Miss Marple was last seen in 1976, solving a “perfect” crime committed years earlier in Agatha Christie’s Sleeping Murder. Now authors including Val McDermid, Naomi Alderman and Dreda Say Mitchell are set to continue the adventures of the elderly amateur sleuth, with the first ever “new” Agatha Christie short story collection out next year.
The 12 writers, who also include Kate Mosse, Elly Griffiths and Ruth Ware, are all “Christie devotees”, said publisher HarperCollins, and will reimagine Miss Marple “through their own unique perspective while staying true to the hallmarks of a traditional mystery”.
Jane Marple is one of the UK’s most beloved fictional detectives, with a twinkle, a penchant for gossip and the sharpest mind in the village. As Christie put it: “There is no detective in England equal to a spinster lady of an uncertain age with plenty of time in her hands.” First appearing in a collection of short stories in 1927, she featured in 12 novels and 20 short stories altogether, solving mysteries and murders while indulging in her hobbies of gardening and knitting.
Her new outings, authorised by Agatha Christie Ltd, will be published in September 2022, and are intended to introduce the character to a new generation. “It feels very exciting to allow this formidable selection of authors the opportunity to come up with new adventures and mysteries for Miss Marple,” said Christie’s great-grandson James Prichard, chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd. “It is time for readers to rediscover Marple.”
Christie’s murder mysteries featuring the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot have previously been continued by Sophie Hannah, in bestselling titles including The Monogram Murders and The Killings at Kingfisher Hill. Popular characters from other beloved authors have been revived in recent years, with Anthony Horowitz’s authorised Sherlock Holmes novels, and a host of authors continuing Ian Fleming’s James Bond stories since his death.
The new Marple collection will also include stories from authors ranging from Lucy Foley to Jean Kwok, Shadow and Bone author Leigh Bardugo, Karen M McManus, Natalie Haynes and Alyssa Cole. “With Miss Marple, Christie gave a voice to women who were often overlooked, and we are deeply honoured that these 12 writers have come together to pay homage to that ambition,” said Jennifer Hart at William Morrow, which will publish the collection in the US. “This truly remarkable group of authors showcases the extent of Agatha Christie’s influence over the last century.”