November 13, 2015

How to keep repackaging Agatha Christie


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Image via Mr. Quin

Only Shakespeare and the Bible have out-performed the sales of Agatha Christie, the Grand Dame of detective fiction. (According to her estate, her books have sold over four billion copies.)

But, now, in the early days of the 21st century, Christie’s writing career, which spanned four decades and produced 60-plus pieces of mystery and adventure, has finally reached its maturity. Her works, which have been translated into more languages than any other popular fiction, and which have been adapted for the stage, screen and radio, will now be transformed into … #content.

The Bookseller‘s Katherine Cowdrey reports:

TELL and Agatha Christie Productions (ACP) have launched a new storytelling app based on Christie’s short story collection The Mysterious Mr. Quin, starring Game of Thrones actor Gethin Anthony in the lead role.

The Mr. Quin app was released to the Apple App Store today and billed as the first ‘digital drama’ of its kind, as well as the first contemporary adaptation to feature Christie’s supernatural duo, Quin and Satterthwaite.

As a “multimedia stream with social functionality,” the app allows viewers not only to experience the drama but to share and comment on their favourite content. On reaching the mystery’s conclusion, the audience is then able to revisit content, to uncover further details of the plot and continue piecing the puzzle together.

The app’s website is slick, if a bit awkward—the landing page reads: “Agatha Christie told like never before…watch the timeline unfold as the guests uncover the mystery of their friend’s suicide with the help of the mysterious Mr. Quin.” But the investigative nature of detective fiction seems nicely suited to the fragmentary and interactive nature of smartphone content, and most of the stories in The Mysterious Mr. Quin are self-contained capers, largely confined to social gatherings—cocktail party mysteries, if you will. Party on, Agatha.

So, yes, there’s now even an app for that.



Simon Reichley is assistant to the publishers and office manager at Melville House.