COLLECT: Christmas Adventure - 1st US printings
Each quarter, The Strand Magazine in the US publishes a new issue with a focus on previously unpublished works by famous authors and new works from up and coming writers. This new issue - #61, Oct 2020 - Jan 2021 - is of note for Christie collectors as it contains the first ever US printing of Christmas Adventure, a short-story by Agatha Christie. Soon thereafter, a book containing this story will be issued in the US by HarperCollins. So for collectors of all firsts by Christie in the US, both this magazine and upcoming book will need to be added to your list.
Their new issue (#61) is being sold as an "Agatha Christie combo pack" by pairing the regular quarterly issue with a vintage issue from 2009 when they first published The Incident of the Dog's Ball - the basis for Dumb Witness and the first time it appeared in print in the US.
Christmas Adventure: This story was first printed in the UK by The Sketch magazine on 12 December 1923, under the title The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (though still the original short version). It was later published under the title Christmas Adventure in two obscure booklets Problem at Pollensa Bay and Christmas Adventure (Todd 1943) and Poirot Knows the Murderer (Polybooks 1946). The latest edition of The Strand Magazine (US) uses the title Christmas Adventure while reproducing the story as it originally appeared, in all other aspects, in The Sketch (UK) magazine in 1923.
The story was later expanded into a novella and reissued with the title The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding as part of the Collins Crime Club book in 1960. The shorter version did not appear in book form in the UK until it was included in the collection While the Light Lasts and Other Stories (1997).
In the US, the revised and longer version first appeared in Double Sin and Other Stories (1961) under the title of The Theft of the Royal Ruby with some slight revisions to the UK version. Prior to this new magazine from The Strand Magazine, the original shorter version had not been published in the US. The Strand Magazine describes this issue as containing "a story featuring a certain little Belgian detective with a waxed moustache and egg-shaped head, who finds himself far away from the comforts of his usual London life, celebrating an old-fashioned family Christmas in the English countryside."
Part of the reason this was issued now in the US may be to help promote the issuance of Midwinter Murder, an anthology of Christie’s short stories featuring Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple to be published by HarperCollins. This paperback book will contain Christmas Adventure (plus another 11 short stories) and goes on sale in the US on October 20th, 2020. This book was recently issued in the UK on 1st October, 2020.