Brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is one of Christie’s most famous and long-lived characters, appearing in 33 novels, one play (Black Coffee), and more than 50 short stories published between 1920 and 1975.
Hercule Poirot first appeared in The Mysterious Affair at Styles. It was written in 1916 but after being rejected by several publishers, was not published until 1920.
At the time of writing The Mysterious Affair at Styles, it was considered patriotic to express sympathy with the Belgians since the invasion of their country by Germany provoked Britain’s entry into WW1.
Before his escape to England during WWI, Poirot, a retired Belgian police officer, was a celebrated private detective on the Continent.
Poirot is pronounced ‘pwaro.’
Poirot has been portrayed on screen, for films and TV, by various actors including Albert Finney, Peter Ustinov, Ian Holm, Tony Randall, Alfred Molina, David Suchet and Kenneth Branagh.
The final Poirot mystery, Curtain, was written during the blitz but locked away in a vault and not published until 1975, a year before Agatha Christie’s death.
By his final appearance in Curtain (1975), Poirot was confined to a wheelchair, although his little grey cells remained as sharp as ever. He died after a heart attack when he deliberately stopped taking his heart medication.
Upon his death, Hercule Poirot became the only fictional character ever to be honored with an obituary on the front page of The New York Times.