Canonical Questions on Marple and Poirot

ArnoldRothArnoldRoth Philadelphia, USA
Do Christie scholars mirror Conan Doyle scholars in study of the Canon of Sherlock Holmes?

If so what is the agreed general birth and death date for Poirot?  What year does "Styles" take place and what year "Curtain?"

For Marple?  What year does "Vicarage" take place and what year Nemesis?

T and T seem to age.  They do go 50 years.


  • Dr.SheppardDr.Sheppard Oxford, UK
    The actual age of Poirot is never quite revealed by Christie, and you have to remember that she actually did not like him at one point and wanted to kill him off. The Novel Curtain was written in the early 1940s, but not published until after Agatha Christie's death in 1975. However, the question of the age of Poirot has been asked many times and there are some clues to what it might be. 

    In The Mysterious Affair at Styles, set in about 1916 to 1920, we learn that Poirot had retired at the age of 55 in 1905. Poirot appeared in 33 stories, one play and 50 short stories, and was always considered 'old'. I'm quite sure that the reader does not want to add the possible age of Poirot in Curtain to the possible age in The Mysterious Affair at Styles! Perhaps we should all be happy that the stories are all set in the 1920s and early 1930s.

    On the topic of the age of Miss Marple, again there are some clues if you look for them. First appearing in The Murder at the Vicarage, written/published in 1932 - the setting for the story(?). In At Bertrams Hotel we discover that Miss Marple visited the hotel when she was 14 and almost 60 years have passed since then. Miss Marple appeared in 12 novels, and although it hurts to say it, forty-one years passed between the first story and the last! Perhaps we should settle on the 1930s for the period in history for the settings of all the stories.
  • ArnoldRothArnoldRoth Philadelphia, USA
    Thank you for your reply.

    The problem is there are some def. current events going on in the Poirot books.

    For example, "The Clocks" deals with Communist spies during the Cold War.

    I mean there is no good answer here.  I guess we can take Poirot and Marple as sort of ageless superheroes.
  • GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States
    I think I'm one of the few scholars who studies Christie like the Sherlock Holmes Canon.  In general, unless a year is specified (like Styles), or the posthumous Sleeping Murder.   Christie novels are thought to be set in the year of their publication, or the year before that.  Miss Marple is quite old (and her personality is different) in her first appearance, but she stays in her sixties/seventies until the 1960's, when she starts aging steadily.  Likewise, Poirot could be as young as his late forties in his first appearance, but that's not certain.  The current events keep novels conte,poaneous with their publication.  Like Rex Stout's Wolfe and Goodwin, Miss Marple and Poirot seem to be exempted from the normal laws of aging, but the Beresfords are not similarly charmed.
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