Book of the Week: The Monogram Murders: The New Hercule Poirot Mystery – Sophie Hannah

Yep, dead authors keep “writing.” It’s a thing in publishing–we just can’t stand to see the end point of a good brand . The whole idea works to better or worse effect depending on who is tapped to extend the series. With over two billion copies of the original Agatha Christie titles in print, the author’s estate has thus far refused to give the nod to extending the series. Until now.

Bestselling mystery writer Sophie Hannah is a self-professed Agatha Christie geek and it shows in the writing. She’s picked up the Poirot series and by all accounts, knocks it out of the park. We’ve already gotten a lot of publicity and the major review coverage hasn’t even geared up. This is definitely one you want to have front of store.


“Hannah does a superb job of channeling Agatha Christie in this wholly successful pastiche authorized by the Christie estate. One evening in February 1929, Hercule Poirot is dining alone at a London coffee shop when a woman arrives who looks as if she had ‘come face to face with the devil.’ Poirot joins the distraught woman, known at first as Jennie, who tells the sleuth that no one can help her because she’s ‘already dead,’ and that no one should search for her killer. ‘The crime must never be solved,’ she proclaims…. [Later] two women and a man are found poisoned in a hotel near Piccadilly Circus, each with a monogrammed gold cuff link inserted in his or her mouth. The rest of the novel lives up to the promise of the opening, complete with dazzling deductions, subtle cluing, false endings, and superb prose.… Lovers of classic whodunits can only hope Hannah continues to offer her take on the great Belgian detective.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

We Agatha Christie fans read her stories–and particularly her Poirot novels–because the mysteries are invariably equal parts charming and ingenious, dark and quirky and utterly engaging. Sophie Hannah had a massive challenge in reviving the beloved Poirot, and she met it with heart and no small amount of little grey cells. I was thrilled to see the Belgian detective in such very, very good hands.”
— Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl

“Hannah, who understands psychological mayhem as well as Ruth Rendell and maybe even Sigmund Freud, is best read with a crisis counselor on speed-dial. The tight plotting and excruciatingly precise clues make for a superlatively uneasy read.”
— Kirkus Reviews

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah is the first book to bring back Hercule Poirot and authorized by Agatha Christie’s estate.  And, boy, did they make a good decision!  Hannah has not only retained the characteristics of Poirot – the grand moustaches, the deliberate thinking out loud – but she has also retained the grand master of the Golden Age of British Mystery’s voice.  …. I truly figured that I had solved the mystery, only to have several more twists and turns stop me in my tracks.  The denouement was pure Christie, and it’s certain to please all Poirot fans!  What a wonderful treat!”
— Bill Carl, The Booksellers on Fountain Square

The Monogram Murders: The New Hercule Poirot Mystery (9780062297211) by Sophie Hannah. $25.99 hardcover. 9/9/14 on sale.

Paulo Coehlo on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday

Coehlo will be the centerpiece of the season premiere of Super Soul Sunday. He’ll do two hour-long interviews: Part one airs September 7th and features Coehlo speaking about how The Alchemist is a universal metaphor for life; part two airs September 14th and looks at Coehlo’s personal spiritual journey.

It livestreams at 11 a.m. ET/PT on and on

The Alchemist, 25th Anniversary: A Fable about Following Your Dream (9780062315007) by Paulo Coelho. $16.99 trade paper. Available now.

The Alchemist, 25th Anniversary: A Fable about Following Your Dream (9780062390622) by Paulo Coelho. $24.99 hardcover. 9/9/14 on sale.


Dayton Peace Prize Honors Louise Erdrich

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize honors writers whose work “uses the power of literature to foster peace, social justice, and global understanding.” Its Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award is bestowed upon a writer whose entire body of work reflects the Prize’s mission. Previous honorees include Wendell Berry, Taylor Branch, Geraldine Brooks and Barbara Kingsolver.

Erdrich’s first book, the beloved Love Medicine, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. 2012’s The Round House won the National Book Award and A Plague of Doves was a finalist for the Pulitzer. In all, she has written fourteen novels, as well as volumes of poetry, short stories, children’s books, and a memoir. And she is a bookseller…the owner of Birchbark Books in Minneapolis, MN.

In a statement, Erdrich said she does not consider herself a “peaceful” writer, but “a troubled one, longing for peace.” She notes that the prize “sends a strong political signal, more crucial than ever at this historical moment when we are seeing, day by day, the horrific violence children suffer in war.”

The award ceremony will be 11/9/14. You can find more information here.

Video: Men, Women & Children – Chad Kultgen

Directed by Jason Reitman and starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Emma Thompson, Dean Norris and Ansel Elgort. It opens 10/4 in NY and LA and nationally on 10/24. We’ll have a tie-in edition later but for the moment you might want to get the regular trade edition out on display. Sales are popping a bit.

Men, Women & Children (9780061657313) by Chad Kultgen. $14.99 trade paper. Available.