Now Agatha Christie Gets the Rewrite Treatment to Spare Modern Sensitivities


Even the best-selling novelist in the world is not spared rewrites to spare the sensitive sensibilities of modern readers, with Agatha Christie’s works getting the full treatment from her publisher.

Christie is known for creating timeless sleuths like Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, and the Daily telegram reports that new editions are based on the fact that both researchers had original passages edited or omitted by publisher Harper Collins.

Insults and references to ethnicity are among the references that received the editorial.

So-called “sensitivity readers” had made the edits, which were visible in digital versions of the new editions, including the entire Miss Marple run and select Poirot novels coming soon or released since 2020, the Telegraph reported.

The updates follow edits made to books by Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming to remove offensive gender and race references in an effort to “protect” modern readers, as Breitbart News reported.

The paper reported that the edits dropped references to ethnicity, such as describing a character as black, Jewish or Gypsy or a female character’s torso as “made of black marble” and a judge’s “Indian character”, and removing of terms like “oriental” and the N-word.

The word “natives” has also been replaced by the word “local”.

Among the examples of changes cited by the Telegraph is the 1937 Poirot novel Death on the Nilein which Mrs. Allerton’s character complains that a group of children are bothering her, saying that “they come back and stare and stare, and their eyes are just disgusting, and so is their nose, and I don’t think I really like children”.

English detective writer, Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976) typing at her home, Greenway House, Devon, January 1946. (Getty)

This has reportedly been stripped down in a new edition to state: “They come back and stare and stare. And I don’t think I really like children.”

The new edition of Miss Marple’s 1964 novel A Caribbean mysterythe amateur detective’s musing that a hotel employee who smiles at her has “such beautiful white teeth” has been removed, the newspaper added.

Guinness World Records calls Christie the best-selling fiction writer of all time, with more than two billion of her books sold.

In addition to writing best-selling novels, Christie also created the world’s longest-running play, the murder mystery The mousetrapwhich has been performed in the West End since 1952.

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