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New Agatha Christie stories from beyond the grave!

November 22, 2011

Young Agatha Christie.

Fans of Agatha Christie and Anthony Burgess can celebrate today. New work by these popular, influential –and long-dead– authors is being mined from their papers.

Some of Christie’s unseen work, at least, is trickling out. And, to be honest,there’s probably much wider interest in her work than in that of the  more literary (and controversial) Burgess.

Here’s a story from USA Today, detailing the enduring popularity of Christie, who died in 1976 as one of the bestselling authors in history. Her mystery novels and stories have sold something like 4 billion copies to date, more than any other author except God (the many iterations of The Holy Bible), and Shakespeare.

When Christie died she left behind “a mass of papers,” according to John Curran, editor of Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making, which is out this week. The book, a follow-up to 2010’s Secret Notebooks, contains new stories, alternate versions of published stories, and archival material.

Curran, writing at the Huffington Post, describes finding a longer, alternate version of one of her earlier stories, The Case of the Caretaker (published in 1942), entitled The Case of the Caretaker’s Wife.

“As soon as I read the manuscript I realised that it was longer, better and more convincing than the story we have known for the last 70 years,” Curran writes. “Why it lay in a cupboard gathering dust for a lifetime is a mystery – “The Case of the Missing Manuscript”! It sounds like a case for Miss Marple…”

Many more fresh stories will doubtless emerge as Curran works his way through Christie’s papers. But you don’t have to wait to get your hands on the book for a sample. Here’s a Miss Marple excerpt at HuffPo.

Tomorrow we’ll look at new discoveries being made in the voluminous papers in the Anthony Burgess archive…

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