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Book of the Month

Book of the Month: After the Funeral

1st June 2016

When Cora is savagely murdered with a hatchet, the extraordinary remark she made the previous day at her brother Richard’s funeral suddenly takes on a chilling significance. At the reading of Richard’s will, Cora was clearly heard to say: ‘It’s been hushed up very nicely, hasn’t it… But he was murdered, wasn’t he?’ In desperation, the family solicitor turns to Hercule Poirot to unravel the mystery.

After the Funeral is often described as typical Christie territory as it focuses on a wealthy, yet complicated, family who are attending a relatives funeral and waiting for the reading of the will. The Abernethie family in the story are one of Christie’s most complicated families, and the book even includes a family tree.

The book is dedicated to Christie’s brother-in-law James and reads, ‘For James in memory of happy days at Abney.’ Abney, a Victorian house built in gothic style, was the home of James and Christie’s sister, and was the place that Christie stayed in when recovering from the trauma of her disappearance.

In 1963, a film version of After the Funeral was created and titled Murder at the Gallop. Hercule Poirot was replaced with the character of Miss Marple, played by Margaret Rutherford. In 2006, the novel was adapted again, this time featuring David Suchet as Poirot.

Did you know?

The story was first published in the US under the title Funerals are Fatal before being published in the UK as After the Funeral.