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Galaxy Quick Reads - The Double Clue

4th February 2016

Quick Reads are a series of short books by bestselling authors which are designed for busy people and less confident reads. The books chosen this year include a collection of four Hercule Poirot stories which were selected and edited by author Sophie Hannah and John Curran. The Double Clue and Other Hercule Poirot Stories follows the famous Belgian detective as he sets out to solve four different mysteries. Below is the introduction to the short story collection written by Sophie Hannah.

Agatha Christie is the bestselling novelist of all time. Only the Bible and Shakespeare have sold more copies than her books. Readers all over the world have adored her stories for decades. So what makes her work so incredibly popular, and why is she still worth reading today?

I think the answers to these questions have something to do with the way that Agatha Christie manages to blend opposites in a seamless and perfect way. Her books are so simple that they can be enjoyed by children, yet at the same time the puzzles within them are complex challenges for the bright adult mind.

Her detective Hercule Poirot is a strange mixture of opposites too: his powers of observation, his grasp of logic, his intelligence, his understanding of the human mind – these are all superhuman traits, but he is also very much an ordinary human being, with his fussy, annoying habits and his obsession with his moustache. We take him very seriously, yet we also laugh fondly at him. We love him, though he sometimes infuriates us. He clearly has great depth and is wise and experienced, yet we never learn any details of his past.

Agatha Christie’s mysteries always grapple with questions of good and evil, and she shows time and time again that she is fully aware of the darkness that lingers inside us all. Yet – again, in a seamless blend of apparent opposites – her novels and short stories are not depressing or bleak to read. Rather, her tales are huge fun and have plenty of the feel-good factor.

Above all, Agatha Christie is a genius storyteller. She understood that readers want a great story more than they want anything else. And time and time again, over a career that spanned many decades, great stories were what she gave us. Hooray for Agatha Christie!

Find out more about Quick Reads.