgency, before Spike's plumage is damaged. Clearly it is speculative. Time will tell, but it also has the look of WP:RECENTISM about it. Rossrs (talk) 04:49, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

It was actually three newspaper articles: Ottawa Citizen, Telegraph, and Guardian. I think we should briefly mention it as a mere speculation, allegation, theory. And, we should remove the subscription-only citation. Btw, Rossrs, I think that perhaps the reason there is no section on critical reception of Christie in this article is that there is such a section in the wikiarticles for each of her works. Finally, as for my plumed head, I use my tailfeathers to make a rather fetching hat! All the finest ostriches are wearing them these days!Face-kiss.svgSpikeToronto (talk) 04:54, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

I see what you mean. I didn't realize that. I was thinking of something like Charles Dickens#Legacy or Mary Wollstonecraft#Legacy, because that way any general discussion of her writing could be included, but I am starting to take this off the subject at hand, so it's probably best to leave that for another time. The hat sounds superb, by the way. Take good care of it.  :-) Rossrs (talk) 08:23, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

YesY Done I re-wrote the Alzheimer’s comment as follows:

Recently, using experimental, computerized, textual tools of analysis, Canadian researchers have suggested that Christie may have begun to suffer from Alzheimer's disease or other dementia.

The footnotes are as follows:

I believe that as much as we fans do not want to hear this stuff, we cannot ignore something that was burning up the papers and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. So, I hope that this simple sentence and accompanying references will suffice to have it in the article and provide further reading for those who are interested in such posthumous analysis. — SpikeToronto (talk) 04:17, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

I find the notion that ONE story "burning up the papers" to be taken as fact quite ludicrous. This has nothing to do with "fans not wanting to hear things" although some people are that way, but the fact is that her later books, though more verbose and a bit more loose in style, were nevertheless easy to solve if one followed the clues. Her final book, Postern of Fate, has been of late proven to have been altered by several hands. Also, the fact that she began to use a dictaphone late in life almost certainly contributed to her "looser", more verbose writing style. In the end, it appears to me that she chose to please herself in the writing of her final books, which is perhaps why she flet books such as Passenger to Frankfurt were indeed good books (an opinion I mostly share). We as fans may have wanted a Poirot or a Marple, but AC simply did not feel like writing one. Sorry, but the notion that she was senile may or may not be true, but nothing I have read so far, based on ONE study, seems to carry much if any weight. - Tal1962 (talk) 07:44, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Her name in the lede[edit]

Agatha Mary Clarissa, Lady Mallowan, DBE (née Miller; 15 September 1890  – 12 January 1976), commonly known as Agatha Christie, was an ...

What do we have here? It looks like this written by someone who writes the Court Circular or whatever. It's stuffy and, well, inaccurate. OK, her husband was a knight and thus she was Lady Mallowan. But was she ever known as this except in some very formal contexts? I doubt it. Then, there's the question of her own damehood. We give a passing nod to this by mentioning her DBE postnominal, but what about "Dame" before "Agatha"? It seems that her reflected title Lady Mallowan has somehow taken precedence over the honour she received in her own right. That surely cannot be correct. What I'd like to see is something like this:

Dame Agatha Christie DBE (15 September 1890  – 12 January 1976) was an ...

and then later talk about her full name at birth, her married names, and her formal title Lady Mallowan, which is virtually never used. It certainly doesn't merit a mention in the lede at all, and particularly not the primary name we give her. Besides, if Lady Mallowan were the most appropriate title for her (which it isn't), it would be simply "Lady Mallowan", not "Agatha Mary Clarissa, Lady Mallowan". I might agree with "Lady (Agatha) Mallowan" if it were appropriate to call her Mallowan at all, but it isn't, so I won't. -- JackofOz (talk)

I think if you are being strictly accurate it is Dame Agatha Mallowan as Christie ceased to be her name in 1930 upon her remarriage.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 19:43, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
That sounds plausible, but do we know it to be true? Did she ever call herself "Mrs Mallowan", or, after his knighthood, "Lady Mallowan", or, after her own damehood, "Dame Agatha Mallowan"? She might perhaps have used one or more of these names privately, but to the world at large, and that's who we're writing for here, she was always "Agatha Christie", and later "Dame Agatha Christie". Not all women adopt their new husbands' surnames on remarriage; many retain an earlier husband's surname, or revert to their own maiden name. I've never seen any evidence that Agatha Christie ever used Max Mallowan's surname. We even refer to his widow Barbara as simply "Barbara Mallowan", not the second "Lady Mallowan". -- JackofOz (talk) 00:44, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
I like Jack’s suggested re-write of Christie’s name in the first line of the introduction to the article. As it is now it’s such a clumsy read. — SpikeToronto (talk) 05:11, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. Done. -- JackofOz (talk) 22:06, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Well Jack, maybe you should leave something of the previous version in the lede. Perhaps after neé could be Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller. Thus, the opening line would be:

Dame Agatha Christie, DBE (neé, Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, 15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976) …

That way, the information that JTomlin (JT) wanted presented is preserved, while the very first occurrence of the name, at the commencement of the sentence and article, is as anyone looking up the article would expect. It is a compromise. Also, the fact that, upon Max Mallowan’s being made CBE, Christie became Lady Mallowan, before being Dame Agatha in her own right, can be dealt with in the Second marriage and later life section. Would that be acceptable to both of you, Jack and JT? Thanks! — SpikeToronto (talk) 22:21, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

OK. A female subject's maiden name is not something that typically appears in WP lede paragraphs, unless there's some particular reason to show it. We already tell our readers, in the appropriate place, that she was born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller. It is not information that is necessary for the lede paragraph. It might be if she had published works under "Agatha Miller" - but she didn't. Now, is it a "fact" that she became "Lady Mallowan" upon her husband's knighthood? I agree that she would have been entitled to use this name had she so chosen - but do we know that she ever did? Jamie Lee Curtis is entitled to be known as Lady Haden-Guest, but rarely uses that title. We make reference to it in her lede, but I think it doesn't merit a place there either. The lede is for important information about what the person did and was notable for. The fact that Curtis does not use the name Haden-Guest is hardly what she's notable for. I make the same point about Agatha Christie. Whatever connection she had to the surname Mallowan - and it's tenuous at best - belongs anywhere but in the lede. In Curtis's case, she does at least use her Lady title in some circumstances, apparently. I don't think there's any evidence that Agatha Christie ever used Mallowan as her name. Ever. But even if someone dug around and found some obscure document where she calls herself "Agatha Mallowan" or whatever, that still would not make a case. The version I changed was trying to give a complete history of her names, and that's not what the lede is for. People come here wanting information about Agatha Christie, and that's what they should certaintly get - but in the apporpriate places. -- JackofOz (talk) 23:05, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
First Jack, you may need to re-read my comments. I never suggested that Mallowan be in the lede; I think it inappropriately placed there. Secondly, you know as well as I do that in the UK one is often referred to as Lady Such-and-Such whether or not one refers to oneself in that manner. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that in archeological circles she was often referred to in this way by Sir Max’s fellow toilers in academe. And, given her devotion to her second husband, she would most likely have considered such with great pride. Thus, a mention of his CBE, and her consequent elevation to “Lady,” is not inappropriate in the Second marriage and later life section, as I suggested. Finally, if “[a] female subject's maiden name is not something that typically appears in WP lede paragraphs, unless there's some particular reason to show it,” such as publications under that name, then so be it. You won’t get any arguments from me. (And, you are correct that her maiden name is fully given in the Early life and first marriage section.) I was merely trying to create a compromise position between the two of you. You would do well to recall that on August 29, I agreed with your proposed changes to the lede and still do. I was merely wondering aloud if there might be a compromise position between yours and JT’s positions. It’s called consensus building, or at least I thought that that’s what I was endeavoring to do. Alas, you’ve made clear that, from your perspective, on this issue, there is no compromising. — SpikeToronto (talk) 00:27, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
I think that is a rather unnecessary and quite inaccurate characterisation of my position, SpikeToronto. I'm always willing to discuss matters till there's general agreement; I'm also not backward in stating my point of view, sometimes quite strongly, but I'm not so attached to my own opinions as to think I am the only one with opinions worth having.
"you know as well as I do that ..." - since we don't know each other from Adam, I don't know why you assume my level of knowledge about anything. There have been numerous cases where a woman's husband was knighted and she had the right to be known as "Lady <surname>" but chose not to. It isn't automatic that she adopts the title, and unless there's evidence that she did, we shouldn't be imposing such titles on such women. (Btw, he was Sir Max on his becoming a Knight Bachelor in 1968; his 1960 CBE had nothing to do with it.) -- JackofOz (talk) 03:52, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
You’re much too argumentative. I leave it to others to deal with you. — SpikeToronto (talk) 04:15, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Suits me. If "dealing with" other editors is what you're about, I want no part of it. I put that sort of extraordinary high-horse language in the same camp as describing unregistered users as "second class citizens". -- JackofOz (talk) 05:41, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

[unindent] Holy crap. I know little about honorary titles, and I cannot imagine that it makes any substantive difference in the lede. How about we just make it "Agatha Christie" and call it a day? It's only Wikipedia. Rivertorch (talk) 05:46, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

I think the current iteration ("Dame Agatha Christie ...") is fine. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 11:31, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Teh current version seems the best, even the official announcement of her honours in the London Gazette though listed under Mallowan in each case, acknowledges that she is better known as Agatha Christie, and since we are not bound by conventional usage in the way the Gazette is, I don't think we particularly need to mention Mallowan at the start of the lead at all. One possible addition to thelead would be to mention her marriages, or at least that to Mallowan since he wa notable in his own right. David Underdown (talk) 09:07, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Archiving Talk Page[edit]

Would anyone object to me archiving some of this Talk page, which is becoming unwieldy? I propose archiving everything up to and including № 39: “56 languages must be an underestimate of translation number.” Thanks! — SpikeToronto (talk) 06:40, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Concur--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 06:58, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
How about up to and including 37, since 38 and 39 are from this year and the spoiler topic does recur from time to time? Thanks for offering to take this on instead of siccing the bots on us! Rivertorch (talk) 09:04, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

YesY Done     See here. As per Rivertorch’s (talk) proviso. — SpikeToronto (talk) 18:54, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Movie adaptation tables[edit]

I think that the movie adaptation sections and the others should be redone into tables or be made into their own page. (talk) 11:56, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

So I see. I'm indifferent about the movies and tend to think that "the others" are fine as is. Wherever they are and however they're formatted, though, movie and book titles need to be italicized and not in quotes. Would you like to do the honors? Rivertorch (talk) 15:17, 4 October 2009 (UTC) (talk), would you please consider registering? The reason I suggest this is that the next time you come here to discuss this, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) could very well have given you a new IP address and none of us will know if we’re talking to the same person. As for your suggestion, you should have brought it here to the talk page first, before doing it. But, that’s just my opinion. Others will say that you were following WP:BOLD. That having been said, I agree with Rivertorch that the use of tables has to be consistent and you will have to also do it for the radio programs, the television shows, etc. Also, and this question might be able to be answered by people who are part of WP:NOVELS: Is there a guideline regarding tables versus the manner in which the info was heretofore entered? That is, if we switch to tables, will the Agatha Christie article be consistent with the other articles about writers of fiction? Thanks! — SpikeToronto (talk) 22:01, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

Linking and overlinking[edit]

I have partially reverted an edit that sought to remove instances of overlinking in the article. (It also corrected several instances of hyphens used as en dashes.) There clearly was overlinking, and there may still be some, but I think that in many cases the link was appropriate upon first mention, so I attempted to restore those. Rivertorch (talk) 01:26, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

I agree with Rivertorch. I saw the edit to which he was referring, but did not have the patience to painstakingly revert the wikilinks that should not have been undone. Bravo to him! — SpikeToronto 05:43, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, Spike. In the meantime, I see that another editor has done some more unlinking. I agree with all of these latest changes, even the delinking of comics: that link was useless because the comics article is too general in scope. What comics is this article referring to? If it's graphic novels, let's say so. When I think comics, I think either newspaper funnies or comic books. Rivertorch (talk) 06:14, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes I agree with those (i.e., comics, etc.). But, I am not sure that I agree with de-wikilinking WWI and WWII, especially given the rationale in the edit summary. It is not relevant that someone would not come to this wikiarticle seeking a path to wikiarticles on the World Wars. The reason one creates wikilinks is for the reader who comes across a thing, person, event, etc., with which they may not be familiar; then, they can click on the link and find out what that thing, person, event, etc., is. Of course, it would be a rare person who doesn’t know what were those two cataclysmic events. But, I recall talking to a guy in his 20s who didn’t know the first thing about the First World War other than it must have been before the Second World War, of which he had more knowledge, albeit limited. So, I tend to like having things like that wikilinked so that the reader can get some context as to what is this World War during which Christie wrote some of her masterpieces. In this instance, following such a wikilink might let the wikireader draw inferences as to how such events might have informed the author’s writing. — SpikeToronto 06:45, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, yes, good point. After all, this encyclopedia is for "rare persons" as well as for . . . well, whatever their opposite is. I have no objection to linking the wars the first time each is mentioned. Rivertorch (talk) 07:31, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough (says the guy who unlinked the wars) - I think that's a reasonable argument. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 14:14, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Done. Rivertorch (talk) 19:42, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! — SpikeToronto 06:09, 16 January 2010 (UTC)


Just wondering, is Christie's religion notable? Did she have one? Have a great day! ^_^ Celestialwarden11 (talk) 19:33, 13 February 2010 (UTC)


Sorry if this has been covered before, but regarding her "disappearance" -- if she left a note saying she was going to Yorkshire and she stayed in a Yorkshire hotel, how exactly was she missing? Was the note she left not revealed until later or ...? Roygbiv666 (talk) 17:17, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

She sent the note to her brother-in-law (husband’s brother), who destroyed it. Then, since he could not prove it ever existed, he kept mum about it for some time during the search. Also, the detective in charge wanted to believe that it was something greater and so made it something greater, not believing what both the husband and the husband’s brother told him, thinking them in cahoots covering up her murder, aiding philandering hubby’s mistress. Plus, the notes from Christie made specific reference to the mistress and hubby did not want to taint mistress’s reputation by making them public, caring more about the mistress than his wife. Or so I seem to remember. It is discussed in: Thompson, Laura (2007). Agatha Christie : An English Mystery. London: Headline Review. Chapter 6, pp. 186ff. My recollection of the account may be incorrect. I read it some time ago… — SpikeToronto 04:31, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Just re-read The Hollow. If Chapter 30 (the last chapter) isn't a description of what she was doing and how she felt 20 years earlier, suitably altered, I'll eat my favorite summer hat. No expert, of course, just a fan. --SLSpence (talk) 14:46, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

Original works and adaptations[edit]

When I stop to think of it, there's something odd about movie and TV adaptations getting their own tables in the main article while Christie's own creations are relegated to a spin-off article. I think I understand why it ended up like this, but the effect is to give more prominence to the adaptations than to the original works. Am wondering about the advisability of spinning off the adaptations into their own article. Rivertorch (talk) 04:47, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

BTW, where IS the list of original works? If it exists, I can't find the link to it from this page. If I find a separate article, i will see if I can link it. (my first time using the Talk page--am attempting to sign this: Belmontian (talk) 13:00 PST, 29 March 2012 ) —Preceding undated comment added 21:01, 29 March 2012 (UTC).

Rights of The Mousetrap[edit]

I think she gave the rights of The Mousetrap to her grandson much earlier than 1975. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Grushenka (talkcontribs) 10:29, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

In her autobiography written 1965, she stated that Matthew had the rights to the play the implication being he always had them or got them very soon after. It was certainly not clear at the time Mousetrap would be so successful as she wrote that Matthew often got the good fortune. It might be possible that TV/Film/Novel rights were transferred later (Mousetrap was originally a short radio play which Christie adapted for the stage, the novel came later). Timdownie (talk) 11:09, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

Date what is the the truth[edit]

I won’t put back the date 8th to 3rd and 19th to 14th again. Read here and you can take your own conclusion. Other counties give the date that I wrote. news where Agatha Christie in December 1926 was. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:37, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

You can change the dates. No one is stopping you from doing that. However, in order to not have your change reverted, you must provide verifiable reference(s)/citation(s) supporting the date change. Rivertorch would not have reverted otherwise. You provide a source here, but you did not provide one there. Also, if your source differs from the preponderance of sources, then you will need to develop a consensus for the change through discussion here on the article’s talk page. Also, Rivertorch was merely following the Wikipedia:Bold, revert, discuss cycle (shortcut → WP:BRD). You were bold, he reverted, now time for discussion. Thanks! — SpikeToronto 20:29, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Note that "this day in history" websites, like the one you cited, are suspect, since they don't necessarily have the best sourcing. Using one as a sole source is pretty weak. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 20:55, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
IP, I'm a bit confused. The link you provided says that Christie was found on the 13th, but you changed the date to the 14th. Both your source and the source in the article agree that she was missing for 11 days. There's a potential fudge factor when counting elapsed time in units as large as days, I suppose, but even if we went with your source we'd have no call to second-guess their count and call it the 14th. This is probably all academic, since the records of when she was reported missing and when she was found are well documented.
Fwiw, in a rare fit of original research (forgive me, O Jimbo, I have sinned), I looked up the relevant days of the week and discovered that the 3rd was a Friday, which makes a lot more sense in terms of Archie leaving the house for the weekend. Nonetheless, we really do need to stick with the most reliable sources available. Her disappearance and reappearance were reported in multiple newspapers and have since been discussed in multiple well-sourced biographies, so we probably should turn to those sources to verify the dates for the article. Rivertorch (talk) 04:39, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
I am surprised that for the English version of Wikipedia I can use the same account as in other countries, a bit stupidly that I didn’t try. I speak the Dutch language and sought information about Agatha Christie because of a writer’s competition about her disappearance. The 3th was indeed a Friday, count up with 11 days and you come on the 14th. It has no sense to change the date again and again because of the ping-pong effect, so I leave it so. The date 19th was not of my hand watching the previous edits info in Dutch about a writer’s competition in Belgium and Holland--Calimero54 (talk) 18:28, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
I put a p.s see edit summary. --Calimero54 (talk) 21:17, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Although your English is a thousand times better than my Dutch, we're both at a disadvantage, I fear. I'm not completely sure what you mean. I think we'll check some book sources for the dates (Spike, if you're watching? otherwise it's to the library for me) and rely on those. Good luck with your competition. Rivertorch (talk) 04:44, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
Read here; Agatha Christie's Harrogate mystery is this enough information or will it always be a mystery? I'm curious what kind of stories will be written in this competition.--Calimero54 (talk) 18:53, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Titles & Etiquette[edit]

It is quite improper to refer to the late Dame Agatha as "Dame Agatha Christie, DBE". She is a Dame by virtue of being appointed a DBE, but the postnominal letters should only normally be used in that form for non-British recipients - and, in any case, a person uses ONE indicator of status (pre-nominal or post-nominal) not both!

In the same way, a doctor either uses the prefix "Dr" or postnominal letters according to the degree awarded - so "Marcus Welby, MD" and "Dr Kildare" but NOT "Dr Marcus Welby, MD" and NOT "Dr Kildare, MD".

Tartania (talk) 12:59, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Seems to me we've discussed this before. I see what you mean about "Dame" and "DBE"; it seems redundant. Are you suggesting using "Dame Agatha Christie", then? (I personally would prefer the simpler "Agatha Christie", but there seems to be some leeway for titles and honorifics in lead paragraphs.) Rivertorch (talk) 18:11, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
Tartania, can we please see some reference to it being "improper" to use both a prenominal title and postnominal letters? I have never heard that before. If you look at any of the articles in this category, you'll see they're all of the form "Dame Julie Andrews DBE". Same for knights - "Sir Bill Smith KCMG".
Maybe you're getting confused with the rules for honorary knighthoods and damehoods. People who are not citizens of a Commonwealth realm receive honorary awards - they may use whatever postnominal letters are appropriate, but not the title "Sir" or "Dame". Those who are citizens of a Commonwealth realm receive substantive awards, and may use both the prenominal title and the postnominal letters in those circumstances where such usages are usual. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 18:33, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
Jack, I overlooked your comment until now. Assuming there's nothing definitive in the MOS to guide us, the fact of its being a WP convention to use both prenominals and postnominals is a pretty good argument to use that form here. I haven't run a broad survey, but I see that Judi Dench and Elton John follow the form of Andrews and Smith, as do John Mills and John Gielgud. (I checked the last two since they're deceased, like Christie. Gielgud wasn't a CBE, if that makes any difference.) My question at this point is this: does WP's convention in this matter reflect standard usage by reliable sources? If so, the argument against this usage in the lede falls apart completely: although it (like "Dr. John Doe, Ph.D.") is redundant, we're not here to set standards but to follow them. (Verifiability, not common sense, in other words.) Rivertorch (talk) 17:07, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
After digging in the Manual of Style, I found the following:
"Honorific prefixes [...]
The prenominals Sir, Dame, Lord and Lady are honorific titles discussed in the Honorific Titles section below. Honorary knights and dames are not entitled to "Sir" or "Dame", only the post-nominal letters. [...] As with regular titles, honorific titles should be included in the initial reference and infobox heading for the person, but are optional after that."
"Post-nominal letters, other than those denoting academic degrees, should be included when they are issued by a country or widely recognizable organization with which the subject has been closely associated."
From Wikipedia:Manual of Style (biographies)
These passages clearly indicate that the both the pre-nominal and the post-nominal of a person should be included in the initial reference of the person's name, hence the form "Dame Agatha Christie DBE" is appropriate here.
Atchom 01:45, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
That sounds reasonable. Thanks for looking into it and making the changes. Rivertorch (talk) 04:25, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

Concern about a reference[edit]

There is a claim here that her works have been translated into at least 103 languages (indeed, it has long been my understanding that only the Bible and the Koran have been translated into more languages). However, why is that when one clicks on the hypertext number for a reference, one simply gets to the Wikipedia article on the Guinness Book of World Records? A better reference should be given here. I shall be grateful if some one could find a proper reference and improve this. Many thanks, ACEOREVIVED (talk) 09:24, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

You misunderstand. The assertion of having been translated into 103 languages is supported by a citation from Guinness World Records, 1976, page 210. The link to the Wikipedia article has nothing to do with the support of the claim, it's just there to give the interested reader a clickable link to find out more about that publication. This could be considered a case of overlinking if it could be assumed that every reader knows about it already; given the wide readership, including from non-English-speaking countries, this is probably unwarranted. In general, citations do not always include links to the cited material. On the other hand, they often contain links to the authors or publishers of the works cited. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 12:21, 3 November 2011 (UTC)


I find the stereotyping section lacking when it comes to addressing the outright racist and anti-Semitic undertones of Agatha Christie's writing. It implies that before the end of the Second World War Christie was no more or less racist than other people of that era and that in a later period she was particularly sensitive and sympathetic to Jews and other ethnic minorities. This is simply not true. Christie clearly kept up her racist, stereotyped characters long after the end of the war. For example, in Hickory Dickory Dock there is a stupid, Voodoo-practising, woolly-headed West African, an alcoholic, overly dramatic Greek, and a couple of criminal Africans/Eurasians.

I think that the racism in Christie's work does need to be addressed but the way in which the article addresses it is incredibly generous even to the point of dishonesty. EttaLove (talk) 12:00, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Please feel free to edit the section to reflect what you see as the true situation - with reasonable references, of course. Indignation is not enough in itself. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 12:31, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
The section isn't exactly well sourced and clearly could use some work. However, I'm not sure that the wording implies quite what you suggest it does. It seems to say—and the wording is muddled—that stereotyped attitudes were more commonly expressed publicly before WWII. Not sure if that's true; they certainly were commonly expressed in pre-WWII British detective fiction by a number of authors, but whether it was more so before the war I have no idea. Good sourcing would be invaluable here. Incidentally, you're not suggesting that woolly-headed Africans, overly dramatic Greeks, and the like held a monopoly on villains or fools in the Christie stable of characters? Of the myriad nth-generation Englishmen and Englishwomen she put in her books, quite a few were ridiculous or murderous (or occasionally both). Rivertorch (talk) 12:37, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

"Other Comments"[edit]

Archaeology section; I felt that your addition was both interesting and well structured. I read it over and didn't really find anything that was glaringly out of place. Well done. Effort was obviously put into this piece and I feel that it is a good addition to the wiki page. Rehansen (talk) 18:19, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

If you also wanted to talk about Agatha Christie in media and archaeological terms here is a list of movies influenced by her works (Heidi.Goodine (talk) 21:45, 29 March 2012 (UTC)) Good job!

Your section provides interesting information and insights on the subject of an archaeological influence. Seemed to fit in well with the article. Really liked your use of quotes in your first part. Perhaps more detail in your "Popular novels with heavy archaeological influences" would be useful, but is not necessary. Also if you wanted more information on Agatha Christie and archaeology in the media and pop culture you could look at the Poirot and Miss Marple (particularly the former as there are definite archaeological influences/references) Masterpiece Mystery miniseries that are based on her books and are quite faithful to them. Overall a well rounded, organized, and detailed section. GillMargS (talk) 13:45, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Agatha's lack of schooling[edit]

Agatha's lack of formal schooling is odd. She was born in 1890 in England, where school was compulsory much of the time. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:38, 2 June 2012 (UTC)


In the Critical Reception section, not sure why it is there, is poorly written and makes little sense. (talk) 19:25, 29 July 2012 (UTC) Is it necessary to quote Hitchens? He's recalling an incident from decades ago, and may have been affected by the glib cliche that "Christie was anti-Semitic". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:30, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Archie and the Air Force[edit]

Archibald Christie could not have joined the Air Force in 1912. The R.A.F. did not exist until the merger of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service in April 1918. (talk) 15:02, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Hmm. Fair point. It does say "air force" (lowercase), which may intended to be sort of generic rather than indicative of an entity bearing that name. Since this content appears to be sourced to a book, we need to either consult the book or find another reliable source that specifically states which of the two he joined. Rivertorch (talk) 18:53, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

made change to intro[edit]

Made change to intro. Changed the sentence from "best remembered for" to "most famous for" Lastitem (talk) 06:02, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

"Remembered for" wasn't terribly accurate (do most of Christie's readers actually remember her?) but "most famous for" has its own problems, as implied by the editor who reverted your change. I've subsequently changed it to "best known for", which I think is accurate and non-"puffy". What do you all think? Rivertorch (talk) 18:41, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree, RT. Span (talk) 18:45, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree too. Thanks everyone for the feedback. Lastitem (talk) 19:05, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Guiness Book of World Records[edit]

I changed "according to the Guiness book" she's the best selling author, to the "Guiness book" lists her as the best selling author. Fewer words. Actually we shouldn't even mention Guiness book at all in the main text since everything in wikipedia is according to someone. Lastitem (talk) 19:10, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

I think it's all right to mention the source by name in that context. Rivertorch (talk) 23:55, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough Lastitem (talk) 13:16, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Apparently I am "wrong"[edit]

To the IP who undid my partial revert and loudly "invited" me to explain why I'd partially reverted: first, a procedural note. The onus is on the editor who adds new content or changes longstanding content to explain, so you're approaching this backwards. I'm not going to revert again—at least not immediately—but you can't just bludgeon your changes onto the page. (Please read this essay, which explains best practice in such situations.) You might also consider that blustering about another editor's being "wrong" doesn't improve matters. Nonetheless, since at least two of your changes were unqualified improvements, I'm going to go out on a limb and do as you've asked. Here are the changes I reverted:

  • the long-running character detective Hercule Poirot, who appeared in 33 of Christie's novels and 54 short stories. → the detective Hercule Poirot, who became a long-running character in many of Christie's works; appearing in 33 novels and 54 short stories.

The wording change is okay, but that's a blatant misuse of a semicolon. If you're going to word it that way, it needs to be a comma.

While the wording you changed is a bit awkward, there's absolutely no reason to put her first name in parentheses. She's widely known simply as "Miss Marple"; however, it would be acceptable to say "Miss Jane Marple". Adding "who also became well known" takes the meaninglessly vague and subjective "well known" phrase and makes the sentence unnecessarily wordy, and the "also" doesn't have an absolutely clear antecedent; better to ditch this entirely.

  • "Both Jane and Gran "always expected the worst" → "Both Jane and Gran always expected the worst"

You've moved the opening quotation mark in a direct quote from a book but given no indication that you've verified that the material you added to the quote was in the book. Have you checked to see if the phrase "Both Jane and Gran" appears in the book?

The "as with" construction is needlessly awkward, and replacing "with" with "and" is potentially confusing because it conflates author and character. The sentence could use a complete rewrite, but your change is not an improvement.

  • ego-centric → egocentric

You removed the hyphen from quoted material but gave no indication that the article got the quote wrong. The sentence itself carries no citation, so the provenance of the quote is uncertain, but we don't remove hyphens from direct quotes even if they're superfluous.

  • Doyle → Conan Doyle

While that author is frequently referred to as "Conan Doyle", the well-sourced section at his article suggests it's better simply to use "Doyle".

  • Seven stories are inspired by a nursery rhyme → Seven stories are each inspired by a nursery rhyme

I suspect you're trying to convey that it's not the same nursery rhyme, but your wording is awkward and doesn't make that any clearer.

  • after which she would then go back → after which she would go back

The "then" was unnecessary, so this change was helpful. Sorry I missed that one. It's usually easier if one makes such changes one or two at a time so that each can be explained in a separate edit summary. That way, it's much easier to understand the reasoning behind each change and also easier to revert them individually instead of en masse. Rivertorch (talk) 22:56, 20 March 2014 (UTC) Added: I see that my partial revert was restored by another editor while I wrote the above. Rivertorch (talk) 23:01, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for all that. Very honorable of you. It fully support your stance. Anna (talk) 23:19, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

You can't be wrong yet[edit]

Like Anna Roy, I admire your response, which at this moment I haven't fully read. As my bold summary note indicated (bold simply because I did not want it to be missed, as lower case summaries occasionally are - in my experience), when your reasons were given on this talk page I would show you. But by implication I might also withdraw. I did not expect such a full response, and indeed it is truly gratifying. If I expected anything, it was nothing.

Taking your points in order:

I am not interested in reading any essay or any best practice on Wikipedia. I gave that up years ago. I donate my contributions free of charge and in accordance with my knowledge and beliefs. If they fall short of the requirements of the Wikipedia committee, so be it. Wiki don't have to publish them and I don't have to donate them.

Bluster. I have a direct style and approach, which has developed because that is the method that I have found serves me best in dealing with life. It will not change, although it may dilute subject to circumstances.

The "blatant misuse of a semicolon" presumably alludes to a Wikipedia norm, or some other alleged authority; which of course I ignore. The comma, semicolon, colon and stop are merely indicative variations in the length of the pause that one would apply to a break in wording while speaking. No more, no less. Consequently it has a degree of subjectivity, but not much. I place a semi in the position where the pause needs to be longer that for a comma, but shorter than that for a colon. Source - Fowler. I care not for any other view.

Miss Marple. I'm not sure I know what the difference is between 'no reason to...' and 'absolutely no reason to....'. However, as you wrote the latter I'll explain that in this case it is a matter of continuity. In the uncorrected text you will see that the first reference is to 'Miss Marple', but in the next sentence she is referred to as just 'Jane'. WHO THE HELL IS JANE? No-one has mentioned a Jane. How am I supposed to know who this Jane is? Now, there are a few ways of dealing with this omission and enlightening the poor reader beforehand. If one writes 'Miss Jane Marple' one is not adhering to the strong convention that she is universally known as 'Miss Marple', but by putting Jane in paretheses one is both letting the reader know her first name but at the same time indicating that she is generally known as Miss Marple. So when he gets to 'Jane' the reader will not falter.

I've read your tortuous claim/explanation about the 'well-known' bit, and I think I know what you are trying to say, but not exactly. Suffice it to say that 'Well-known Miss Marple was introduced...' cannot stand under any circumstances because when she was introduced she was not well-known. Neither can 'Both Jane and Gran "always expected the worst of everyone and everything, and was...." be allowed to remain: the grammar must be corrected, either at the back or the front, and whether it is a direct quote or not. Ungrammatical direct quotes in a serious encyclopaedia must be corrected. Wiki strives to be a world class serious publication and it is inconceivable that 'Both was' can remain, whoever said or wrote it.

INTERMISSION - This is all I can write today. I will continue as soon as I can. Meanwhile I leave you with these thoughts:

Owing to the odd way that Wikipedia works it can never be a first-class publication, and it will never attract the best writers because they want, rightly, for articles to be solely their work, to be consistent and to remain. This much should be obvious.

We know that Wiki have been losing good editors in droves, and in fact they lost me (whether I was good or not) a few years back. But I come back now and again when a certain article interests me, but only to find the same annoyances. I currently feel that two aspects stand above others, and they are Composition and Continuity. Basics like Grammar, Comprehension and Style should really be able to look after themselves. But if you end up with large articles that have a mish-mash of composition and little or no continuity you will always have an inferior product. JHB (talk) 21:04, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for your candid reply and for logging in to make it. Wikipedia, like the society that spawned it, is full of perennial petty annoyances. Some can be avoided; some cannot. Amid the myriad essays that litter the landscape of project space is at least one that not only seeks to reduce a particular kind of annoyance but succeeds in doing so. The beauty of WP:BRD, which might be described as the project's über-essay, is quite simply that it works: to follow its basic model is to avert a great deal of totally unnecessary friction between editors by placing the burden of proof on the editor who is making the change whenever the soundness of the change isn't self-evident. Perhaps my imagination is lacking, but I confess that it escapes me why anyone would routinely reinsert a disputed change without first trying to justify it. By introducing your changes for the third time—still without consensus—you now appear to be edit warring, and that is prohibited not by essay but by policy. We all contribute "free of charge and in accordance with [our] knowledge and beliefs", but we do so within the general framework of the community's basic expectations. Otherwise, we're deliberately contributing to the very annoyance factor you bemoan. Please consider self-reverting. Rivertorch (talk) 06:26, 23 March 2014 (UTC)



It ain't gonna work, for a number of reasons. One of them is that you and others do not even have the courtesy to be patient while I am going through the process of responding in detail to your long entry on this page, while at the same time attempting to accommodate the time constraints of my other commitments outside of the Wikipedia world. Put simply, the less mature members of Wiki are delete happy. Don't wait for explanation - jump to a conclusion and delete first.

During a couple of short breaks over the last twenty-four hours I indulged in reviewing the current state of some of the articles to which I had contributed a great deal at various times over the years. It's a pity I did, because it brought home to me again how ephemeral Wikipedia contributions are and how much time and effort had been wasted. And all for the love of wishing to improve poor work. Improvements are to a large extent pointless because the poor work creeps back in; as Tom, Dick and Harry (not to forget Gertrude and Daisy) chip in with their two-penn'orth complete with all the faults, effectively ruining the plan, layout, balance and flow that had been created. For all its undoubted 'circulation' success on the web Wikipedia has a poor system, but the relative poverty depends on the nature of the particular article - worse for the more literary, better for the more technical.

To take up two of your specific points: firstly I have no problem at all with the burden of proof, but I do with the definitions of "proof" and of "soundness", or at least the conception of soundness. Every edit I make has a specific reason and purpose, based upon a wide variety of criteria; which I am happy to explain in detail to any person I feel has the grey matter to appreciate it, and if I feel there is mileage in doing so. But that is the rub of where I find myself at present. Secondly I think it much more apposite for you to write 'whenever the soundness of the change isn't universally understood' rather than '.......self-evident'. 'Self-evident' requires a common level of understanding among all readers, which never occurs. It is therefore a myth. It follows that an editor can never know the extent to which his edit is going to be acknowledged. It then follows that he would need to offer a comprehensive explanation of every single edit he makes, so that everyone from the highest to lowest of intellect will know his motives (whether they truly understand them or not). That is unpractical (yes, 'un' not 'im', look it up), or perhaps it is better expressed as 'unacceptable'. Personal background has a lot to do with the cogency of this argument. Almost unbelievable disparities can occur in levels of understanding. Some persons who have made writing their career (e.g. dare I mention journalists in the popular national daily press?) have quite different perceptions from, say, those of one who has been immersed for decades in the exactitude and logic of contract documents, as have I. That brings us nicely to the principle of consensus. Consensus is also a myth, I happen to believe. It merely results in the lowest common denominator.

When I started this Part Two it was my intention to continue and finish my detailed response to your entry, and then (not for the first time) call it a day on Wikipedia. For a serious-minded person it really is not worth a candle. Now that I have come this far in putting some of my views over, and owing to the nature of the last few sentences of your latest effort, I am not even going to do that. Your imagination is indeed lacking, and I suspect that in fact a lot escapes you. So I will leave you to dwell in your haven of mediocrity. JHB (talk) 14:17, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

This argument is and old one in wikipedia: "My edits are so great that any change of them - i.e., consensus - is, by definition, a lowering of standards, and certainly not worth my valuable time." It's a very unconvincing argument. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 19:55, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

The Christie Estate[edit]

Given the ongoing commercialization of Christie's works, a section on the Christie Estate might be useful. It's referred to in several articles, holds considerable asset value, and is responsible for all current decisions about her works, but we don't say anything about it. FT2 (Talk | email) 12:48, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

Added (self). FT2 (Talk | email) 12:12, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

Prior to disappearance[edit]

There's a bit missing in the article I don't think is complete.

Prior to disappearance, all we say of her is that she wrote her first few novels, which don't appear to be remarkably accepted or massively well read. Then she disappears and "her disappearance caused an outcry from the public", including Home Office, police, and the rest.

There has to be a chunk missing in our article at this point, which describes and cites any growing fame and renown in the years 1920 - 1926, otherwise this makes no sense? FT2 (Talk | email) 12:12, 15 May 2014 (UTC)