Agatha Christie, the British best-selling author of crime & mystery, is the latest victim of the “political correctness” police. Just a few weeks after the controversy surrounding revisions and language corrections in the books of Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming, in the name of a ‘new, shared, and politically correct sensibility,’ a new controversy has arisen around the works of Agatha Christie.
"Sensitive readers" have reviewed some of Agatha Christie's most famous works. They purport to be highly respected figures in the British and American publishing industries who review publications for offensive language or descriptions, to promote diversity and inclusion in publishing but in reality act as Soviet-style censors. These books were partially revised by her publisher, Harper Collins, to remove offensive and racist terms.
The revision began in 2020, with plans to republish the stories and characters Christie created between 1920 and 1976 in a "clean" version. The portrayals of Hercule Poirot and the complex investigations of Miss Jane Marple will be rewritten and in some cases censored, with certain passages removed entirely.
Terms that were commonly used during Christie’s time, which classified individuals from non-white British ethnic groups will be eliminated. Words such as "Jew" and "Gypsy," as well as phrases such as "Oriental" and "Indian temperament" used to describe characters, will no longer appear, and "natives" will be referred to as "locals."
In Death on the Nile, all references to the physical appearance of non-English characters will disappear, and the servant will no longer be identified as a black man. Or in A Caribbean Mystery, the readers will no longer see the protagonist's reflection on the hotel employee with "so beautiful and white teeth."
The controversy surrounding these revisions quickly spread to social media, where many readers were angered by the crime committed against the writer and her works. Some more diplomatically suggested keeping an original edition alongside the revised and corrected edition. Puffin Publishing, for example, released a "classic collection" that does not include posthumous changes.
Who Was Agatha Christie?
Agatha Christie is considered one of the most important and popular authors in the history of crime literature. Born in 1890 in Torquay, Devon, England, the author wrote over 80 novels and short story collections that have sold over two billion copies worldwide. Christie's works have been translated into more than 100 languages, and her famous detectives, Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple, have become icons of popular culture. Known for her intricate plotting, sharp observation, and remarkable imagination, Christie's works have entertained generations of readers and continue to be adapted into films, TV series, and plays.
Christie's writing career began in the early 1920s with the publication of her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Her early works featured the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, who became a household name after the publication of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd in 1926. Her later works introduced the elderly spinster Miss Jane Marple, who appeared in such classic novels as The Murder at the Vicarage and A Pocket Full of Rye. Christie's writing style was distinguished by her ability to create vivid, multi-dimensional characters and intricate plot twists that kept readers guessing until the very end. Her work has had a lasting impact on the genre of mystery and detective stories and is appreciated and loved by readers around the world.