10 Things You Might Not Know About The Sittaford Mystery

Thumbnail Charlie Chopra Key Art
The new TV series is streaming on Sony LIV in India

To celebrate the Indian adaptation of The Sittaford Mystery on Sony LIV, Charlie Chopra & the Mystery of Solang Valley, we explore some fascinating facts about the book, its publication history, and previous iterations of the story.

  • The Sittaford Mystery was first published in the US in 1931, and later on in the same year in the UK. It cost two dollars, or seven shillings and sixpence.
  • In America, the title of the book was changed to The Murder at Hazelmoor. It was one of the first Christie books to receive a new name for the American markets. Over the following decades, many of Christie's novels were retitled for American readers, occasionally multiple times. It wasn't until the 1990s that the American publishers made a point of publishing the books under their original titles.
  • Agatha Christie dedicated the book to her husband Max, writing "To M.E.M,: With whom I discussed the plot of this book, to the alarm of those around us." The E stands for Edgar.
  • Alongside Hercule Poirot's Christmas and 4.50 from Paddington, this is one of the few Christie novels that is set around the festive season.
Up here, in the tiny village of Sittaford, at all times remote from the world, and now almost completely cut off, the rigours of winter were a very real problem.
Agatha Christie, The Sittaford Mystery
Thumbnail The Sittaford Mystery Cover Art
Cover art taken from the HarperCollins edition of The Sittaford Mystery
  • All but a handful of Agatha Christie's novels feature at least one character who appears in another of her stories. The only character in The Sittaford Mystery to make a second appearance might be Inspector Narracott, who may or may not be the same Inspector who plays in important part in Christie's radio play Personal Call.
  • The author goes into plenty about details about her books in her autobiography, but interestingly The Sittaford Mystery is never mentioned in it.
  • There are several nods to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s life and works in the story: Conan Doyle was an ardent spiritualist in his later years, and this is reflected in the table-turning séance scene, along with one character, Mr Enderby, who is interested in psychical research. At one point, Conan Doyle is name-dropped, with Enderby saying that in regards to the séance, he’d like to “Get opinions from Sir Oliver Lodge and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and a few actresses and people about it.” Like The Hound of the Baskervilles, both books are set in Dartmoor and they also contain a subplot about an escaped convict.
  • The Sittaford Mystery was dramatized into a BBC radio production in 1990. Melinda Walker played Emily Trefusis, Stephen Tompkinson was Charles Enderby, and Geoffrey Whitehead was Inspector Narracott. John Moffatt, who played Poirot in twenty-five BBC radio adaptations, played Mr Rycroft in this production.
  • The Sittaford Mystery was adapted for an episode of the Geraldine McEwan series Marple in 2006, though Miss Marple doesn’t appear in the original book. The plot altered to include the female sleuth, and also starred James Bond star Timothy Dalton as Clive Trevelyan.
  • The novel was also adapted for the French series Les Petits Meutres d’Agatha Christie in Agatha Christie, in the 2019 episode entitled 'Mélofie Mortelle'. Audiences are transported to the 60s, where successful singer Nicky is recording her music at a television studios. Her post-performance routine of table-turning produces terrifying results, predicting the death of her band-mate and partner Michel. Whilst the show moves the story into a new timeframe and setting, viewers can expect plenty of recurrent themes from the book, including the dangers of uncovering the ghosts of the past...

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