Hercule Poirot was Agatha Christie’s most popular character, but it turns out the author was less than fond of the Belgian detective, despite writing 87 stories involving him.
The revelation has come to light in an interview given by Christie’s grandson, Mathew Prichard, in Radio Times.
Prichard says: “She was never short of ideas for books, but some of these ideas were inappropriate for Poirot, so she was very keen to exorcise herself of him by writing different stories with new characters.”
However, Christie’s agents and publishers had other ideas and, although the thriller writer came to regard her creation as her “bread and butter”, she, nevertheless, “would complain about having to churn out ‘yet another Poirtot’,” he says. But:
“[They] were in charge of the pounds and pence [so] were very keen on Poirot – he was her most popular character.”
Despite her dislike for Poirot, Christie knew that he would guarantee future financial security for her and her family. Prichard says that his grandmother was very generous and, when he was nine years old, she signed the rights to The Mousetrap over to him.
“I was too young to appreciate it at the time, but it now has a business history as long as my arm. The royalties get paid into the Colwinston Charitable Trust, which benefits the arts in Wales.”
Through the ITV drama series, Agatha Christie’s Poirot, David Suchet, 64, has played the part of Hercule Poirot for the past 21 years, with this week seeing his 63rd appearance – in The Halloween Party, which has been adapted by Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, Doctor Who).
Hercule Poirot was introduced in Christie’s first-ever novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920). He went on to appear in 33 of her novels and 54 short stories.