Agatha Christie's novels are being rewritten by her publisher, HarperCollins, to suit "modern sensibilities," the British newspaper
revealed on Sunday .
Ethnic references, insults and what could be considered offensive language will be removed from the books containing the Inspector Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple mysteries.
In this way, the mystery writer's work will pass through a sieve similar to the one that Roald Dahl's books or the James Bond adventures written by Ian Fleming have already been subjected to.
The "rewriting" of Roald Dahl's texts sparks global outrage and suspicions about its legality
For now, it has been reported that entire passages have been removed or rewritten from the books starring Poirot and Miss Marple, works written between the twenties and seventies of the last century.
The goal, according to
is to strip them of language or descriptions that "more modern readers might find offensive."
To do this, a commission of "sensitive readers" has been created that has analyzed the works released after 2020 and those that are going to be published.
This commission has decided to eliminate ethnic references such as the description of characters as black, Jewish or gypsy.
Neither will a woman's torso be compared to “black marble” again, nor will it be possible to say that a judge has “the temperament of an Indian”.
Terms such as "oriental" and the word "
" also disappear.
From now on the natives will be called locals.
Entire Marple and Poirot monologues have been modified.
Among the works that have been transformed,
Death on the Nile,
from 1937, in which the character of Mrs. Allerton complains about a group of children who are bothering her, saying: “They come back and look, and look, and their eyes are just disgusting, and their noses too, and I don't think they I really like children."
Now you can read: “They come back and look at me and look at me.
I don't think I like children."
In the 1964
Mystery in the Caribbean
case , Miss Marple no longer describes one of the hotel workers as "a man with nice white teeth."
HarperCollins, according to
has created new editions of all of Miss Marple's adventures, as well as a selection of Poirot novels.
In 2020, in France and Spain, the title of his book
Diez negritos was changed.
In the Gallic country the book is called
There were 10
) and, in Spain, the new version is titled
And there were none left
“And it's not just a title change, it's a whole revised translation on the inside.
We have had to adapt the content of the book to the change of title: the island of the Negro becomes, as in the American edition, the island of the Soldier", explained Beatrice Duval, general director of Livre du Poche, who, like the publisher Le Masque, publishes Christie's works in France.
She, the latter, specified in a statement that the decision was not hers but that of the Christie family and that they have limited themselves to "aligning themselves with the English, American and all other international translations."
Changes to Roald Dahl's original texts made by his publisher and the body that manages his legacy in pursuit of a more inclusive message sparked great global outrage last February that is now revived with this decision.
Then there were complaints from writers like Salman Rushdie: "Roald Dahl was no angel, but this is absurd censorship."
Or thousands of readers, on social networks or opinion columns.
Or the words of the very same British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, through a spokesman: "It is important that literary and fictional works are preserved and not touched up."
The modifications are counted by the hundreds, the majority related to issues such as weight, gender, mental health, violence or race, with the aim of being respectful of all sensitivities,
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
, going through
The writer, like Agatha Christie, cannot comment on the matter, because they are both dead.
The company Agatha Christie Limited, directed by the great-grandson of the author James Prichard, manages the rights of her works for literature and cinema and has not yet made a statement.