Agatha Christie, She Isn’t (and didn’t try to be): Comparing Sophie Hannah’s New Hercule Poirot Novel to the Original and its Adaptation

Partial Spoilers for The Monogram Murders, by Sophie Hannah

In 2014, Agatha Christie’s estate granted Sophie Hannah permission to use Christie’s detective, Hercule Poirot, in a new original novel. The Monogram Murders.

Hercule Poirot (the Belgian refugee detective originally created by Christie) hopes for a respite when he stays at a London hotel (even though he’s close to his home), but he is soon drawn into a new case when a young woman name Jennie arrives and makes a cryptic prediction of her own murder, followed by the even more cryptic statement “Let no one open their mouths.” Soon bodies turn up at a different hotel with monogrammed cufflinks – which have a connection to a long-ago tragedy – in their mouths.

Hannah has acknowledged that “Agatha Christie is unique,” and says she didn’t try to duplicate Christie’s actual style. To a reader familiar with the original Christies, in addition to the overall voice differing from Christie, Hannah’s Poirot doesn’t sound – or maybe I should say “feel”  – like Christie’s Poirot. Hannah’s Poirot engages in behaviors that supposedly show many of the quirks for which Christie fans know him, but they feel like variations of those quirks, and feel off.  Continue reading


On Reading and Writing with Asperger’s

We people with Asperger’s – that form of really high-functioning autism that basically programs us for geekiness  – are not crazy about labels like “disability” or “disorder.” A description of Asperger’s that I’ve heard, and like, is “a different wiring of the brain.”

Actually, according to the famous Temple Grandin, we “Aspies” have one of a few different wirings of the brain.

Some think in numbers and patterns. Some (including Grandin herself) think in pictures. Some parents create pictures of their child’s daily schedule, because pictures are the child’s “language.”

But some Aspies, like me, function entirely on words. Yes, I need to-do lists, but I write them in words. Continue reading