29 April 2010

Forgotten Story Collections: Agatha Christie

This post is a contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books. This week the focus is on forgotten short story collections.

Many people who read Agatha Christie novels ignore the fact that she wrote some terrific short stories.
In my quest to read the works of Agatha Christie (novels and short stories) in the order in which they were written, I have identified 21 short story collections. So far I've read 82 short stories in this particular reading challenge.

Agatha Christie used many of the short stories to introduce, and develop the character of, a person who would later feature in novels.

Most of the short stories appeared in magazine format and then were later collected for publication.

This was certainly the case of Miss Marple who first appeared The Thirteen Problems publ. 1932.
The first of these short stories was The Tuesday Night Club - Sir Henry Clithering, until recently Commissioner of Scotland Yard, tells a tale about tinned lobster that caused a fatal case of food poisoning. It was first published in December 1927. Miss Marple appeared in her first full length novel THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE in 1930.

While Hercule Poirot first appeared in THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES in 1920, by 1924 Agatha Christie had written (and mostly published separately) 11 short stories that elaborated his character and his abilities with the "little grey cells" that were then published as Poirot Investigates.

On the other hand some characters appear only in short stories, such as Mr Parker Pyne (Parker Pyne Investigates publ.1934), and Mr. Harley Quin (The Mysterious Mr Quin publ. 1930).

If you'd like to follow up on Agatha Christie short stories, then check my latest update post.
I am about to read the next The Listerdale Mystery

If you'd like to find out more about the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge and the accompanying monthly blog carnival check here.


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - Thanks for highlighting Christie's short stories. She really did write them well, I think. I hope you'll like thThe Listerdale Mystery. I know I did...

pattinase (abbott) said...

Did most of them first appear in a regular magazine or in one specific to mysteries? I would think she could publish them just about anywhere she wanted to.

Miss Lemon's Mysteries said...

In fact, Kerrie, you name two of Miss Lemon's favourite collections: The Thirteen Problems (Mrs. Christie at her best!) and The Mysterious Mr. Quin. Thanks for the reminiscence.

George said...

I also like Christie's THE TUESDAY CLUB MURDERS.


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