I have read every Poirot book I’ve ever come across, and watched every TV version I’ve ever come across. I love the world, the characters, the intrigue, the writing and that love for this obsessive rotund Belgian was felt by both my Cockney and genteel Scottish grandmothers.
But hearing that Sophie Hannah has written a new Poirot book leaves me in a quandary.
Sure, Poirot is awesome. And from this interview in the NY Times it sounds as though she’s not trying to write like Christie, which is good. And of course it would mean I could read a new Poirot – really new, where I don’t half-remember the plot from somewhere.
I imagine the book will do well because of the association. And some people will love it, and some hate it, and there will be some TV adaptations. And I’ll probably end up reading it too. And I get it; it’s fun to extend the worlds and characters we love, to delve into them.
It does become difficult to separate that version from the original. Hannah comments in that interview: “Agatha Christie and Poirot are totally unharmed by this. Whatever I do, Agatha’s Poirot novels are totally unaffected.” But I don’t think that’s totally true – it would still be in my mind. Whatever this Hercule Poirot does will be remembered, whether I’d like to or not, whenever I re-read another.
But actually what makes me sad is abandoning originality. Sure, most things are copied from somewhere or other, and this will be a new Poirot story.
But surely creating something properly new is far, far more exciting?