Reading Lists

Discover the Poirot continuation novels

Thumbnail All Four PBSH Novels

Classic crime fascinates us, but that doesn’t mean we never have time to read new releases. We introduce the criminally-good Poirot continuation stories, written by Sophie Hannah.

The Monogram Murders

Sophie Hannah’s first ever Poirot continuation novel is a thoroughly stylish affair, faithful to Christie’s story-telling style, yet with a modern touch. Three murder victims are found at the Bloxham Hotel, with monogrammed cufflinks in their mouths. It is clear the cases are linked, but how? Inspector Edward Catchpool, our narrator and Poirot’s companion throughout, must solve this sinister and puzzling mystery, with the help of the little grey cells, of course…

Each of his crime scenes was a work of macabre art with a hidden meaning that I could not decipher.
Inspector Catchpool

Closed Casket

The country mansion of Lady Athelinda Playford is the setting for Hannah’s second Poirot mystery. Lady Playford has invited an interesting assortment of guests to her house in County Cork. Once they are assembled, she intends to announce her new will. But why has she invited Poirot, and Inspector Catchpool, when she has never met either of them before? The Playford children are both expecting their share of their mother's estate, yet she seems determined to leave everything she owns to a man who only has weeks to live...

In Poirot’s presence, it is easy to feel that one is a disappointing specimen.
Inspector Catchpool

The Mystery of Three Quarters

Sophie Hannah’s third Poirot novel is a showstopper. Red herrings and false accusations abound, as Poirot finds himself at the centre of a poison pen scandal. Four letters were sent in his name, accusing four people of the same murder, but the famous Belgian detective didn’t write them. The question is, who did? And is there a murder to be solved? Join Inspector Catchpool, Hercule Poirot and a chorus of suspects at Combingham Hall for an unforgettable investigation.

Please explain to me why you and Poirot are determined to accuse an innocent man of a murder that wasn’t a murder at all.
Superintendent Bewes

The Killings at Kingfisher Hill,

The latest mystery has landed, and Hercule Poirot is ready to board a luxury coach to the renowned Kingfisher Hill estate, with Catchpool for company. The Belgian detective has been called to help in a family matter, by Richard Devonport, who is determined to prove that his fiancé didn't kill his brother Frank. But then why did Helen Acton confess to the crime?

Read an extract and discover international publication dates

We spoke to Sophie about how she created the Poirot continuation novels. She said:

"In some ways, I think of The Mystery of Three Quarters as my scariest Poirot novel. Not scariest for the reader, but scariest for me - at least until I'd written it, that is. Each of my first two Poirots, The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket, started with an idea for the ending. In the case of The Monogram Murders, the very first idea I had for the novel, around which the rest of it was based, was an idea for a sort of solution structure, something along the lines of 'The observable facts are X, Y and Z. Everyone will look at X, Y and Z and think of Explanation A, but in fact Explanation B is equally compatible with X, Y and Z, but nobody will think of Explanation B.' That was my starting point, and it led quite organically to the creation of all the other elements of the book.

With Closed Casket, the first spark of inspiration came in the shape of a motive for murder. It was so simple, and almost obvious, that it made me gasp when it landed in my head - literally, a proper gasp. It was a motive that was elegant, ingenious and - like some of the best concepts underpinning Agatha Christie's novels - it could be summarised in four words. I felt as if I'd been given a wonderful gift: a high-concept, detachable motive (by detachable, I mean that you can say those four words and nothing more, and someone might say, 'Oh, that's a brilliant idea' without knowing a anything about the rest of the story) from which everything else originated. I enjoyed writing Closed Casket possibly more than any of my other novels - because all the time that I was writing, I knew I was working my way towards this motive I loved so much. As a result, I adored and still adore, just as passionately, the characters in that novel.

The Mystery of Three Quarters was a scarier book to write because it started with the beginning. The first idea I had for it was an intriguing plot hook, and a mystery for which, at that point, I had no solution: four people receive letters signed in the name 'Hercule Poirot', accusing each of them of the murder of Barnabas Pandy. All four protest their innocence and seem either furious or distraught to be so accused. But Poirot has accused no one of murder, and has never heard of the alleged victim, Barnabas Pandy. He did not write the four letters, and must investigate to find out if there has been a murder at all. If there has, why is somebody so determined to involve him, Hercule Poirot, and in such a devious way? I absolutely loved this as a mysterious hook and as a way to start the novel, and so I committed to it. I told Agatha Christie's family and HarperCollins that this would be the plot of my third Poirot novel - and in doing so, I left myself no choice but to come up with a brilliant way to solve the puzzle. It's a fairly nail-biting approach to writing a novel, but I love a challenge, and it wasn't long before I understood exactly who had done what and why. And in fact, I often adopt this ambitious-blurb-first approach to novel writing! It's a way of ordering my imagination to come up with the goods! It's an approach that's not yet failed me.

And now I'm just beginning to amass notes and ideas for my fourth Poirot novel. Actually, I have two equally compelling ideas that I'm choosing between. One is an end-first idea and one is a beginning-first idea. Hmm. Which to pick? The question, I suppose, is how scared do I want to be while writing..."

Written by Sophie Hannah, April 2019

*Exciting update from Sophie Hannah, July 2020*

Hello, lovely Hercule Poirot and Agatha Christie fans! I have just reread the above piece that I wrote just before The Mystery of Three Quarters was published in paperback. It’s so interesting to see the reference to ‘my fourth Poirot novel’ from a time when I had not yet written it, and at the stage of only just beginning to think about possible ideas.
Well, it is now July 2020 and that novel that I was anticipating writing is now written and about the be published: The Killings at Kingfisher Hill is its title and - rather surprisingly - it is the result of pursuing neither of the two ‘equally compelling’ ideas that I mention above. What a twist!

Here’s what happened. I had lunch with my Poirot editor, David Brawn. I told him about both compelling ideas. I said, ‘I love them both, but I can’t choose between them - which do you prefer?’ He said, ‘Hmm…they sound to me as if they could actually work quite well as part of the same idea.’

As soon as he said it, I saw that he was right. ‘Yes, of course,’ I said. ‘Right! Off I go, to construct a novel based around both those ideas.’

And then…I did not do that. Not at all. Those two equally compelling ideas remain unwritten. Shortly after that lunch with my editor at which we agreed a way forward, I found myself almost ambushed (yes, I know that sounds melodramatic, but that was how it felt) by an entire story that seemed to land in my head as if by magic. The whole thing was there, multi-faceted and complete; missing no component. I had made no effort to solicit its arrival, and yet, it had arrived. I knew instantly that this was my fourth Poirot novel (Poirot was in it - bit of a clue!). I didn’t even have to decide to put the other plan on hold; it was as if the decision was already made.

With all of my other Poirot novels, I had felt that there was a lot of choosing and deciding to be done as I constructed the story. With The Killings at Kingfisher Hill, the work was different. It felt more like unloading all this content that was already in existence, and that had miraculously been delivered to my brain. I hurriedly typed pages and pages of notes, not wanting to miss anything or leave anything out, terrified some of it might disappear.
Luckily, it did not - it only grew stronger and more vivid in my imagination as I planned and wrote it. I very much hope readers enjoy it, because I think of it as ‘my magic book’!

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