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  • Writer's pictureDavid Morris

COLLECT: Agatha Christie First Editions: 1965-1970

Updated: Mar 4

This is the eleventh instalment in my series on ‘true firsts’ where I review the first time Agatha Christie’s stories were published - both novels and magazine printings are considered. To review prior time periods for first editions click the relevant link below or select ‘First Editions’ (link) from the menu choices on the home page of the website to read all the articles about first edition books.


Part 1: 1920 to 1932 (link)

Part 2: 1933 to 1935 (link)

Part 3: 1935 to 1937 (link)

Part 4: 1938 to 1940 (link)

Part 5: 1940 to 1944 (link)

Part 6: 1944 to 1948 (link)

Part 7: 1948 to 1951 (link)

Part 8: 1952 to 1954 (link)

Part 9: 1955 to 1959 (link)

Part 10: 1960 to 1964 (link)


This article focuses on Christie's fictional mystery novels. During this period Star over Bethlehem was also published (1965). To learn more about this collection of poems, please go to this link.

At Bertrams Hotel - 1965.

First Edition: This novel was first published in book form by Collins's Crime Club imprint on the 15th November, 1965. The book was priced '16s net' on the front flap. Because this was a 'Christie for Christmas' title, many first editions will have price clipped jackets. Value for a very good copy with a complete jacket is £75-100.


The novel was then serialised in the UK weekly magazine Woman's Own in five abridged instalments from 20 November – 18 December 1965. In earlier years, the serialisation would often precede the book publication, but no longer.


First US Appearance: In the US the novel was first serialised in Good Housekeeping magazine in two instalments from March (Vol. 162, No. 3) to April 1966 (Vol. 162, No. 4).


First US Hardback: In the US, Dodd Mead & Co published the book in late summer 1966. The image on the cover was courtesy of Good Housekeeping - the magazine that had just serialised the story. The book was priced $4.50 on the front flap.

The first printing of this book appears to have been a fairly small run, as a second printing is quite ubiquitous. Thus, patience may be needed to find a collector quality first printing. Value for a very good copy with a complete jacket is $50 - $75.


Third Girl - 1966.

First Edition: The novel was first published in book form by Collins' Crime Club imprint in November 1966. It was priced '18s net' on the front flap. Again, price clipped jackets are common and should be avoided if possible. Value for a very good copy with a complete jacket is £50-75. The publication was again followed by a serialisation in Woman's Own.


First US Appearance: In the US a condensed version of the novel appeared in the April 1967 (Volume 128, Number 6) issue of Redbook magazine. It is interesting that this magazine selected this Christie novel since Redbook states its target audience is young adults. Given the content and themes of the novel the selection was clearly by design.


First US Hardback: In the States, the novel was published by Dodd Mead & Co in September 1967. It was priced $4.50 on the top of the front flap. Many copies available for sale are book club editions.

The correct first is not only priced, but it is shod in blue cloth (smoother for the spine and edge of the boards) and has a list of recent Christie books including two omnibus editions on a separate fly page prior to the title page. Value for a very good copy with a complete jacket is $50-$75.


13 for Luck! - 1966.

While a short-story collection under this title was published in the US by Dodd Mead & Co in 1961, the contents were slightly different than this Collins edition. The original premise of the book was to attract younger readers. The Collins version of 13 for Luck! did contain a first hardback printing for the UK market of The Market Basing Mystery. Consequently, this is an important book for completist collectors.


First UK Edition: Published by Collins in 1966 and priced ‘15s net’ on the front flap. This was not a Crime Club selection. Of note, The Market Basing Mystery was previously published in the UK in October 1923 in The Sketch. This short story was published in the US in 1951 in the short story collection The Underdog and Other Stories, but remained unpublished in the UK. This book has become fairly challenging to find in very good condition and its print run was far smaller than Christie's Crime Club titles. However, it can still be acquired for £50-75 which likely offers good value in the long run.


13 Clues for Miss Marple - 1966.

Not to be confused with 13 for Luck!, Dodd Mead & Co chose to publish a book exclusively for the US market around the same time in 1966 (priced $3.50) – but this was titled 13 Clues for Miss Marple.

There is no similarity between this book and the Collins book. This Dodd Mead title only contains short stories that had previously been published in book form. Thus it is not a true first but is cited here for reference and to avoid confusion with 13 for Luck!


Endless Night - 1967.

First Edition: This novel was first published by Collins' Crime Club imprint on the 30th October, 1967. It was priced '18s net' on the front flap. It does not appear that it was serialised in a UK magazine. Value for a very good copy with a complete jacket is £50-75.


First US Appearance: In the US, the novel was first serialised in two parts in The Saturday Evening Post. Part 1 was printed on 24th February 1968 (Vol. 241, No. 4) with Part 2 printed on the 9th March (Vol. 241, No. 5). These are highly collectible for the artwork by Tom Adams.

Tom Adams did the illustrations for both magazines. While some of the artwork appeared on his paperbacks, much of it is unique to the Saturday Evening Post.


First US Hardback: Dodd Mead & Co published the book in mid-March 1968 and it was priced $4.50.

As with other Dodd titles, collectors must cautiously avoid the book club editions. A very good copy in the correct and complete jacket is worth $50-60.


By the Pricking of my Thumbs - 1968.

First Edition: This story was first published as a book by Collins’ Crime Club imprint in November 1968. It was priced '21s net' on the front flap. This is the fourth Tommy & Tuppence novel. Again, many copies for sale have clipped jackets. This book appears to come in two cloth variants. Green cloth is the dominant variant, but red cloth also exists. Potentially using up stock from Endless Night or in advance of returning to red for Hallowe'en Party once the green ran out. Value for a very good copy with a complete jacket is £50-75.


First US Hardback: In the States, Dodd Mead & Co published the complete book in December 1968, priced $4.95.

There is also a known second printing in addition to tshe book club editions. A true first with a correctly priced jacket is now quite hard to find and is valued at $50-60.


A heavily abridged version of the novel was published in the July 1969 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine (Vol. 167, No. 1). While the index states it to be a ‘complete mystery novel’, that only describes the reality that it is not being serialised. However, what was given to readers was far from complete with the novel filling only about a dozen pages.

Sadly no unique art from Tom Adams in this magazine! Given the content promoted on the cover one wonder's whether Christie was pleased with arrangement to appear in this magazine.


Hallowe'en Party - 1969.


First Edition: This novel was surprisingly first published in November 1969. While it was a 'Christie for Christmas', in hindsight a release date in early October might have been better given the title! In advance of decimalisation, the book was priced £1.25 net and 25s net on the front flap. Unpriced jackets are known to exist for the export market. Value for a very good copy with a complete priced jacket is £70-90.


As with a few prior novels, Woman's Own serialised this book across 7 abridged instalments from the 15th November to the 27th December, 1969.


First US Hardback: Dodd Mead & Co published the book in November 1969 priced $5.95. The book boards are also orange and black. It is generally accepted that the publication date was shortly after the UK edition since newspaper references to the title appear earlier in the UK. Book club editions are prolific are are different in that the boards are solid black and there is no listing of Christie's prior titles on the front fly pages. A true first with a correctly priced jacket is now quite hard to find and is valued at $55-65.


Shortly after publication in the States a heavily abridged version appeared in the December 1969 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine (Vol. 167 No. 6). As with the prior book, while it stated it was a 'complete' novel, this only referred to it not being serialised across several issues.

Also, as with the last book, the rest of the content has a very 60s Cosmopolitan vibe and no unique artwork to share.


Passenger to Frankfurt - 1970.


First Edition: This book was first published by Collins' Crime Club imprint in September 1970 - a little earlier than usual. As with the prior title it was priced both '25s net' and '£1.25 net' as decimalization was now only a few months away. Unusually, the prices are slightly offset making it harder to price-clip the jacket without cutting a larger portion away. Value for a very good copy with a complete priced jacket is £30-40.


First US Hardback: Dodd Mead & Co published the novel in [November] 1970. It was priced $5.95. Rather surprisingly there were a lot of printings - up to seven known reprints (noted on the copyright page). The book club editions are also everywhere. To ensure you are obtaining a first edition, make sure the jacket is correctly priced and no other printings are referenced next to the copyright. A true first with a correctly priced jacket is now quite hard to find and is valued at $40-50.


The book does not appear to have been serialised in either the UK or US.


Summary.

While these books are all generally quite affordable, they are not as easy to find in the correct first edition version as one might think - with a complete correct jacket and in very good or better condition. Books from the latter part of Christie's years may not be on everyone's top 10 list, but they do offer an affordable entry point into building a collection of first editons. However, the day will come when collectible quality copies of these books are even harder to find. Be patient and find books that are not price-clipped, do not have previous owner signatures and are complete. For US editions, ensure the copy you are buying is the correct first and not the book club version. There are online sites that sell facsimile jackets and these can be used as reference also. For the magazines discussed, collector quality copies are quite affordable, and most can be found for affordable prices. Some just take patience to find.


If I have missed anything, have incorrect information, or if you have any questions or feedback, please email me at: collectchristie@gmail.com  


As always, thanks for reading and comments are always most welcome. If you are not a subscriber to my website, please consider subscribing here: link. This ensures you receive an email any time I write and post an article. Also, consider following me on X (formerly Twitter) @collectchristie and on Facebook (link). The content varies across platforms.


Happy Hunting!


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John PERRY
John PERRY
01. mar.

Redbook April 1967 incorrectly listing (THE) Third Girl.

Lik
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