Few fictional detectives are as universally recognised and loved as Agatha Christie's eccentric Hercule Poirot. This year will mark 100 years since Christie created the Belgian inspector, whose quaint, wry humour and tasteful wardrobe inspired a slew of television series, films, plays and even video games.
To celebrate, here are some lesser known facts about Christie's greatest creation.
His death made international news
In 1975, the New York Times published Hercule Poirot's obituary, making him the first fictional character in history to receive one. The paper read: 'Hercule Poirot, a Belgian detective who became internationally famous, has died in England. His career, as chronicled in the novels of Dame Agatha Christie, was one of the most illustrious in fiction.'
Christie was not very fond of her creation
Though her books went on to sell millions of copies, making her one of the best-selling fiction authors in history, Agatha herself grew tired of Poirot quickly, and even described him as a 'detestable, bombastic, tiresome, ego-centric little creep'. Despite it all, she continued to write, for the sake of his many fans.
Christie's family recommended the actor who played him
David Suchet, who became famous for his role as Poirot, impressed Christie's family in his performance in the British series Blott on the Landscape. They were not let down, and Suchet was nominated for a BAFTA for his role. In an interview with the Observer, Suchet stated acting as Poirot was 'the most beautiful gift'.
A new book featuring Poirot was published in 2014
British poet and author Sophie Hannah was granted permission from the Christie estate to write a new novel featuring the character after sending them a 100 page outline on the novel. Titled The Monogram Murders, Hannah received mixed reviews, a critic from The Guardian stating it lacked 'the sublime simplicity at the heart of Agatha Christie's original novels'.
Poirot was a combination of other famous detectives
When naming her character, Christie combined two other famous literary sleuths: Marie Lowndes' Hercule Popeau and Frank Evans' Monsieur Poiret. While writing her early stories, she took inspiration from Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, though later she found her own voice, as evidenced by Poirot's lasting power.