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Old 12 June 2014, 06:36 PM
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Icon102 New Agatha Christie novel, 'The Monogram Murders'

Sophie Hannah, the author of six mystery novels, is adding a new book to the Poirot canon: The Monogram Murders. The book will be set in 1920s London, around the time of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. HarperCollins, releasing the book on September 9th, describes it as “a diabolically clever puzzle that will test [Poirot's] brilliant skills and baffle and delight longtime Christie fans and new generations of readers discovering him for the first time.”

http://shelf-life.ew.com/2014/06/12/...ogram-murders/
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Old 12 June 2014, 06:46 PM
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I understand that Matthew Prichard, Christie's grandson and heir, approves these. If they're as god-awful as the "new" Lord Whimsey novels, it will be very sad.
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Old 12 June 2014, 06:52 PM
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I am usually quite leery of books like this. Oftentimes the tone or spirit of the book does not feel the same. Even if authorised by the estate or descendents of the author.

However, one book possibly changed my mind. It was a book by Caleb Carr done as a Sherlock Holmes mystery. And it was fantastic.

So, I'll withhold judgement on this book until I've had a chance to crack the spine on a copy.
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Old 12 June 2014, 07:26 PM
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I feel the same, UEL. I am a fan (to put it mildly) of the Nero Wolfe stories by Rex Stout. When a friend passed along to me a few of the Nero Wolfe novels that were written by Robert Goldsborough I was prepared to really dislike them. To my surprise they were actually not bad at all. I don't think I would have been fooled into thinking there were written by Rex Stout but he managed a respectable homage IMO. I'll give this new "Agatha Christie" a chance.
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Old 12 June 2014, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gayle View Post
I understand that Matthew Prichard, Christie's grandson and heir, approves these.
Assuming the original Poirot novels are out of copyright, would the estate have to approve or license anything?

Alternatively, if the copyright is just about to lapse, but the estate authorises a new Poirot novel, does it cunningly get to retain rights to the character for another 70+ years? Because there seem to be a lot of random "licensed" continuations of old series these days, some of which by well-known writers who are well capable of producing their own bestselling stuff if they want to (Sebastian Faulks writing James Bond, for example) and I wonder why...
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Old 12 June 2014, 08:04 PM
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I was wondering how copyright would work for a long running series like the Poirot ones. As each book in the series hit the 70 year mark would they go out of copyright or would the copyright only end 70 years after the last book in the series was published? I'd suspect the latter but really have no idea!
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Old 12 June 2014, 08:57 PM
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Can you even "copyright" a character, or would it have to be a trademark (which doesn't happen automatically and which doesn't lapse in the same way)? Disney have trademarked Mickey Mouse, and I'm sure they'll have trademarked Winnie The Pooh if there was any possibility of their being allowed to, but is it just general benevolence and lack of greed that stops most literary estates from trademarking all the author's characters? Or is that something we'll have to look forward to in future (as the copyright period extends far enough that the people holding it likely end up with no meaningful memory of or sentimental connection to the original creators)?

It would be a shame if we did eventually end up with no shared cultural and literary references that could be used at all.
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Old 12 June 2014, 09:12 PM
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When I saw the headline "new Agatha Christie novel" I assumed they'd found a manuscript of hers that hadn't previously been published. To call it that seems a bit deceptive, since she did not write it. Why don't they call it "a new Hercule Poirot mystery"? Yeah, I know; money.

Coming soon: "new Shakespeare play!" -- The Further Adventures of Falstaff, by Dan Brown.
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Old 13 June 2014, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
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Can you even "copyright" a character, or would it have to be a trademark (which doesn't happen automatically and which doesn't lapse in the same way)?
No, you can't copyright a character. Or a title. Or a quotation (too short).
Quote:
...is it just general benevolence and lack of greed that stops most literary estates from trademarking all the author's characters?
No, it's probably not general benevolence. Most characters are not well known enough to bother with a trademark (it would cost more to enforce than they'd earn).

Personally, I had the same thought as Tootsie: this is not an Agatha Christie novel, new or old. It's merely a Poirot novel. Given that she killed the character off in an attempt to prevent this sort of thing, I think she'd be rolling in her grave at the idea of this, no matter what her relatives think of it.

Seaboe
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Old 13 June 2014, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
Personally, I had the same thought as Tootsie: this is not an Agatha Christie novel, new or old. It's merely a Poirot novel. Given that she killed the character off in an attempt to prevent this sort of thing, I think she'd be rolling in her grave at the idea of this, no matter what her relatives think of it.

Seaboe
Precisely. It is just glorified fanfiction.
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Old 14 June 2014, 09:22 PM
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I never really thought of it like that before. I guess when it comes right down to it that's exactly what it is - although unlike a lot of the fanfiction I've come across on the Internet the spelling and grammar are usually pretty good.
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Old 14 June 2014, 09:28 PM
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Fanfiction quality varies widely. Most Star Trek fanfiction makes me cringe (an I'm not even talking the slash stuff -- I don't read that). But Barbara Hambly wrote a fanfiction novel that I really enjoyed. It was very popular and she came up with some stuff that later ended up being canon (Sulu's and Uhura's given names, for example).

And yes, it's the same Barbara Hambly that writes the Benjamin January novels, although I didn't realize that until decades after I'd read the Star Trek book and years after I'd discovered M. Janvier.
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Old 15 June 2014, 02:31 AM
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One of the reasons Dame Agatha killed Poirot off in CURTAIN was that she didn't want other people messing with him.
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