Agatha Christie is the latest bestselling novelist to get the rewriting treatment for 2023 readers, according to a British newspaper.
The bestselling novelist in the world, Christie created enduring popular sleuths Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, and the Daily Telegraph reports that new editions of both these series have had original passages amended or removed by publisher Harper Collins.
The Telegraph states that digital versions of new editions of the books written between 1920 and 1976 (the year of Christie’s death) include text stripped of “descriptions, insults or references to ethnicity, particularly for characters Christie’s protagonists encounter outside the UK.”
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For example, in the book Death on the Nile – published in 1937 and recently remade for the big screen by Kenneth Branagh – references to “Nubian people” have been removed, as have several references to non-British characters’ physiques. The word “local” replaces “native”
A line in Christie’s debut novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles which has Poirot commenting on a character being “a Jew” has gone. And Christie’s narration and sections of dialogue uttered by unsympathetic characters have also been cut, according to the newspaper.
These changes come after similar recent treatment of books by Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming, who created James Bond.
Such was the backlash in February when publishers Puffin announced they would be removing words deemed offensive in 2023 from Dahl’s books for children, that the publisher confirmed they would release two versions – one amended and one unchanged.
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