publish `lost' Agatha Christie
stories! Like many of her contemporaries, Agatha Christie wrote stories for
a variety of magazines in the 1920s like Strand and The
Sketch, and most of these eventually found their way into her books
of short stories. Now, 21 years after her death, detective work worthy
of Agatha Christie herself has unearthed seven 'new' stories, six of which
have never been published anywhere in the world since their original appearances,
plus early magazine versions of two Poirot stories which she later reworked
for book publication.
HarperCollins' Projects Director David Brawn said:
`I had been aware for a while that Agatha Christie has written stories
which were not in print and I approached Agatha Christie Limited with the
idea of putting together a new book containing these stories. They had
no objection in principle, but the real problem was in tracking down copies
of the stories themselves. The magazines are about 70 years old and though
we knew of their existence, we did not have copies of them all. Fortunately,
there are some die-hard Agatha Christie historians who were able to help
us find them.'
These early short stories uniquely display Agatha Christie's talents across
a range of genres, from crime to dark romance and the supernatural, and
provide a glimpse of the Queen of Crime in the making. Anyone who
enjoys Agatha Christie will find every story fascinating for her skill
in characterisation and ability to deliver an unexpected twist in the tail..
The stories include The House of Dreams, the first story
Agatha Christie ever wrote (during the First World War) which recounts
the effects of a man's macabre recurring dream on his life, The Edge,
a gripping tale of jealousy and infidelity, and While the Light Lasts,
in which a Rhodesian tobacco plantation is the setting for an unexpected
visitor from beyond the grave. Most interesting of all is a story called
Manx Gold, commissioned from Christie for a real-life treasure
hunt on the Isle of Man in 1930. It was the first event of its kind in
the world, and holidaymakers had to solve clues in the story to locate
four genuine miniature treasure chests planted on the island. Though a
quarter of a million booklets containing the story were printed, only one
original copy is known to have survived.
But there were some disappointments. For example, a story called The
Mystery of the Dressing-Case, proved especially elusive, and when
a copy was finally tracked down, it turned out to be an edited version
of Murder in the Mews - and that has been in print for 60 years!'