Tuesday, October 4, 2016

ODD BITS: Britain's Royal Mail releases stylish, puzzle-filled Agatha Christie commemoratives

In honor of the 100th anniversary of Agatha Christie's first book release --
the Mysterious Affair at Styles, which introduced the redoubtable Belgian detective 
Hercule Poirot -- the British Royal Mail has published a 6-stamp set 
of fiendishly chic Art Deco stamps. Each contains a hidden clue 
as to the identity of the murderer, along with a "red herring" to mislead the viewer.

This design is so clever, I almost can't stand it!

The Mysterious Affair at Styles was written in the middle of the First World War, in 1916, and released in 1920. It was Christie's first published novel, introducing the recurring 
characters Hercule Poirot, Chief Inspector Japp, and loyal sidekick Arthur Hastings. 
Poirot is a Belgian refugee settling in England near the home of Emily Inglethorp, a good friend who is helping him to begin his new life. Alas, she is killed, 
and Poirot uses his incisive detective skills to solve the mystery.
Below: Ms. Christie at her writing desk, surveying a few of her titles
When will they topple?

Agatha Christie was the best-selling novelist of all time. Her entire output consists of 72 novels and countless short story collections, as well as poetry, memoirs, children’s stories and plays. Her books have been translated into 103 languages, and to date 
more than two billion (yes, that's a "b") copies of them have been sold.

“With her astonishing number of book sales worldwide, crime writer and playwright 
Agatha Christie has been outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible,” said a 
spokesman for the Royal Mail. “So it’s fitting that we mark not just the centenary of her writing her first crime novel, but also the 40th anniversary of her death with 
a stamp issue that’s full of intrigue.”

In And Then There Were None, a curious assortment of 10 strangers are summoned as weekend guests to a creepy private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, 
an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. What all
the guests have in common are checkered pasts and secrets that will seal their fate
 each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall. Before the weekend is out, 
there will be no one left. Only the dead are above suspicion.

Murder on the Orient Express (1934) is perhaps the best-known and loved of all Agatha Christie's novels. It has been made into a film and television show several times (1974, 2001, 2010, 2015) each with an illustrious actor playing detective Hercule Poirot: Albert Finney, Peter Ustinov, and Alfred Molina among them. For me, actor David Suchet was the greatest of them all, capturing Poirot's fastidiousness and wry wit brilliantly.

 David Suchet in his signature role

A 2017 film release of Murder on the Orient Express is reputed to be in the works.
It will star Kenneth Branagh, with Dame Judi Dench, Sir Derek Jacobi,
Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer in supporting roles.

 A Murder is Announced (1950) introduces Miss Marple,
a tea-sipping, down-to-earth and kindhearted crime solver. 
At the beginning of the book, a perplexing notice appears in the morning paper 
of a perfectly ordinary (and perfectly named) small English village, Chipping Cleghorn: 
"A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October 29th, 
at Little Paddocks, at 6:30 p.m." Mayhem and paranoia ensue.
... in which the body of a dishy young platinum blonde woman (some may say "tart") unknown to the household is found in the library at Gossington Hall, the residence of  
quiet retired Colonel Arthur Bantry and his wife Dolly. She was strangled. 
Arthur calls the police, and Dolly calls her old friend, Miss Marple to solve the crime.
I'm with her!

   °     °     °      °      °     °     °     °     °     °         

A note about the stamps:
According to The Guardian newspaper, each design includes microtext, UV ink and 
thermochromic ink. "The concealed clues can be revealed using either a magnifying 
glass, UV light or body heat, and provide pointers to the mysteries’ solutions."

For more information, link here

Au revoir, mon ami


No comments:

Post a Comment