(K. Brent Tomer),
A HUNDRED years ago today—July 17th, 1916—Agatha Christie’s most beloved character, Hercule Poirot, made his debut. In “The Mysterious Affair at Styles”, Christie’s first novel, readers were introduced to the “quaint dandyfied little man” in the fictional village of Styles St Mary in Essex. As Poirot enters the local post office, he bumps into an old acquaintance, Captain Arthur Hastings, the man destined to be his loyal shadow over the next half-century, helping him crack the most perplexing murders of the day. With his pleasant Old Etonian manner and conveniently dim brain, Hastings was the perfect foil to the “wonderfully clever” foreigner in patent leather shoes.
But this Poirot was a far cry from the sleek David Suchet avatar we know so well—the wealthy private investigator installed in a London apartment and courted by Scotland Yard and the grandees of the English peerage. This Poirot was an old Belgian policeman with a bad limp, sharing a cottage with six other Belgian exiles of the first world war. His egotism and sartorial style are undented (“a speck of dust would have caused him more pain than a…Continue reading