Like many murder mystery lovers, Agatha Christie was one of the first mystery writers I read. As a young adult, I read novel after novel as fast as I could. I eventually went on to discover other authors, but Agatha Christie still has a special place in my heart. Along with Dorothy L. Sayers, she is the Queen of Golden Age Crime. I’ve seen film and stage adaptations over the years, including The Mousetrap at Court Theater in February 2020. When we traveled around Cornwall and Devon, we spent time in Torquay, her birthplace, looking up sites of Christie-mania.
So several months ago, naturally, I attended an online Smithsonian Virtual event “Agatha Christie: The Queen of Crime” with author Daniel Stashower. It was a marvelous evening with readings from actors who brought her books and her letters to life. It also helped fill the gaps of parts of her life that I didn’t know a lot about.
While it was fun to learn all sorts of new information about her life, I was thrilled to learn that there are non-film and stage adaptations of her work, including an anime series! So in honor of Kenneth Branagh’s recent adaptation of Death on the Nile, I’ve put together a list of eight adaptations of Agatha Christie’s work that are not movies or stage plays.
Agatha Christie’s Great Detectives Poirot and Marple
This is a 39-episode anime series that brings together Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple! The great detectives never met in her books (and so far, not in the series that I’ve seen), but the two are connected by Miss Marple’s niece Maybelle and her pet duck, Oliver. Maybelle eventually becomes an assistant of Poirot to learn how to be a detective and occasionally visits her aunt. It’s delightful for Christie fans as we see various stories brought to life. There’s more non-murder related mysteries, but it works.
The series ran from 2004 to 2005 starring Fumiko Orikasa, Masako Jô, and Kôtarô Satomi, but I wasn’t able to find much more about it. The version I found is in the original Japanese and subtitled in English, but each episode is a delightful 20–24 minute nugget of joy. There might be some manga, but I was not able to track it down.
Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie, Adapted by François Rivière
While there are several adaptations of her novels, I’m really drawn to French adaptations published by Emmanuel Proust Editions in the 1990s and 2000s. There are 24 titles ranging from full novels of Christie’s greatest works like And Then There Were None and The Murder on the Orient Express, to less well known books like The Secret Adversary staring Tuppence and Tommy. Many are adapted by François Rivière and illustrated by several artists. The style reminds me a bit of the bold lines and colors of Herge’s Tintin series. Many were translated into English in 2007, but nowadays you have to go to used bookstores to find them.
Watching and reading Agatha Christie’s stories is great, but what about trying to solve them yourself? Consider The ABC Murders on Steam that was released in 2016, developed by Artefacts Studio and Tower Five and published by Microids. Based on the famous novel The ABC Murders, you become Hercule Poirot in third person perspective as you question suspects, solve puzzles, and make deductions to figure out who is taunting Poirot with mysterious notes and deaths related to letters of the alphabet.
Developed by Blazing Griffin and Microids, here’s an opportunity to play Hercule Poirot in one of his earliest cases. When he is invited to the Van den Bosch estate, they all end up trapped by a snowstorm, and then one of their number turns up dead. Like The ABC Murders, you can find clues, interrogate your fellow guests, and more to find out who is the murder.
Here’s another game based on a popular book by the same name. When a friend of Miss Marple’s, Elspeth McGillicuddy, takes a train ride, she thinks she saw a woman killed in a passing train. But when no one takes her seriously, she goes to Miss Marple to figure out what happened.
And here’s one more computer game for fans of Christie. Mystery Match Village has mysteries, swap and match puzzles and more. This game is themed around Christie’s Death on the Nile. So if you like the recent movie, here’s something to satiate you before the next adaptation.
For folks who like to play physical board games, there’s Agatha Christie’s Death on the Cards. It’s a 2–6 player game where players use cards to unearth the murderer and not fall into social disgrace. But one of the players can be the murderer and win if the draw pile is exhausted or they are the only one who isn’t graced. That sounds good enough for me!
And for people who want even more tactile Agatha Christie fun, there’s an immersive game with Hunt A Killer. The company known for providing puzzles that are filled with documents that players scour for clues has partnered up with Agatha Christie estate to make a kit for fans. Based on the short story “The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge,” when Harrington Pace is murdered, Captain Arthur Hastings needs a partner because Poirot is indisposed. It takes 4+ hours to play and there’s a standard edition and a collector’s edition.
These are some fun non-film and stage adaptations for the Agatha Christie fans. Want to learn more about why Agatha Christie is bestselling author of all time? What about a definitive ranking of her movies?