"MUST HAVE": The 2016 Commemorative Box Set
In 2016, Agatha Christie Limited organized the issuance by HarperCollins of the Commemorative Box Set that included two novels - The Mysterious Affair at Styles and Curtain: Poirot's Last Case - plus many other 'extras' that make this a 'must have' for any Christie collector.
Marking exactly 100 years since Agatha Christie wrote her first novel, this box set provided two stunning new cover paintings by Tom Adams, Christie's celebrated cover artist from the 1960s onward. Viewed together, they provide great artistic 'book-ends' to the life of Hercule Poirot. Adams never painted any other pairing of covers for stories that may go together, such as Caribbean Mystery and Nemesis, or The Secret Adversary and Partners in Crime, so this pairing of images in unique in his repertoire. There is also a drawing of Styles included on the frontispiece of each book done by Adams, that further expands on the look of the house from the front covers.
Included as an addendum in The Mysterious Affair At Styles is the previously unpublished version of Chapter 12, titled "The Last Link", which offers readers a courtroom ending to the novel. The book also has an introduction from John Curran.
In Curtain: Poirot's Last Case, there is an introduction by Tom Adams and a short article written by Christie in 1941 titled "Drugs and Detective Stories" where she provides some insights into her passion for poisons.
Also included in the box set is a small pamphlet reproducing "A Letter To My Publisher" in which Hercule Poirot is answering questions sent to him by M. Dodd (his US publisher). This letter was first published in the US in 1936 in the omnibus titled Hercule Poirot: Master Detective. While the background Poirot provides about himself in the letter can be found in his various novels, it is a concise little history every fan of Poirot should read.
Collectively, the two books, pamphlet and promotional insert are housed in an appealing slipcase. This set is still widely available and affordable. However, the day will come when they are hard to find so all fans and collectors of Christie and Poirot alike are encouraged to obtain a set now if you don't already have one.