Riding the rails with Agatha
Agatha Christie’s novel was
■ first published in 1934 in the U.K. and elsewhere as Murder on the Orient Express. It was published in the U.S. as Murder in the Calais Coach to avoid confusion with the 1932 Graham Greene novel Stamboul Train, which had been published in the U.S. as Orient Express.
There have been other movie
■ versions. Probably best known is the 1974 film directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Albert Finney as Det. Hercule Poirot, with a big-name cast including Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery and Anthony Perkins.
Starting with The Mysterious
■ Affair at Styles (1920), Poirot appears in 33 novels and 54 short stories.
Poirot is the only fictional character to date to be given an obituary in The New York Times, after the publication of the final novel, Curtain. It appeared on the front page of the paper on Aug. 6, 1975.
Christie (born Agatha Mary
■ Clarissa Miller, 1890-1976) is best known for her 66 detective novels and 14 collections of short stories. She once said: “The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”
Her stage play The Mousetrap, originally a short radio play titled Three Blind Mice, holds the world record for longest initial run. It opened in London’s West End in 1952 and is still running.
Guinness World Records lists
■ Christie as the world’s bestselling novelist with roughly two billion copies sold. Her estate claims her books are third as the world’s most widely published books, behind Shakespeare and the Bible. Index Translation um says she’s the most translated author, into at least 103 languages.
Agatha Christie, a.k.a. the First Lady of Crime