COLLECT: The Folio Society's Agatha Christie Books
Over the last 30 years, the Folio Society has been publishing wonderful editions of Agatha Christie novels and short stories. Blending together high-quality production, curated introductions and wonderful artwork, these books are gaining popularity among readers, fans and collectors of Christie’s works. This article provides a complete resource of the publishing history of these Folio Society books that every Christie fan would want to know about.
About the Folio Society: Founded in London in 1947, The Folio Society publishes carefully crafted editions of the world’s finest literature. They believe that great books deserve to be presented in a form worthy of their contents. For over 70 years they have celebrated the unique joy to be derived from owning, holding and reading a beautiful printed edition. Beautifully crafted, imaginative editions of the world’s great works of fiction and non-fiction, Folio Society books offer a rich literary experience for readers.
The Contributors: While all of the artists, editors and authors of the introductions are highly respected individuals, the art of Andrew Davidson has elevated these Folio Society books to a high level of desirability. Andrew Davidson studied graphic design at Norwich School of Art and then at the Royal College of Art. He has worked with publishers over the years, but for mystery fans is perhaps now most well-known for his contribution to these wonderful Christie Folio Society books and for the covers of Maisie Dobbs books (by Jacqueline Winspear). Hopefully, his partnership with the Folio Society will continue well into the future and many more Christie novels can be published that utilize his art.
The Titles & Years Published: Many of the Folio Society books were issued as sets. The books found in sets were also made available as individual titles. All single books and sets were issued with slipcases. Christie's work was also found in various multi-author short-story collections. All Folio Society books that had any of Christie's work are included in the list below. Images for all these books can be found at the foot of this article.
1990: The Railway Mystery Set: includes two books: The Mystery of the Blue Train, introduced by Tim Heald and art by David Eccles, and 4:50 From Paddington, introduced by Robert Barnard and art by David Eccles.
1991: Crime Stories from The Strand: Includes two short stories by Agatha Christie that were originally included in The Strand magazine: Poirot and the Triangle at Rhodes (1936), and The Case of the Retired Jeweller (1942). The story collection was curated by Geraldine Beare, the introduction was by H.R.F. Keating and illustrations were by David Eccles.
2003: The Complete Hercule Poirot Short Stories (3 volumes): Includes numerous stories taken from Poirot's Early Cases, Poirot Investigates, and Murder in the Mews, just to name a few. Introduced by Maxim Jakubowski and illustrated by Christopher Brown.
2003: The Complete Miss Marple Short Stories: Includes all 20 Marple shorts, including The Tuesday Club. Introduced by Stella Duffy with illustrations by Christopher Brown.
Note: The first issue of this Folio Society book has an image of Miss Marple on the cover. The 2006 reissue used images of five teacups. The 2013 issue is considered a completely separate edition (see below).
2004: Christmas Crime Stories: Includes The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding. Illustrated by Michael Foreman. Available as part of a set paired with Christmas Ghost Stories, but which contained no Christie stories.
2007: The Folio Treasury of Shorter Crime Fiction: Four volumes in total. Agatha Christie’s Dead Man’s Mirror is included in Volume II. Illustrated by Nick Hardcastle.
2012: The Miss Marple Box Set: Four volumes in total. Each volume is a separate novel. They are: Murder at the Vicarage, The Body in the Library, Pocket Full of Rye, and Sleeping Murder. Introduced by Laura Thompson and illustrated by Andrew Davidson. Original price £100.
2013: Miss Marple Short Stories. While technically a reissue of the 2003 book since it is still introduced by Stella Duffy, this version is illustrated by Andrew Davidson and has an entirely fresh design. It is still available for purchase direct from the Folio Society.
2014: Hercule Poirot Novels Box Set: Four volumes in total. As with other sets, issued individually or as a set. Each volume is a separate novel. They are: The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Murder on the Orient Express, The ABC Murders, and Death on the Nile. Introduced by Anthony Horowitz and illustrated by Andrew Davidson. Original price £110.
2016: The Floating Admiral: A single volume. While written by members of the Detection Club, Agatha Christie did contribute Chapter 4. Illustrated by Mark Thomas with an introduction by Simon Brett.
2017: And Then There Were None: Illustrated by David Lupton using black and white art. A very different stylistic look from the other recent Christie books.
2019: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: Introduced by Sophie Hannah and illustrated by Andrew Davidson. It is still available for purchase directly from the Folio Society.
2020: Five Little Pigs: The newest title published. Illustrated by Andrew Davidson. It is still available for purchase direct from the Folio Society.
Values: New books generally sell for £36.95 (UK) or $54.95 (USA). Older set prices are reference earlier when known. Most of these books can still be found fairly easily for prices similar to new prices per volume if condition warrants. Otherwise, books with shelf wear and usage typically sell for less. Going forward, expect all Folio Society books to gain value as collectors and fans of Christie become more familiar with them. Popular titles illustrated by Andrew Davidson will likely become the most desirable. Most books came with a slip case which should be obtained whenever possible to justify full pricing.