British actress Julia McKenzie stars as the beloved spinster sleuth Miss Marple in three new episodes of the popular Agatha Christie?s Miss Marple series.ITB for Masterpiece
British actress Julia McKenzie stars as the beloved spinster sleuth Miss Marple in three new episodes of the popular Agatha Christie?s Miss Marple series.And why not? More than 4 billion of her comfy mystery novels have been sold. And counting. She's only outsold by the Bible and Shakespeare. Not bad company.The Christie celebrations continue this month:•John Curran's Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making ($25.99), on sale Tuesday. It's the follow-up to the Christie historian's 2010 Secret Notebooks. It includes even more unpublished works, letters and archival papers, including a look at the master's final unfinished novel.•A new edition of Agatha Christie: An Autobiography ($29.99), also out Tuesday. The book, first published in 1976 shortly after her death, has been out of print several years. The new edition comes with a CD featuring commentary from Christie herself.• More than 80 of Christie's novels will have been reissued and repackaged in paperback ($12.99) by fall of 2012. Half have already been released.So why does Christie, who began her career in mystery writing with 1920's The Mysterious Affair at Styles (a Hercule Poirot story), still resonate today? No mystery at all, really."Readers still like the world she created, one with recognizable characters in a recognizable setting, one that is momentarily invaded by murder but has order restored by the intervention of The Great Detective," says Curran.Christie remains popular on the TV screen, too, with Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot returning to PBS' Masterpiece in 2013."It's very possible that Agatha Christie might account for more hours from a single writer on Masterpiece than any other," says Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton. "And they're all winners … the stories do well generation after generation."Curran, who is writing his doctoral thesis on Christie at Trinity College, Dublin, says Christie's success is due to the fact that not only was she "accessible" but prolific."You can read a different title every month for seven years."For more information about reprints & permissions, visit our FAQ's. To report corrections and clarifications, contact Standards Editor Brent Jones. For publication consideration in the newspaper, send comments to email@example.com. Include name, phone number, city and state for verification. To view our corrections, go to corrections.usatoday.com.