Facts About Hercule Poirot

We've handpicked some of our favourite facts about Agatha Christie's famous fictional creation, Hercule Poirot.

1. Hercule Poirot first appeared in chapter two of Agatha Christie’s first published novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which was completed in 1916 but not published until 1920.

2. The first description of Poirot was by Hastings in The Mysterious Affair at Styles who said, ‘He was hardly more than five feet four inches but carried himself with great dignity. His head was exactly the shape of an egg, and he always perched it a little on one side…The neatness of his attire was almost incredible; I believe a speck of dust would have caused him more pain than a bullet wound.”

3. He is a retired Belgian police officer turned world famous private detective.

4. Poirot is disgusted by disorder and once said that he finds it, “really unsupportable that every hen lays an egg of a different size! What symmetry can there be on the breakfast table?” He’s also known to have refused to eat an irregularly shaped loaf of bread.

5. He insists on precision and neatness and even his books are arranged in height order.

6. He takes great pride in his appearance from his immaculately groomed black moustache to his patent leather shoes. He uses a special preparation called “Revivit” to darken his grey hair.

7. Agatha Christie ‘saw’ the living embodiment of Hercule Poirot twice in her life – once having lunch in the Savoy and once on a boat trip in the Canary Islands.

8. Christie dropped the Belgian detective from four of her Poirot novels when she adapted them for the stage. These were Murder on the Nile (Death on the Nile), Appointment with Death, The Hollow and Go Back for Murder (Five Little Pigs).

9. He is the only fictional character to have received an obituary on the front of The New York Times in 1975, following the publication of Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case.

10. Christie had originally planned to have Miss Marple as the detective in Death on the Nile instead of Poirot.

11. In an article written for The Daily Mail in 1938, Agatha Christie counted The Murder of Roger Ackroyd as one of Poirot’s favourite cases, explaining that in the book ‘he was at his best, investigating a crime in a quiet country village and using his knowledge of human nature to get at the truth.’

12. In 2014, HarperCollins published the first authorised Poirot continuation novel, The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah, which reached the bestseller charts in 16 territories including the UK and US.

13. Poirot stars in 33 novels and 59 short stories and 1 original play by Agatha Christie, and 2 continuation novels by Sophie Hannah.

14. Charles Laughton was the first actor to play Hercule Poirot on the stage in 1928’s production of Alibi (based on The Murder of Roger Ackroyd), and he has since been played by Albert Finney, Peter Ustinov and David Suchet to name a few.

15. Poirot narrates most of his own adventures in The Lost Mine and The Chocolate Box. Hastings is the most frequent narrator of Poirot stories, but other narrators include Dr. Sheppard ( The Murder of Roger Ackroyd), Nurse Leatheran ( Murder in Mesopotamia), and Colin Lamb ( The Clocks).

16. Poirot doesn't just investigate murders in England. He has investigated crimes in France, Belgium, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Switzerland, and the Balkans.

17. Poirot is very particular about the beverages he drinks. His preferred hot beverage is cocoa, though he often takes herbal tisanes for health reasons. He does not care for many forms of alcohol, like beer and most hard liquors, but he does like good wines. His preferred aperitifs are non-alcoholic sirops, in flavours like blackcurrant and other fruits.

18. The great love of Poirot's life is Countess Vera Rossakoff, a flamboyant Russian expatriate who may or may not be a true aristocrat. The Countess is a jewel thief and henchwoman for The Big Four before she reforms and eventually manages a nightclub.

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