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  • Writer's pictureDavid Morris

COLLECT: Agatha Christie's Hallowe'en Party

The Collins Crime Club first edition (1969). Fairly uninspired cover.

As Hallowe'en approaches, it seems wholly appropriate to have an article on Agatha Christie’s Hallowe’en Party from 1969. While many fans of Christie’s work will not list this anywhere near the top of her ‘best of’ list, it still has much to offer the reader. While most versions of this book can be found at used book prices, a few are a little harder to locate in good condition, though none are expensive. To add some festivities to the season, our focus is on all the different covers for this title. While some are beyond boring (US first edition), others are period classics (the Foyle’s Book Club edition).

The US first edition by Dodd Mead. Surely an artist could have been hired?

A few offer a haunting effect such as the Tom Adams skull (below) and the black and white photo from the mass market paperback in the genre of the Blair Witch project (in the montage panel later in this article). Out of all the covers hopefully there are a few that put you in the Hallowe'en spirit.

The Tom Adams cover from the UK first paperback (1972).

The Story: Hallowe’en Party features both Hercule Poirot and the mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver. At a Hallowe'en party a girl, Joyce, claims she once witnessed a murder. Soon after leaving the party the girl herself is found murdered, drowned in an apple-bobbing barrel. Ariadne Oliver calls in Poirot to assist.

The Foyle's Book Club Edition (1969) offering a classic late 60s pulp style image.

Christie dedicated the novel "To P. G. Wodehouse — whose books and stories have brightened my life for many years. Also, to show my pleasure in his having been kind enough to tell me he enjoyed my books."

The covers of the graphic novels - French version (2007) and US version (2008)

Publishing history:

1969: First Edition: Collins Crime Club (London). HarperCollins also issued a facsimile version of this book in 2009.

1969: First US Edition: Dodd Mead and Company (New York).

1970: First US Paperback: Pocket Books (New York).

1972: First UK Paperback: Fontana Books (London & Glasgow).

1984: First Bantam Leatherette: Division of Putnam (New York).

2007: First Graphic Novel: French (2008: HarperCollins) - adapted and illustrated by "Chandre".

Magazine Publications:

The novel was first serialised in the weekly magazine Woman's Own (UK) in seven abridged instalments from 15 November to 27 December 1969. Thus the hardback is the true first. In the US, the novel appeared in the December 1969 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.

The US first paperback edition.

Values: All books have used book pricing with the exception of the first editions which depending on condition can command a slight premium. The UK first is generally available for £50 ($70 US) or less, even when in near fine condition. The Foyle’s Book Club Edition could command similar pricing. The Bantam version is generally available for £10 ($13 US). All others would be less valuable, including the US first.

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